Australia’s Most Successful Fashion Agency You’ve Never Heard Of
Why being successful sometimes means being in the background.
Yetta Rawadi is the Founder & COO of Slyletica, a fashion agency that specializes in creating activewear and swimwear brands through a unique process including custom manufacturing, design, and brand development. Slyletica has now worked with over 700 brands and works with influencers, athletes and health/wellness businesses around the globe.
After studying Software Development at Monash University, I landed my first job at IBM. You would think that my story would be pretty predictable from this point on but it’s far from it. After a few years in corporate, I quickly realized it was not for me so like most female entrepreneurs I set out to find my path.
Having always had an interest in fashion I found myself doing a career 360 and began working in fashion, specializing in buying and product development with a small label. Not long after my best friend at the time (who is now my husband!) Simon Rawadi and I saw an opportunity in premium activewear. So, we decided to do the obvious thing and start our own activewear line. While we had success in marketing and sales, we had operational issues that were a shock to us. At the time, there was no one to help. We were running into issues with our factories, from design all the way through to quality control and communication. We were also continually inundated with stockists or friends asking to put their own branding on the activewear or wanting us to help them start their own brands.
It took us a full 12 months of saying no before we realized that what we had been learning all along, through the process of building our own brand, could be a unique business opportunity.
Figuring out how to offer a complete end-to-end solution was not only a natural evolution, the market was ready for it – the missing links in communication for developing and manufacturing your own brand meant things were always missed or double-handled incorrectly. The more we looked, the more we found people with the same challenges we were facing in the beginning.
As soon as we shared the idea with our stockists and friends, we were inundated with brands asking for help and we started saying yes. By now we had figured out our unique formula for success with our label and decided to completely pivot the business and become a complete solution for people looking to start and scale an activewear brand. With that decision to move to over to B2B, and help our clients grow their brands exclusively, we closed our own label. The focus was now about putting our customers in the spotlight. Simon and I called this working “On The Sly” (although I prefer to think SLY stands for “Simon Loves Yetta”, too!). Slyletica was born in December 2015. Word quickly spread through our customers who are our biggest ambassadors and more requests started coming in. We knew there was a demand, but we had no idea how quickly it would grow. And boy did it grow!
As soon as it stopped becoming about us, and it became about the customer, is when we began to see our biggest success. We’ve kept this model for Slyletica ever since, and time and time again it always comes back to how we can improve and grow for our customers – they are the centre of our entire eco-system.
In the 3.5 years since we started Slyletica, we’ve grown from just Simon & I, to a team of over 25 staff and we’ve expanded to include over 155 brands, with triple-digit growth and millions in revenue. However, even to this day, we still aren’t completely comfortable talking about our success. It’s really about what we’ve been able to do for our customers and the success they’ve had. Over this same time, our customers have generated close to $20 million in revenue for themselves. That’s what we are most proud of, helping our clients realize and see their activewear dreams come to life is a win for us every single time. Their success is our success, and we’re so thankful that we get to be a part of helping so many brands.
It might seem odd to some, but it’s normal for us. My husband and I made a conscious choice to be entrepreneurs and do whatever it takes, we were determined from when we started our own business that we were going to build the lives we always envisioned for ourselves. Since we began this journey, we’ve sold off our four properties, sold our cars, survived on a diet of 2-minute noodles & tinned tuna and worked harder than I ever thought we could work. Looking back, I don’t know how we did it, but I’m glad we did! It has made us who we are today.
We’ve made plenty of mistakes, but with every down, there is an up. I realized pretty quickly not to get caught up in the ebbs and flows of the journey. Today, my husband is more on the front lines of the business; my passion is working on the daily operations of the business, as well as making sure our team has a great culture to work in.
The lessons we have learned along our journey we can now pass onto our clients, combined with listening proactively to our customer’s needs and adapting where necessary is key to the success and growth in Slyletica. Our mistakes have helped me evolve as a business owner, entrepreneur, and mentor. One key thing I’ve learned is resiliency; it’s okay to fail, just remember to get back up and stay resilient. I wouldn’t have dreamed that when we started an activewear brand years ago that we would be where we are today, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s ok to be in the background & On The Sly, as long as you are at the forefront of your life!
Original Article can ben seen on the Daily Guru.