Founded in 2014 at a time when the local brand was still a rather strange concept in Vietnam, TimTay is basically a “Native Vietnamese” designer fashion brand that aspires to be a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle. Founded by two sisters Hoàng Tú and Hoàng Anh. We will listen to Hoàng Anh - Co-founder of TimTay about how her brand was inspired by the culture along with stories revolving around rural craftsmen, fine arts, painting, music and life…
Is TimTay a sustainable brand? What are TimTay's commitments to meet the criteria of a sustainable brand?
TimTay does not dare to claim to be "a sustainable brand" but only claims to be "a brand pursuing a sustainable lifestyle" or "developing in a sustainable way". For us this is a journey of continuous improvement and change, unless some certification is obtained, it would be too out-right wrong to claim.
After 7 years of opening, TimTay is also very proud to have found a more sustainable development direction so that it can maintain the following commitments:
• All designs are committed to using materials of natural origin such as flax, cotton, pure mulberry silk ... so that the decomposition process in the environment can take place as quickly as possible, as well as giving the gentle original feels to the wearer's skin.
• TimTay selects reputable domestic suppliers to reduce emissions during transportation & supports domestic enterprises.
• Quality of finished products is always the top priority. Products must have durable materials, strong seams to help prolong product life and be easy to apply in daily life.
• Excess fabric in the production process is always kept for reuse and recycling into products. Most of TimTay's designs are creative according to the criterion of zero waste to minimize the waste of materials.
• Our production plan is always arranged scientifically so that employees are never forced to work overtime. A focused and effective working environment to reduce pressure and help unleash creativity.
How does TimTay educate customers about sustainable fashion? How to practice sustainability properly?
TimTay educates customers with products. Tell them about the story behind the product, express the brand's point of view through the design, thereby helping customers understand more about the value of the product. If they choose a product from TimTay, it means that besides the design they love, they also like its story.
To encourage sustainable consumption, TimTay offers a free repair service so that customers always receive products that fit the best. In case a product is damaged, you can freely send it back to us to repair, regardless of how long ago you bought it. We also built a public group on Facebook called TimTay Exchange, encouraging customers to exchange TimTay clothes that they no longer fit to extend the product's life, giving it a new owner, a new story.
As founders of the brand, what do you two have to prepare to be able to successfully develop the brand?
Continually cultivate knowledge, because the fashion market is fierce and hard. However, what you need to prepare is a strong mentality, understanding the brand and putting customer service first.
What are the common challenges when starting a brand and how to overcome them?
My difficulties in 2014 will be different from those of you who founded a brand in 2021. Specifically in 2014 there will not be many "local brands" competitors, but it will be difficult because customers at that time did not really care. Lack of focus and appreciation for domestic fashion designs. Besides, social networks were also just beginning to develop in Vietnam.
At that time, TimTay was quite alone in conveying the brand story to customers so that they could properly appreciate the value of creative and handmade Vietnamese products. Fortunately, the designs released at that time were well received by many customers and still loyal to the brand until now. They are the driving force for TimTay to continue to create and develop with more ambitions.
Fashion has a high rejection, so how can a brand survive and compete in the fierce market, especially when following a sustainable path, the customer file will be more "niche" and often not follow the trend?
For me, a brand to survive needs to stand firm, find its own identity and pay special attention to customers. If the product you make is only focused on trends or lifeless copying, you will soon be fired. If you don't learn, listen, and build honest relationships with your customers, you'll soon be forgotten by your customers.
What is the brand's strategy to always keep the identity (brand personality) but still be fresh even if it is not on trend?
To be honest, TimTay has always taken interest in trends in our designs. Paying attention to trends makes TimTay's designs easier to receive by customers. Without being framed in a creative formula, each TimTay Collection is a whole new, collabable story featuring characters from many different fields. Therefore, TimTay creates curiosity and anticipation every time a Collection is released.
A sustainable fashion brand needs to invest, focus on what factors to develop the best brand? (Ex: design, story, service, store, scale, technology, logistics, commerce platform...)
In my opinion, the first step must be the product. Our products are created based on the commitment of “sustainable fashion”. Then there's the story & customer service. These are the foundations that I think must be sternly built from the very beginning.
How has the COVID pandemic affected the brand? What has the brand done to maintain business, keep customers' concerns… to overcome the pandemic?
The thing that I find the most difficult during the COVID pandemic is that every business plan has to change constantly, changing from day to day. Requires the whole company to prepare a lot of scenarios to be able to maintain sales. However, from a positive perspective, COVID has helped TimTay to make more drastic changes in building online channels and online product experiences. Some specific actions such as: Cut offline costs to switch to online development. Improve online customer care process, launch at-home try-on service... Prioritize selling inventory products & reduce production costs and quantity.
TimTay's assessment of the potential of sustainable fashion in Vietnam in the near future?
The concept of "sustainable fashion" is trending all over the world and I think this will definitely be the direction of many of you to build a fashion brand in the future. For me, sustainable fashion is the commitment of the business to the community and society after the consequences that the fashion industry has caused, not just a trend. Young people need to learn thoroughly and properly about this concept before embarking on building a sustainable fashion brand.
Thank you TimTay for sharing interesting and valuable information!
Words by My Do , @Style-Repuplik, Behind the label