The Story Behind My Favourite Country Brand: Anna Lascata
I am one of those lucky people who thinks of something, visualizes it and with a lot of effort and passion, makes it happen. And with this post, I hope I can transmit how special this collaboration is for me, because I have been dreaming of this moment for more than a year!
When I started My Shooting Journey, apart from learning how to shoot clays, I also had to learn what to wear in the field and how to wear it. What was accepted and what was not. What was comfortable, and what was unbearable, and through this journey of country fashion, I made a dream come true: Showcase Anna Lascata and interview the woman behind the brand: Elisabeth Gierveld.
As I learnt more about country clothing, I found a brand which really caught my attention because their tweed designs were different, there was something special about their jackets. At this point Anna Lascata was probably the most elegant country brand I had come across.
I went to every corner of Stockholm asking retailers about the brand, but it was pretty hard to find. I tried online, and the shop was under construction, so all I could do was like their posts on instagram and admire their catalogues.
Now, their shop is live and all those beautiful coats I saw on instagram, are just one click away from our wardrobes! so I really recommend you to have a look at their collection, they have done a really good job adapting to this online era post-Covid 19 while still supporting their distributors.
I spoke to Elisabeth during lockdown, and this is her story:
1.Who, Where & Why was Anna Lascata founded?
In the early nineties, after finishing university, I started working for wholesaler specialised in marine equipment. This company was also the distributor for Dubarry. In 1995 I was asked to introduce the new outdoor boot to the market and set up a customer network in the Benelux.
To promote the new outdoor boots, we travelled around with our chesterfields, Persian carpets and the whole entourage, visiting the country shows and game fairs, serving champagne and having a lot of fun! After a while, as the boots turned out to be quite successful in the Netherlands we were asked by Dubarry to bring the boots to the UK market as well.
The very first show was the CLA Game Fair in 1999 and the concept and the boots were well received. I was asked if we would be able to do clothing as well, as they liked the suede soldier I was wearing. The next year we introduced the first styles under label of Dubarry and that is how it all started.
In 2003 , we set up a different company for the clothing with our own label Anna Lascata, but we still produced under label as well. We chose the name Anna Lascata as we were looking for an international name, easy to pronounce in every language and I added Anna, my mother’s name . At that time it was still suede only and white shirts. It wasn’t until 2011 before I started the tweed collection.
2.What makes Anna Lascata so unique?
Basically it is of course just a jacket, but I think the mix of the beautiful fabrics, special linings and buttons, combined with a perfect and elegant fit, makes the difference.
Every piece is subtle and yet modern. Anna Lascata stands for timeless elegance, high quality and a perfect fit. I prefer to work with a small number of customers and to establish a two-way relationship. I am listening to their ideas as if possible, I will try to work them into a new collection. Often the new style carries the name of the customer who asked for it.
3.Tell us about the fabrics & buttons you use, they seem to be very special and complement the jackets so greatly!
The materials I use are often produced by small or family owned business. I like the heritage, the story behind a company and the often dedicated owners/people behind the brand. It is actually quite funny of course that I am sourcing my tweed in Scotland, Scottish borders, England and Ireland and producing them over here and then exporting to the UK again. But the fact is, the most beautiful tweeds you find over there.
I am just trying to find the places where they offer high quality, craftmanship and dedication. The buttons, to me, are the finishing touch of a garment. I want them to be special and elegant, they are made to match the fabric, as I want them to be an absolute eyecatcher. And it works! Often people recognize an Anna Lascata coat just by looking at the buttons.
4.How many countries do you export/sell to and which is your biggest market?
UK is the most important export country for me. But we are also selling to various countries in Europe, US and Canada.
5.As a female entrepreneur, what is the most difficult part of building a fashion brand like yours?
Being a woman doesn’t make it more difficult, I think . The advantage is that as a woman I have a better idea of what my customers would like to see.
The only difficulty I have had in the beginning is that doing business in India for example, you have to prove yourself before being taken seriously and you absolutely need to be very convincing and clear to make your point.
6. What has helped you most when it comes to growing your brand?.
I really value long term relationships, I base relationships on trust and I try to listen to what the customer is looking for. The best thing you can have and need, is dedicated agents to help you bring your products to a new market. Social media helps to create more brand awareness, reach more people, also by using influencers. And this brand awareness supports the retailers to sell the brand in their shops too.
7.How has Covid changed the way the fashion & retail industries work? How have you adapted to the situation to keep close to your clients?
Covid has had a serious impact on the business, shops were closed for a long time and are again as we speak. To reach my customers and end users I have become much more active on social media and I have now an online shop. I was reluctant to do so before, as I preferred to sell through dealers instead.
Social media gives me the opportunity to be in contact with my (potential) customers and dealers, share their posts and promote the idea of supporting your local. Although we can’t do without the online shop anymore, you absolutely need the assistance and advise you can’t give online. I absolutely like to read the comments and to learn what people think and like, not just the dealers.
Apart from that, I am really focussing on AW21, as I hope the situation will be normal again now that we have a vaccine. Time will tell…
8.Anna Lascata is classified as slow fashion, but it has evolved quite a lot since you started it, but where do you see the brand in 5 years time?
Well considering the current situation with and COVID, I still cannot even tell were we are a year from now. The best Christmas present last year was the promise of a Brexit deal, that surely helps! I would like to build the brand further, I will keep on looking for the niches. Anna Lascata will remain a low profile brand however, but looking for more coverage in the existing countries and would like to focus on Scandinavia.
The online shop will definitely become more important, as you will not find Anna Lascata on every corner of the street.
9. What is your best selling piece of all times?
Three quarter length coat with upstanding collar. In suede it was actually my very first style and it still is. In tweed it is the same, the Alexandra. In general the ¾ length coats are my best selling ones.
Thank you so much Elisabeth for opening up the doors to all that goes behind the scenes at my absolute favourite country jackets brand– and for many of my followers too!
See you on the next post!