We have been very lucky to interview Kaylee Schatz of Asher Marie and discover her new amazing lifestyle collection of beach dresses and resort wear. Asher Marie’s goal is to remind women of our independent beauty and to offer a bit of joy through fashionable pieces.
What made you decide to launch your resort wear collection?
Asher Marie has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl in grade school. Although it didn’t yet have a name or a specific purpose, I always knew I wanted to create a brand; something that would be shared by women around the world. For me, it had to have a global purpose. This was before social media had been invented, the Internet was a pastime and smartphones were accessories. From a very early age, I knew the world was much bigger than me and I had the vision of creating something that could be shared by many. After college, I started to develop my ideas. It took over ten years for my ideas to become tangible and for me to gather the courage to take the leap of faith to create Asher Marie.
Tell us about the name of your label, Asher Marie.
Three years ago, the most amazingly spectacular thing happened to me: I became a mommy to my son, Asher. He truly is a gift. Asher is my joy, my light, my life and my motivation! I love him beyond words and cannot express how he has inspired me as a person! It was this life event that finally gave me the humanly push I needed to develop my collection and my brand. Named after him, Asher means “happy and blessed.” The second part of my brand name is a family name that extends four generations before me and is also my middle name, “Marie.” Fuse the two together and you have, “Asher Marie.” To me, it symbolizes happiness, blessings and strength for those who have come before us!
What makes the Asher Marie Collection unique?
The Asher Marie Collection is unique because it offers bright, vibrant and explosive pieces that are inspirational both in their patterns and silhouettes. Asher Marie can transition any woman from day to night, from the boardroom to cocktail hour with friends. Our pieces are travel friendly, with little to no wrinkles and are easy to care for with our machine washable and durable fabrics.
Who is your target market?
When I began this journey, my goal was to create a product that would be consumed by me and my peers; the thirty something who wants to be fashionable, not spend a fortune, acquire unique pieces and feel good about her body. I also wanted something that would offer little fuss, as many of the people in my age group are busy, working moms who are driven by more than just tricky laundry and excessive dry cleaning! Clearly, I wasn’t limiting myself to those born in the 1970s and 1980s, but that was my starting point. As I continued writing my business plan, test marketing and social strategizing, I realized there was an even bigger need than I had originally thought. I quickly amended my target market to fulfill a much broader scope and now Asher Marie is for any woman who wants to feel good about her body and participate in trendy prints, while embracing classic silhouettes. My goal with each collection is to push the boundaries, ever so slightly. When you walk into a boutique that carries Asher Marie, you may find everyone from aged 21 to 71 purchasing my pieces. In fact, to date, we have had those as young as 14 want to pre-order my pieces, and my mother-in-law and her friends in their mid-60s have all fallen in love with our clothing! Our simple sizing has also allowed for easy gift giving for those on your shopping list.
Can you describe your collection using three words?
Vibrant. Smart. Sophisticated.
What is your favorite piece in the collection?
This is a tricky question because I truly love every piece! When you pour your heart and soul into each and every design, with its own distinctive technicalities, it’s hard to put anything out there that you don’t absolutely love! But, if you’re asking me to choose two items to pack to jump on a plane for a spontaneous overnight girls trip to Miami, I would choose the Kaylee Signature tunic dress as the first. It is beyond versatile and can be worn as a bathing suit cover up, as a tunic with leggings or as a slightly shorter dress for an evening out. We will be offering it in two prints in the inaugural collection and it is slated to return in future seasons in different prints. Secondly, I would choose the Marissa ¾ Sleeve Shift Dress. It’s beyond comfortable and offers a flattering silhouette that is perfect for so many different body types. The pattern is out of this world and beyond unique. The stock is so limited on this piece that my only concern is disappointing those who don’t snag one it time!
When was your official launch?
Our official launch was in April 2015.
What is next for you?
The sky is the limit and I feel like I’m just getting started! I have one, three, five and ten year business plans completed, and my goal is to produce a quality product that women are excited about and one they want to own season after season! Within the next two years, Asher Marie may take the plunge into swimwear, as it’s a natural progressive step as a lifestyle and resort brand and something I am extremely passionate about. Accessories will probably follow with my vision to always adapt with my customers’ input and needs. I plan to build this brand on the principals of integrity, strong leadership, creativity and a strong desire to continue to learn and grow, both as an individual, and with my customers always at the forefront of my mind.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to launch their own collection?
Stick with it and go with your gut instincts! Research and marketability is important, yes, but don’t let others persuade you to do something you don’t wholeheartedly believe in and love! Asher Marie is my passion. Passionate people are successful when they aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves, get dirty and work hard. Also, learn your craft. Educate yourself on every single aspect of your business. It is important to do every task at least once. At a minimum, understand how each job needs to be successfully executed. After all, no one cares more about your business than you. Then surround yourself with qualified professionals who can help you navigate the sometimes murky waters. Be honest both with yourself and with others as well as it will only help the process and create credibility in an industry where your name can quickly become your bond. Finally, treat people well. This should go without saying, but too often kindness is forgotten in this world. Be kind as it will only serve you well in time!
What is one thing you wish you knew about fashion design before you launched your collection?
Before starting Asher Marie, I wish I had known how long certain steps in the design process can take. For example, creating samples and recreating samples can take many months to get things just right. Stick with your vision and don’t settle until you produce the design you originally intended, or at least one that makes you even more satisfied!
Where is your favorite beach located?
Based on my travels to date, I have three favorite beaches. One is in Naples, Florida, USA. It is an area that is so tranquil and one I hold close to my heart. I spent many years in the area growing up and look forward to returning with my son and husband a couple of times annually (perhaps even moving back one day). Naples is peaceful, in a surreal kind of way, where the warm water often sits still and the perfectly patterned soft white sand brings you back to nature in a whole new way. The momentary sand bars and occasional fully intact sand dollars are always a welcomed treat! It’s particularly spectacular when, after a late summer storm, the cool lingering breeze in the air and misty clouds make way for some of the most amazing sunsets you will ever find! My second favorite beach is located in Dominical, a beach-front town in the province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. What can I say, it is one of my husband’s favorite surf destinations and is completely enchanting. The jungle borders the beach and it is not uncommon to compete with a monkey for a seat on a fallen tree stump to witness the early morning tides. The ocean waves are endless and the topography of the land with its coves, rocks and natural habitat are beyond inspiring. My third favorite beach is top secret and one that I am saving for a blog post on the Asher Marie website later this year!
What is your favorite inspirational fashion quote?
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel