Retailer Spotlight: Q&A with Young & Able
Revved up basics, standout pieces that celebrate good design and thoughtful storytelling are just a few elements of Young & Able. This new e-commerce site founded by Rosa Ng, a knitwear designer who has worked with names such as Alexander McQueen, Jason Wu, Louis Golden along with Save The Garment Center has a focused edit of product from today's young makers. She's delving behind the scenes, learning about their craft and committed to supporting these emerging designers.
We had the chance to learn more about Rosa and her new venture:
Why did you start Y&A?
What inspired me the most to start Young & Able is my friends that chose the path of starting their own brand right after college. I’ve always walked away so inspired and motivated after seeing their latest collection. But the problem is they all share the same story. Each of them have their own unique vision and have created high quality hand crafted goods but struggle to get their name out there outside their own networks. I truly believe in my friends and the many makers and emerging designers out there and as consumers, we want to know more about what we are spending our money on and we should invest on things that will last. It didn't make sense for me to enter into this saturated market as a designer, there was a void in the market. Therefore I decided to launch Young & Able, an online platform where we have editorial and blogger photoshoots, behind-the-scenes footages, interviews and Q&As with our feature designers so both designers and consumers can interact at every level. Let’s collectively support the design entrepreneurs of our generation and because a simple like, tweet, pin and follow goes a long way.
You went from design to e-commerce. How has the transition been and how has it helped you?
Coming from design and having to start up an e-commerce, I felt like I was doing everything backward only because if I was creating a collection, the whole development of an e-commerce would be in the back burner until I have an actual collection. But there are a lot of similarity, I knew I had to already think about branding and be selective of the designers that I choose. I created Young & Able with the same principles of how I would see my own collection.
What is the Y&A lifestyle all about?
Y&A lifestyle is all about connecting the customer closer to the makers and their merchandise. We want them to want to learn and know more about what they are investing their money on and join the movement of shopping locally and choosing quality over quantity.
Are you sourcing only US-based designers or international ones as well?
The majority of our products are locally based artists that produce locally either handcrafted by the makers themselves or with a US manufacturer. There are a lot of great talents internationally also so we hope to bring those talents to the US and help them build their fan based here. Currently we have a textile artist, Maayan Gutfled, from Tel Aviv, Israel, that makes hand bounded sketchbooks and for Spring, we are carrying an Australian designer, Kara Liu.
Can you describe the brand in three words?
Independent, Community, Transparency
What is the brand's aesthetic?
Cool basics with a twist mixed with statement pieces.
How do you select the designers for the site? It seems like it's more than just good product.
The quality and the design of the product is a key factor but a lot of it is about the designer's story, their presentation and how I connect with them.
How would you say your site is different?
I think the way I work and curate the shop. I try to work with each brand individually and together we discuss what will be the best products to showcase on Young & Able. It'll give them a chance to showcase the pieces that they really believe in or test out a specific style or material.
Can you tell us what's next?
Bringing it off line with pop up shops throughout the year to help showcase the quality and craftsmanship of the merchandise.
What advice would you give to emerging designers?
1. Don't be afraid to make mistake. Take risk and if it fails, learn from it and move on.
2. Meet other makers like yourself! As much work as we all have to do, make some time for coffee dates. Surround yourself with people you admire and have them inspire you and motivate you! ( whenever I meet a new designer, all I want to do is go home and sketch! ).
3. Document your work with pictures and videos. Always send a recap email after discussing anything from a to-do lists with a co-worker to specific dates and deadlines, etc...
4. Don't be afraid to take some off each week and not think about anything relating your work.
Emerging Designer or have a resource to share? Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.