Fashion is Hard. Online Retailing is even harder. Reba Saxon followed her gut and she’s making entrepreneurship look easy.
Akin & Co. is an apparel retailer that brings modern & fluid aesthetic sensibilities to everyone
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
A year and a half ago, I took a huge leap of faith and left my full time job as a photo producer. I’d been yearning to do something more creative that was distinctly my own and since I was a kid, I’ve fantasized about having my own clothing store.
About a week into being freelance, I was playing around on the internet (probably online shopping!) and I thought to myself – Why don’t I just do it already? How hard can it be to open an online business?
A week later, I had all the paperwork in to start my business and my website was half built. Half measures are just not in my playbook, they never have been. After a few awkward emails with designers, I started the get the hang of the whole buying process and it’s been an uphill climb from there.
A few months later we got our first small orders from local designers and I recruited friends to help me shoot our first look book. Having worked in the photo industry for years, the look book styling and coordinating the shoot came natural, and is still one of my favorite aspects of the business.
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE BRAND NAME?
Kindred is a family name, and that word and its derivatives bring up warm & fuzzy feelings for me. I liked the idea of being akin to people, I love having a feeling of togetherness through a similar aesthetic and a mutual desire to feel good about how and where your clothing is made. Thus akin & co was born!
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST HURDLE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME TO GET STARTED?
I really struggled in the beginning with not letting anyone’s opinions affect my business plan. I had a lot of people in my ear talking about the perils of retail and owning your own business and it was really hard to not let that diminish my drive. I was so stoked on what I was creating, and I knew if I worked my ass off and stuck to my aesthetic, my customers would be stoked on it too.
When I was first agonizing over which pieces to order for my first shipment, I didn’t listen to my gut and got some pieces that I didn’t love, that I wouldn’t wear personally, because I thought it would balance out akin’s look in some way. I’d do things like order a crazy loud colorful print because I noticed I didn’t have any. Lo and behold, those items didn’t sell even though they were beautiful, and I became aware that people were coming for a specific look that I had created, that I was passionate about, and the clothing that customers fell in love and ordered again and again were the pieces that akin & co has become known best for – understated elegance and elevated basics… and a lot of neutral colors!
Basically, I’ve learned that I’m better off when I cater to my own customer base and personal style and not to anything else.
WHAT WAS THAT “JUST DO IT” MOMENT FOR YOU TO GET STARTED?
“…About a week into being freelance, I was playing around on the internet (probably online shopping!) and I thought to myself – Why don’t I just do it already? How hard can it be to open an online business?”
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