Holly has always been a fond fashion flea market forager and in 2009 decided to take the step behind the other side of the table to see if her passion for relaxed yet stylish, quality Australian made fashion would be well received. It was. Four years on, her label, Masinissa, has two retail outlets in Sydney, a flagship store in Mosman and collaborative Pop-up shop in Freshwater on the Northern Beaches with previous Got Soul star Carlie from Indigo Bazaar called the Darley Collective.
Got Soul - So it all started in 2009 at the Paddington Markets, is that right?
Holly - I've always been a fan of the Paddington Markets. All the people there are owner/makers who do everything in their business. So when I was starting out I met a lot of good people who were extremely helpful and made me think more about how I wanted to grow Masinissa.
Got Soul - As in a business plan?
Holly - Kind of, it was more so the practices in the business, like having everything made in Australia in small runs. I learnt that a lot of people liked buying something that they knew there wasn't a thousand of them. I think people are getting sick of fast fashion and would prefer to buy something that is eighty dollars and can wear for a few years, rather something that is twenty dollars that gets ditched at the end of a season.
Got Soul - But fashion is very seasonal and all about staying up-to-date with the current trend, isn't it?
Yes, but you can still be fashionable without having to replace your waredrobe every couple of months by choosing quality staple pieces that can be mixed and matched over time and being creativty with different accessories.
Got Soul - This is how you've positioned Masinissa. A label that designs and makes quality basic fashion.
Holly - Exactly, and that it's also Australian made too.
Got Soul - You've recently collaborated with previous featured Got Soul star, Carlie from Indigo Bazaar. Can you tell me more about this?
Holly - Carlie is amazing, doing great things in sustainable fashion. We've teamed up, along with a couple of other local fashion businesses, to open a Pop-Up shop called the Darley Collective in Freshwater (Northern Beaches of Sydney).
When you start your own business it can be a lonely pursuit at times, so coming together with Carlie we're able to share our strengths and help out each other out with our weaknesses.
Got Soul - Now you've got me interested in the reason as to why you originally decided to take that step to start your own business.
Holly - I was working for a small business owner and I loved the intimate culture he had created in it. One day he said to me
"If you focus on doing something really well and you're passionate about it. Then you'll do well".
That created a surge of energy in me that I couldn't let go of and I thought 'well if I don't give it a go now. I probably never will'.
Got Soul - Was being seen as an 'ethical' business always part of your plan?
Holly - It's actually something that has evolved naturally. I never really thought about going to China to source anything and getting involved in the 'rag trade' just to save money, there's certainly easier ways to make money than that. It was more so about creating something that I loved and quality clothes that make women feel good without having to try too hard.
Got Soul - So what's next for you and Masinissa?
Holly - It has to be online. I love our shop in Mosman, but sometimes I feel like I'm just in this tiny corner of the world. I can't see myself rolling out another fifty stores across Australia, in fact I don't really want to do that. I want to spend more time with my family, I want to travel more and have more time to be creative.