Welcome back to YANA™: The Blog
In Part 1: The Inception, we told you about our inspiration for YANA. In our second instalment of this three-part blog, we’re going to tell you how we developed each aspect of the business.
Part 2. YANA™: The Development.
To recap, at the end of 2018 after deliberating for months, we’d finally chosen a name for our activewear brand: YANA™ Active.
Heading in to 2019 we had a decision to make... Were we really going to take a huge risk on YANA™? Invest all of our life savings? Work tirelessly to develop a brand, products and all aspects associated with a new business, despite both of us having full-time careers? In all honesty, it wasn’t a hard decision for us. YANA™ would be a new, exciting challenge and the biggest we’d take on yet.
Now we finally had a name, the work we’d been doing in parallel on the branding could accelerate further. A lot of our time was spent researching branding agencies across the country. We pitched our vision for YANA™ to two branding agencies at the end of 2018; explaining what direction we wanted to move in and provided the agencies with mood boards, words and phrases. Following that, we had a meeting with a London based agency at The Ned Hotel. Their Founder & Director was over an hour late and hadn’t actually prepared anything for us to see; it was apparent they didn’t truly understand our vision for YANA™. We could tell this agency wouldn’t be reliable or even committed to helping us, something we weren’t willing to compromise on.
A few days later, we met with a Newcastle branding agency: Altogether Creative. When we walked into their office, they made us a cuppa and presented us with five equally fantastic branding options and logos. We were blown away with their professionalism, their ideas and how well they had grasped the concept of our brand. It was a total match made in heaven! We took the ideas home, laid them out on our kitchen floor and analysed them for days; but we’d already made our mind up from the minute we saw our logo. We loved how well it fitted with our vision, that and the fact it spelt YANA in the four squares. Hadn’t noticed it? See for yourself!
We’re no marketing experts and we needed some support with this aspect of the business. We contacted Northumbria University (Charlotte and I both graduated from Northumbria) and spoke with their Enterprise Team who provided us with access to a marketing expert. With them, we brainstormed ideas for a launch event, tag lines for the business and got our creative juices flowing. Accompanied with Altogether Creative’s help, we were well on our way to having a strong brand identity.
Sampling and Manufacturing
Meanwhile, we were also developing our product samples. Charlotte had designed the initial YANA™ 1.0 collection, where we chose colour ways, types of fabrics and details we wanted to add to the garments. We took this to a small studio in Newcastle, who helped us develop our products. From this, they took our designs and created our first set of samples which we fitted to one of our friends to see if any alterations were necessary, prior to creating the final set of samples in the chosen fabrics.
Whilst sampling was underway, we contacted several fabric mills across the UK to source the fabrics. Being a start-up company, many didn’t take us seriously or even respond to emails. Fortunately, we managed to arrange a visit with a supplier in Nottingham who spent several hours with us showing us lots of different fabric samples and we were even lucky enough to have a tour around their mill. It was on this visit that we found the perfect stretch fabric for our YANA™ 1.0 Collection.
Despite our branding being so strong, we were conscious our garments needed to stand out against the competition and offer something different to the consumer. The fabric we chose was a technical stretch fabric with Nilit® Innergy performance fibres. There’s a specialist mineral found in the yarn which converts thermo energy of the human body into Far Infrared Rays (FIR) and reflects it back to the skin, causing deep, gentle heating. The heat emitted by the fibres invigorates and energises the body and helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite. WAIT, recap, it helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite?! We just knew this was a technical fabric we had to work with!
Alongside this, we also started to source accessories; we had a few contacts already so started discussing different options. We were really conscious that we wanted to source high quality products from suppliers who could provide the origins of their products to ensure we were purchasing items from sustainable and ethical sources. Samples we purchased online from Europe and China were poor quality, we had no idea where they came from- it just wasn’t right for YANA™. We managed to source two UK based accessories suppliers and placed orders with them.
By the third quarter of 2019, everything was coming together, and we were well on our way to launching YANA™.
Read part 3 to find out more...
Love, YANA x