mandag den 27. januar 2014

Indie-Brand Interview: Atelier Dormir

Today I'm really happy to be able to share an interview with you guys, that I've been wanting to do for a while now! This interview is with an aquiantance of mine, the lovely Laelette of the indie-brand Atelier Dormir! I met her when I applied for my position as a mentor on the facebook group, Lolita Fashion Mentoring, of which she's the admin, and since then I've been following how she's been gaining more and more succes with her indie-brand, that specializes in cute and elegant Lolita lounge wear!

I hope you guys will enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed talking to Lae about such things as working towards your goals, future dreams, and all that really goes into running a Lolita business.

Northern Star- NS
Atelier Dormir- AD

NS: What does “Atelier Dormir” mean to you?
AD: You know, it actually took me a good couple years to come up with a name. I've always known I wanted to sewing for a living, well before I found Lolita fashion. I wanted the name to leave an instant impression and got closer and closer to the name the more I found what it was I loved to sew. "Goodnight, Sweetheart" was going to be name for a good year but I felt it didn't express my work well enough. It had to have the same feel of the clothes. One thing I've always been obsessed with is Rococo and french history. It's a very romantic notion that there would be one shop that all fine ladies would go to for their undergarments. These were called Ateliers, it's means a supreme workshop. My clothes are for night wear and relaxing hence "Dormir". Dormir actually appears to be a verb! Meaning to sleep or relax. So the Atelier isn't me. The Atelier is you. As wearing the clothes makes you the supreme of relaxing. Though in the french language it actually might be a very large Oxymoron! "The working place of doing nothing"

A couple of the portaits that has worked as inspiration for the designer of Atelier Dormir
NS: A “Baby the Stars Shine Bright” designer once said, that Lolita fashion is in part about waking up the dreams that we had when we were little girls. What dream would you like to awaken in your customers, when they put on your creations?
AD: I want them to feel naturally beautiful. To feel care free. My lounge sets are heavily designed from portraits of young girls running through meadows and playing by river beds amongst daisies or lounging on huge lush silk Chaise lounges eating Rose petal bonbons relaxing after a long day of being beautiful. I want to invoke a sense of beauty when the make up comes off and the dress goes back into the closet. That was always my least favourite part of Lolita events. Taking off your wig and pealing off the eyelashes. Now lounging doing reading, sewing, playing video games feels just as beautiful and fun! I really like to dwell on a the idea of a care free life style. Being able to shut the real world out in your time to relax and unwind. Sitting in the garden doing nothing but laying in the sun. Though last summer I almost got no work done! I ended up lounging in my garden sipping rose tea instead of sewing!

I'm so in love with the detailing on these bloomers!
NS: What’s an average day at Atelier Dormir like?

AD: Every day I wake up at 8:30am. I go down stairs for a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal and then at 10am I go back up stairs to wash my face and sanitize my hands. Hygiene is very important to me! I was my hands with an absinthe solution. I walk past the product closet and usually take a look inside to remind myself of how hard I work. I've never had so many bloomers hanging up before! It looks like a dress rail in a shop. Then I go to my desk and open up my work log and sign in. I write down everything that I do and the time I do it in. It's important to keep track of your progress. It's also how I work out how much the products actually cost. I even write in lunch and dinner breaks and if anything is interrupted. Look up to my "Enchanted" count down, an event we'll be selling at and rip off a day. Today it's 68 days till Enchanted (Note: That was by 01/26-2014) ! I set my goal for the day and turn on my machines and unfold my ironing board. Today I finished off my black bloomer's "shells" A Shell is what we call an undecorated pair of bloomers. They needed their waist band's finished and their tags sewn in! Now they're ready to be steam cleaned and decorated with bows, roses, pearls and chains. I have lunch at 1pm downstairs with my work log. On my lunch breaks I like to draw in more designs. Then back up stairs I go to wash up and keep sewing. To keep me motivated I listen to Trance music! All day I turn on the spotify radio and listen to NNSST NNST NNST or various techno music. Such as "Totally enormous extinct dinosaurs" I've found over the years music with a very fast beat makes you work faster. My working day almost always ends at 10pm or until I'm too tired. I'd keep sewing but when you're tired you make clumsy mistakes. I work Sunday-Friday and on Saturday's we have business meetings and do our quality checks! We go through all of what's been made that week and then discuss what we're doing. We all sit at my dining room table with coffees at my laptop having in depth discussions about colours and fabrics. We all have really different ideas about what we want to do. Sometimes I take a day off. Though it's usually only if I've finished a large amount of work. I recently finished a £100 order so I allowed myself a half day off to go see a movie!

NS: You sound incredibly busy! How many days off would you say you have in, like, a month?
AD: Maybe two? You have your breaking points but you're reminded you can't stop. You've got a deadline, a goal and customers are waiting. When I begin to get sad and want to go back to sleep I remember that my customers are waiting, and that usually fires me up. If there's one thing I can't emotionally stand doing, it's upsetting a customer. If I'm taking too long on an order I can start to have panic attacks but that's where my project manager steps in and calms me down. He usually tells me to go have an ice lolly and get some fresh air.

Exquisite charming charms.
NS: What has been your happiest moment as an independent designer and seamstress, so far?
AD: Every time a customer writes to me to say how much they love their order. I could cry of happiness! They're the most important part to me. 
When we got the confirmation email from the organizers of "Enchanted" that was a big dream come true. I've always wanted to sell at a big event. So I actually did cry from happiness. To other businesses I know it's not a big deal but to me it's going to be one of the best day's of my life. People buying my art, going out of their way to find my stall or even just complimenting my stall. It's what I've always wanted in life.

NS: What has been the most difficult part of running your own brand?
AD: The sewing. It's 80% of the work. It's fun to talk to customers, it's fun to draw pretty dresses and visit museums to find inspiration. 20 pairs of bloomers, 40 legs, 80 bits of fabric. 40 legs that need to be sewn, pressed, locked. Doing anything 40 times in one day can get a bit boring if you don't make a game of it. A hard day's work leaves you with a pile of oddly shaped fabric. You have to keep yourself focused!

NS: What’s your biggest dream when it comes to your brand? What do you hope that the future holds?
AD: My biggest dream for Atelier Dormir is a physical shop. An actual real life boutique in the heart of Amsterdam with happy well paid staff and a design team of my own! To be able to host brand tea parties, sell lucky packs, have ques of people on new releases. I'm dreaming pretty big but I know if I believe in myself I can do it.

A possible future addition to the Atelier Dormir shop (with more lace and frills). Keeping my fingers crossed!
NS: Do you have any advice you’d like to give to aspiring Lolita designers, or other Lolitas who’re pursuing their dreams?
AD: Don't ever listen to anyone who tries to tell you it's not possible. I once read an article on EGL saying it was impossible to make money or a business from just sewing bloomers. I agreed with them. I was an idiot! Sometimes you need to throw realism straight out the window to really achieve your dreams. It used to be impossible to travel more than 30mph, it used to be impossible to touch the moon itself, so if all that can be possible, you can achieve your dreams!

NS: Last but not least- Could you give us a tiny hint on what we can expect to see from you next?
AD: Pink and collaborations. That is all.

I feel so lucky that I know someone with such impressive spirit, and I can't wait to find out what that very secretive end to the interview is hiding! I wonder who they could be collaborating with..
Thank you so much for the interview, Atelier Dormir!

To see more of Atelier Dormir, visit their Facebook page!
Oh, and they also have a blog. That one can be found right here.

All photos on this page were borrowed with permission from Atelier Dormir.

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