Our interview series Names with stories continues its journey with a great brand name – Clothia. Clothia is an online marketplace presenting the top up-and-coming fashion designers in the area of accessible luxury. The founder, Elena Silenok, shares more about the idea behind the brand, how it has evolved over time and what new and exciting is on the horizon for Clothia. Below is a short recap of the lovely chat Tatiana and Elena had, don’t miss the full interview available in the video right at the bottom of the article:
Hi Elena, tell us more about yourself and the project.
My name is Elena. I am an entrepreneur and an engineer. I have a master’s in computer science, so I started in a very technical field and realized that I love technology applications more than technology. I decided to use my background to create Clothia, a curated marketplace for emerging fashion designers. What we do is we find smaller under-the-radar designers from all over the world. We’re bringing them to the US, introducing them to the American consumer. We have about 150 designers on the platform right now. They’re incredibly talented. They come from 25 different countries around the world, Europe, Asia, Africa, and we are working on adding Latin America. Celebrities have worn our designers like lady Gaga, Bella Hadid, Priyanka Chopra. So even though they’re still kind of under the radar, they’re definitely very talented and have a big future ahead of them.
How long ago did you get started?
We’ve been around for a bit. We officially launched in 2019 and have been growing since.
You’ve achieved impressive success in a really short time! How did you come up with the name?
I wanted something catchy that you would remember, and I also wanted to make sure we have a dot com, and that’s why we came up with the name. I looked at availability and checked trademarks because I think a lot of times when people create a brand name, they sometimes try to concatenate on a few words, and when you Google search something, you have so many other options that come up.
So we have something easy to remember, especially once you see it, and something that will not have a lot of conflicting results on Google or in the trademark search. That’s how we came up with clothia.com. It’s a short word. It’s a word that sounds like an English name of some sort. And I think when people hear it, they understand that it’s something having to do with clothes.
Having the right domain is very important, and having a short, unique name that resolves in a .com has been super helpful versus, I don’t know, modern-dresses-best-shop.com or something.
Elena Silenok, Clothia
Do you own any other names?
I have a few other domain names and brand names.
Who is your typical ideal customer?
Women who are very fashionable, who are not afraid to take fashion risks. We have a lot of women for whom Clothia is a bit out of reach, so usually, maybe they’ll buy H&M, but then they’ll splurge in a Clothia piece.
Usually, our price point is around $200- $300 on average. We also have a lot of women who shop for very high-end brands. So they’ll buy a Chanel, they’ll buy a Gucci, and then they’ll come to Clothia, and they’ll just buy a bunch of items because they say “oh my gosh, it’s so much better”; $300 compared to $3,000 for a similar type of dress that they will buy from very luxury high-end brands. So we kind of have both, but I think what unifies them is the love of fashion and the desire to take fashion risks because we don’t carry a lot of simple items. We don’t carry many items that are like a black turtleneck with no embellishments. We do have a lot of very unique and statement-making pieces.
I love that phrase – Take a fashion risk! And you mentioned that the core of your work is working with designers that are not mainstream. What is the selection process like?
We have a curation process. We look at quality, styles, and responsible manufacturing, which means that we want to work with designers with their own unique point of view. So they’re not just copying whatever the big brands like Gucci or Chanel are showing on their runway shows.
We want to make sure that the items are of good quality. We look at the stitching; we look at fabrics; we’ll look at how responsible is the manufacturing. Again, we don’t ask that everything is a hundred percent sustainable; we ask that designers take care of the supply chain and confirm that it’s not just mass-produced and somewhere where it’s offshored with dismal working conditions for the people who actually manufacture. We do care about that.
We don’t like to work with people who just create a concept and then shop around to mass-produce it somewhere just because it’s the cheapest solution.
What’s next? You’ve mentioned NFT that you’re working on launching?
We are working on launching in the NFT marketplace. That’s a big initiative. That’s like adding a whole other product category, essentially. And it’s not just like you’re selling dresses, and then you add shoes, right, which are very similar. It’s a different infrastructure; it’s different payments and different types of products; it’s also awareness. So I think we’re just very excited about Web3 and NFTs, and growing into that field. Getting more consumers and designer partners on board with NFTs and just expanding and growing. That’s a big priority for us.