Every woman aspires to look and feel confident, and that’s exactly what Sheiralyn aims to achieve with the clothes she sells. As the mastermind behind the locally-adored couture atelier brand Apartment 8 Clothing, Sheiralyn is proof that a hundred percent passion and hands-on dedication are at the very core of any successful business. To date, Apartment 8 Clothing has amassed close to 500 thousand Instagram fans, but its band of loyal followers and admirers in real life—including celebrities like Heart Evangelista, Nadine Lustre, and Liza Soberano—is undoubtedly beyond that half a million mark.
Besides enthusiasm and commitment to the brand, Apartment 8 Clothing owes much of its success to Sheiralyn’s client-oriented mindset. “In fashion, it’s important to listen to your clients’ needs,” Sheiralyn says. Doing so has allowed her to expand her reach towards a more varied clientele—from bloggers to actresses, from teens to moms. Seeing as Apartment 8 Clothing is well on its way towards an uphill ascent, there’s definitely a thing or two to learn from the woman behind the brand.
Below, Sheiralyn shares with us the key trait every designer should have, the one thing you should consider when looking for design inspirations, and her insider tips for those who want to succeed in the fashion industry.
What made you want to start your own clothing label?
Fashion has always been something that I’ve been really passionate about. I’m a strong believer that when it comes to starting a business, you look at what inspires you and what you’re highly interested in because this is what you’ll be doing on a daily basis. Doing what you love doing will allow you to inspire others to do great things as well.
How did you go about starting the label?
The concept came about when my friends and I started to live in an apartment in Boston. Despite getting along as housemates, we realized that we all share very contrasting styles and tastes in fashion. This is very similar to Apartment 8 wherein we carry a wide variety of designs and styles in order to cater to the distinctive tastes of our clients.
Since its inception, how did Apartment 8 Clothing evolve into the brand that it is today?
Apartment 8 Clothing has gone through several rebranding processes. From working with the country’s top fashion bloggers, famous celebrities, and socialites, we’ve also worked with teens, young professionals, travellers, and even moms. Our clientele has grown to be so varied!
Where does your team draw inspiration for your designs?
We draw inspiration from what our clients like. When you know what works, you can then start to play around with details and inject twists to classic ensembles.
In the process of designing and conceptualizing, how do you make sure that your designs stay true to what your label stands for?
We believe in one thing: “looking good while feeling good.” Our designs should make women feel confident; it should bring out the best in them. Because of that, we put a lot of focus on perfecting the fit of the clothes. On top of it all, we inject modern details to the classiest of silhouettes so that our “roommates” are always on trend and updated.
What sets apart Apartment 8 Clothing from other labels?
Apartment 8 Clothing is a fast-paced online and couture atelier brand with basic fashion-forward pieces. We have destination-themed stores and we do regular photo shoots in different astonishing locations around the Philippines and out of the country.
Which fashion icon or celebrity do you envision wearing clothes from your label?
Some of the fashion icons whom we personally look up to are Kate Middleton, Bella Hadid, Audrey Hepburn, Emma Watson, and Heart Evangelista.
What obstacles do you constantly face when it comes to managing your own clothing line?
There’s no easy way to run a business. From finding the right suppliers to properly managing your staff and balancing our clients’ expectations—these are just some of the challenges that we’ve faced as a team. There will always be obstacles and bumps along the way, but seeing our clients show their support and appreciation for the new designs we make and the changes that we try to take makes it all worth it.
What’s the most important trait a designer must have?
A designer should always be humble enough to keep learning. Fashion is ever-changing so the right things you know now might be wrong tomorrow. With that, a designer must always be willing to keep growing with and through fashion. This specific trait will make him or her relevant to clients, and nowadays, relevance is very important.
What do you love most about having your own line of clothing?
I like seeing other ladies wear our clothing line and feel gorgeous, pretty, and empowered. I love it the most when I see my happy roommates looking and being their best when they wear Apartment 8’s clothing!
What do you least like about it?
We’re a team of go-getters, and the least I like about the business are the moments of shortcomings. But of course, we always try to learn from each and every one of those.
You’ve expanded Apartment 8 in Singapore, and you’re also planning to expand in other countries. What’s your advice for designers who want to widen the reach of their brand?
Learn to take the risk and follow your gut feel. Sometimes it’s all about taking that big leap because you’ll never know where it’ll take you. As a team, we constantly try new and different things and always aim to be open to opportunities.
What adjustments are you expecting to make in the process of going international?
I look forward to working with more people now (e.g., new partners, etc.). We also have to make our pieces more unique since we now have more competitors given the wider reach of our brand.
How has social media affected the way you manage your brand?
Social media is a bizarre world and it’s very interesting for me. It has greatly affected the way we market our fashion and how we reach clients. With the right usage, it has become very handy to us.
What’s one thing about the Philippine fashion scene that makes it ready to partake in the global fashion community?
In relation to the previous question, the Philippines is one of the top countries that’s very social media savvy. Because of that, we are now easily knowledgeable about what’s trending in fashion. This allows our designers to be more detail-oriented and quality-oriented. I believe that foreigners can even draw inspiration from the original designs by the talented people in our country!
Marketing plays a big role in your clothing house’s success. What’s a good marketing technique for labels like Apartment 8?
Being really active in social media and getting the right people to carry the brand’s name is one of the main marketing principles that we abide by.
What tried-and-tested tip can you share to budding designers who want to start their own clothing line?
Love your business. Having your own business requires you to be very hard working, dedicated, focused, and hands-on. It requires you to stay humble and knowledgeable at the same time. It entails a lot of risk-taking, decision-making, as well as personal and professional changes. To be able to succeed, you have to be in love with your business. That love will inspire you to go on and be an even better entrepreneur day by day.