Tasi Travels makes travel clothing designed for adventures, combining minimalism, practicality and style. We chat with Sunshine Coast founder Jess Abraham on how the adventure of a lifetime turned into a sustainable business.
What was your idea?
Tasi Travels was dreamt up on the paradise that is Atauro Island in Timor-Leste in late 2016. Timor is an incredible country, but I'd struggled to pack for the very hot and humid, but conservative culture. All the clothes I owned were either made of a material that was too thick, or they wrinkled, or they didn't dry quickly enough or didn't have appropriate coverage for the conservative culture. I wanted to be able to travel with just a small backpack of essentials, but I couldn't find these essentials anywhere! That's where the idea for Tasi was born.
That moment you took the leap. What was the process of bringing it to life and how long did it take?
I came home from my trip and started researching right away. I couldn't find any other brand doing anything similar, so I knew I was onto something. I started researching out to people I knew in the industry and asking a million questions, from there I basically drew up my designs and worked with a local pattern maker and seamstress to bring them to life. I returned from Timor in November 2016, had launched the business by April 2017 and we launched our first collection that July. It all happened quite quickly!
Was it a gut feeling or did you test your idea first?
I spoke to a lot of my friends and family about the idea, particularly females who I knew traveled regularly, and my experience was echoed everywhere - everyone had experienced the same frustration at not having appropriate, comfortable or easy travel clothes. So I knew the idea had potential, but I didn't go overboard on testing the idea before I launched. Luckily it seems to have worked out quite well!
3. Biggest lesson?
Having a clear understanding of your numbers and data is so important. Knowing exactly where your business stands in terms of how many units you're selling, where your traffic is coming from, exactly where your margins sit and having a clear path to improve them... I believe this is all so crucial. Having accurate data and understanding around your business means you can be empowered in all of the decisions you make.
How important is collaboration with like minded creative's and businesses?
Collaboration is extremely important, particularly in the early days of any business or project. It gives you access to resources and skills you may not have yourself, as well as to a whole new audience.
I don't know if there's been one big significant proud moment, more so lots of little wins and moments that have made me proud to be on this journey. A recent one that comes to mind is when WGSN (the world's leading fashion & trend forecasting platform) published their 2019 Sustainability Report and included Tasi as a brand to watch in terms of sustainability & ethics. This was pretty exciting as the report highlighted the leading brands from around the world!
What's next for Tasi?
Tasi has experienced significant growth over the last six months, which has been exciting but also very challenging at times - we just haven't had the capacity to keep up with demand. So 2019 for me is a lot about restructuring the business and our manufacturing team so we can continue to sustain our growth and chase some bigger opportunities.
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