How to Start a Clothing Line and Make Millions of Dollars
- Sarah Ashcroft started her blog in 2013 after trying to land a job in fashion PR.
- Today, she is the founder of SLA the Label, a clothing brand that generates millions in annual sales.
- She told Insider how she turned social media followers into customers.
Sarah Ashcroft started influencing her followers long before “influencer” became a teenager’s dream job: in 2013, she started a blog called “That Pommie Girl”, where she shared outfit ideas and clothing inspiration.
Ashcroft in London has turned “That Pommie Girl” into a YouTube channel and Instagram account. And over the years, she’s collaborated with notable brands, including Missguided and Skims. She also collaborated with online clothing site In the Style to create her first partnership collection in 2017.
Since then, Ashcroft has taken his influence and turned it into a clothing line called SLA the Label, which launched in 2019. The first drop of his business sold out within 24 hours. By the end of its first year, Ashcroft had sold more than $1 million worth of products, according to documents verified by Insider. Last year, that figure rose to $2.7m (£2.1m).
“It’s amazing how something so simple has become so big,” said Ashcroft, 27, who has more than 1.4 million social media followers. “I never imagined a blog would become something like this.”
Insider spoke with Ashcroft about starting her blogging career, turning her followers into customers, and growing her brand into a multi-million dollar business.
An application turns into an opportunity
Ashcroft said she had always had a passion for fashion, and in 2012 she enrolled in a year-long fashion course at the Fashion Retail Academy in London.
By the end of the course, Ashcroft said, she gained experience in styling, buying and visual merchandising, but she decided to go into fashion PR. During her job search, employers often asked her if she had a fashion blog, Ashcroft said, because they were looking for someone with a new understanding of blogging.
“I came home one night and decided to start one just so I could say in an interview that I had a blog,” she said.
Ashcroft launched “That Pommie Girl” in September 2013, and six months later, she said, affiliate partnership site rewardStyle (now known as LTK) approached her with an opportunity to monetize their publications. In her first month on the affiliate platform, she added, she earned nearly $1,900, which prompted her to quit her retail job and focus on full-time blogging.
Turning industry experience into a brand
While at LTK, Ashcroft’s account manager was shocked by her conversion rates, Ashcroft said. “Whatever I wear, my followers and my readers would buy it too,” she added.
Over the years, Ashcroft has leveraged its high conversion rates to partner with a long list of brands, including L’Oreal, ASOS and In the Style, she said. And her experience with In the Style gave her a taste for designing clothes, putting together collections and working behind the scenes.
“I thought to myself, ‘Imagine if I put all this effort into my own brand,'” she said. “This is how SLA was born.”
Changing it is the only way to grow
As Ashcroft’s social media grew, she noticed that fans would love to see her airport outfits and activewear. When she started designing her first line for SLA, she tapped into that interest and launched loungewear, she said.
Additionally, Ashcroft relied on analytics to find out what her followers liked, and she recommended other founders do the same. Ashcroft said she researched analytics from her own pages, as well as numbers via LTK, to determine which products her followers would want.
But more than a year into the pandemic, Ashcroft predicted his followers had had enough of loungewear. In July, she launched Luxe, the new high-end arm of her business that sells dresses, blazers and pants.
“COVID-19 has completely and utterly changed us,” Ashcroft said of his company and its goals. “When it came to the end of the confinement, I was ready to bring out my glitter and my sequins.”
The success of SLA’s Luxe line confirmed Ashcroft’s prediction that its subscribers were ready to return to a glamorous normal, which boosted its annual sales to $2.7 million, Ashcroft said.
“Quality has always been our biggest goal because we want our clothes to last,” added Ashcroft. “We want someone to order a piece from SLA and have it stay in their wardrobe for years.”