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February 2, 2014
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Shawl Dawls: One Shawl, 15+ Looks

If you’re anything like me then you like to invest in closet staples that will give you bang for your buck. So, What exactly do I mean? I mean that you don’t mind spending a few extra dollars on clothing items that you will continuously wear with multiple things. Well, my savvy fashionistas, do I have a surprise for you – Shawl Dawls.

I know you’re probably thinking, “a shawl, really?”. I must admit that a shawl isn’t something I visualize when I think of being in vogue. However, the ladies of Shawl Dawls have completely, and I mean completely, rendered my entire vision of shawls.

The dynamic designer duo of Shawl Dawls, Julie Cruz and Roshena Chadha, have framed a distinctive line of shawls and cover ups. These two created a convertible wardrobe staple that can be worn 15 plus ways. The average price for one these bad boys is around $48 dollars and range in different styles and textures. Let me stop right there…if we do the math, that’s under $3.50 per look! You can’t find that in the clearance section at target. What I’m trying to say is that these ingenious designers seriously created something that allows you to be chic and stylish without breaking the bank, while giving you quality.

Julie and Roshena took a moment to chit chat with us to talk about the future of Shawl Dawls.

Shawl DawlsQ: What inspired you to start Shawl Dawls?
A: We both have always wanted to own a fashion business so when we met as coworkers in the corporate fashion world, we instantly clicked as we shared the same mindset and ambition.  So we thought it would be ideal to team up to fulfill our similar dream of running our own company.  We toyed with different fashion business ideas until we figured that a line of convertible shawls could be a lucrative avenue, inspired by the thought that shawls are versatile, practical, and fashionable, and a piece that every woman could use in her wardrobe.  The fact that we’ve been able to give the shawl a modern twist allows us a wide market range from hip Grannys to fashion-forward Millennials.

Q: Describe what each of you do for Shawl Dawls and how you work together.
A: Julie is Director of Operations and Roshena is Creative Director.  Julie makes sure that all departments, from production to marketing to sales are in harmony with each other.  This involves a lot of logistics to make sure everything runs smoothly and seamlessly.  Roshena, as the Creative Director, is responsible for the creative vision of the company from graphic design to product design to product assortments.  She is also heavily involved in the wholesale sales aspect of the business, while Julie handles the retail events and the e-commerce site.  Roshena does the travelling to prospect wholesale accounts while Julie holds the fort down at home base in San Dimas, CA.  The great thing is that each of our skills set complement the other, which is a key ingredients to our success.

Q: What’s the hardest part about staying on top of trends while being true to the vision of Shawl Dawls?
A: We are not primarily a trend-driven line.  The design vision of Shawl Dawls is to provide practical fashion in classic and timeless styles, prints, and colors.  It is through our marketing that we are able to tie our classic pieces in with the trends, such as pairing a shawl with trendy printed leggings.

Q: What was the biggest challenge for each of you thus far and how did you overcome that?
A: Our biggest challenge is trying to reach the national market as quickly as possible with the resources we have, such as capital and manpower.  We are working to overcome this by polishing up our business plan to help bring in more capital so we can accommodate mass volume orders and grow our business even faster.

Q: I had the chance to see Shawl Dawls during Phoenix Fashion Week. How did you get involved with the emerging designer program there?
A: We were introduced to the Phoenix Fashion Week Emerging Designer Program when they were scouting designers in Los Angeles in June 2012.  With much excitement, we immediately applied for the program and were accepted as one of 12 emerging designers to go through the program and show our line at Phoenix Fashion Week 2012.  Through the program we received a solid business education as well as connections to many of our best wholesale accounts.  It is the best decision we’ve made for our business thus far, and we highly encourage emerging designers to enroll in a program like this and take advantage of all the business education they can get.

ShawlDawl3Q: You’re a dynamic duo of women with many talents. Not only do you have Shawl Dawls but you both travel all over the world promoting your business. How are you able to maintain everything?
A: It’s imperative that we work as a strong team and remain united through great communication and staying true to our vision of being the global leader in convertible wear and innovative fashion.  There’s a lot on our plate, but that’s all part of the job!

Q: What can we expect from Shawl Dawls in 2014? Any collaborations?
A: We are working on cultivating bigger distribution channels, perhaps through television, a major showroom, and/or large department stores.  We also want to give back to the community so we are looking into collaborating with charitable organizations that help to fulfill our mission of inspiring and uplifting others, especially women, through fashion and fellowship.

Q: Where do you want the brand positioned in the next 5 years?
A: Our vision is to be the industry’s top global leader in convertible wear and innovative fashion.  We will be a strong, recognizable, and impressionable brand across the nation and around the world.

Q: If you can give one piece of advice for any aspiring designer or brand owner, what would it be?
A: Always be in learning mode.  There are so many free and low-cost business resources and educational seminars/webinars out there such as those offered through FAB Counsel, one of our favorite resources :).  Some are industry-specific, and others offer general business education, such as SCORE and the SBDC.  Take full advantage of these resources, and remember to take action to apply what you learn!

There’s no doubt that these ladies will take over the fashion industry with their ambition and drive, they truly have a formula for success. If you are interested in purchasing one these radical convertible shawls then head over to www.shawldawls.com (they offer wholesale, too!)