Knowing that you don’t want to work for someone is the biggest catalyst to following your dreams of being your own boss. That’s exactly what Lotty Dotty Co-Founders Shevanne Helmer and Maya Persaud have done. They have designed and patented a revolutionary line of high-fashion T-shirts featuring screen printed doll figures, that can be dressed interchangeably with velcro-backed designer mini-outfits.
Growing up in Washington DC and Hawaii, Persaud’s beauty landed her on the runways of Europe as an in-demand fashion model. Her post graduate education at the University of London’s prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies afforded her additional opportunities to travel the world and fight battles for worthy causes. Maya has blended business savvy, world class elegance and high fashion experience to launch “Lotty Dotty.”
Harking back to childhood memories of playing with paper dolls, Maya and Helmer named the company Lotty Dotty after one of their early favorites. Based in Paris, the company also serves as a showcase for unknown talented designers who create the mini-outfit collections, and are promoted on the company’s website and packaging. “We wanted to offer several T-shirts in one. This coincides with our will to do as much as we can to preserve our environment. Our T-shirts are made of 100% organic cotton and we try to use recycled materials whenever possible,” says Helmer.
We caught up with the fashion entrepreneurs and got all the pointers they had to give about starting a flourishing business. Check out their tips!
HelloBeautiful: Briefly describe your day to day activities and responsibilities.
Lotty Dotty: I have my hands in almost every aspect of the business, from design to manufacturing to commercialization. My responsibilities change from day to day, so good organization is important!
HB: Briefly describe what prompted your interest in kids fashion?
LD: I have two kids and love the children’s universe. Our idea was to make playful interactive apparel for kids and for people like us, who are kids at heart.
HB: What suggestions regarding networking would you give to those seeking to get into fashion?
LD: Move, move move! Things are changing so fast, technologically as well as in fashion. It is important to move around and go to trade shows and events as you never know who you will meet at the right place at the right time. Fashion is a very competitive business so it is important to make people aware of your brand. I recently met a toy store owner through a kids fashion network who wanted to test the shirts in his store. That gave us the idea to commercialize to toys stores and led us to expand our market.
HB: What are the major challenges in your role as a designer and what solutions have you deemed best to handle these challenges?
LD: My biggest concern is waste. Whether it be through prototyping or estimating production, we try to create as little waste as possible even if sometimes we are out of stock for certain items.
HB: What would you contribute your level of success?
LD: Hard work, persistence and support from my wonderful family and friends, especially my mother who has helped me a great deal.
HB: Any advice for those who want to expand their career the way you have?
LD: Just do it! There are millions of people still writing the first chapter of their book for the past ten years. If you want to do something, just do it and be determined.