We are elated to introduce you to Alexa Suter—fashion designer extraordinaire and queen of bows and tulle. This Canadian designer and founder of Sutie Skirts—has a luxurious, silk skirt collection that will have you twirling for days After spending some time abroad, Alexa found a passion for design that would eventually launch her career in the fashion industry. She returned to Canada on a mission to achieve her dreams of having her designs be worn by girls all around the world. When Alexa was given the opportunity to make her fashion line come to fruition, she jumped at the opportunity—and within a few short months and a lot of hard work, she had her first batch of samples in hand. “When you're chasing your passion, your dreams become your reality”, Alexa said.
Adorned by a classic bow, her skirts are anchored with lush silk tulle in chic colors—filling each day with a touch of grace. While her collection definitely has a classic and flirty personality—all pieces are firmly planted in versatile reality, and are designed to keep you stylish from afternoon tea to an evening soiree with the girls. Alexa thinks, “every woman should live a life full of passion, wonder, and inspiration, which is the very spirit we bring to everything we do, from the threads we sew to the lives we touch”.
We caught up with this entrepreneurial Canadian to find out more about her career, her designs, and how she manages to find inspiration while growing a fashion empire.
Take us on a quick career bio. How did your previous work experience influence the work you do today?
My professional career dates back to my early twenties when I started my first entrepreneurial pursuit in real estate. But I’ve done everything from taking orders at a drive-thru counter to answering phones at a desk and, currently, to blogging professionally and launching my clothing line. I think my previous work experience taught me the value of hard work, dedication, and discipline even when the road gets tough, so now I’m able to manage my own time and be my own boss effectively.
You recently launched your own label, Sutie Skirts. Can you share what really drove you to launch this business?
In one word, passion.
I wanted to create something that I loved, that could not only sustain my life, but also be the window to doing some wonderful things for the world. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I think my business really began when I followed my passion initially and booked a one-way flight to study fashion journalism in London.
I started to build the concept of Sutie Skirts when I returned back to Vancouver from spending six months abroad. I made my first skirt when I was living solo in Budapest, and the feeling I got when I wore it to Paris (a first time for me, and a huge bucket list destination) made me want to create more of that emotion, both for myself and other women.
Has fashion and design always been a passion of yours?
I’ve always loved fashion. As a kid, I used to keep myself busy by sketching dozens of dresses, so I suppose you could say design has always been a passion of mine! My mom was also a professional model, so I always had the influence of fashion around me and even learned how to walk the runway at the age of six.
I’ve been blessed to have had so many different experiences in the fashion industry. From modeling and photography to fashion journalism and blogging, fashion design was a natural (and wonderful) progression for me.
Can you tell us about some of the steps you took to turn your dream into reality? Guide us through the process of starting Sutie Skirts. How did the idea come about? What were the next steps you took after establishing your idea?
The first step was really just the decision to expand my initial skirt into an entire collection.
The steps that followed were the necessary actions to make this dream (or goal) a reality: creating a pattern from my first skirt design, making samples, testing a variety of fabrics and colors, wearing the skirts out to test them and gain market feedback, finding production, sourcing materials, fundraising to finance the project, and building a brand message amongst a few!
Your skirts are so beautiful. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
My inspiration for the first skirt I ever created, to be totally honest, was Coco Chanel. It might sound cliché, but I came to love her and her story so much that I wanted to create an entire collection of black and white, which was her favorite color combination.
Most people don’t know this, but Chanel is a lot more than just a luxury brand name. Chanel did things like bring pants and the color black into style for women!
What were your main goals when opening your business?
My main goal is to live a life of passion. I’m a strong believer in chasing dreams, because I’ve seen firsthand how wonderful your life can suddenly become when you’re living it authentically.
Do you do any marketing or advertising? What role, if any, does social media play in your business?
I don’t do any marketing or advertising outside of social media. I think in today’s world, social media is the bulk of advertising for most companies, especially those in the fashion industry. I love to work with fashion bloggers and influencers, since I have experience on both ends of the spectrum, and I know how instrumental this marketing tool can be to the success of any brand. I also highly value personal relationships and networking from an authentic standpoint. Many of the women I’ve met at social events are now my customers, and I love them all dearly!
Being an entrepreneur has incredible challenges but also huge rewards. What characteristics do you think are most responsible for your success?
A particular kind of relentlessness is definitely key! You have to be totally committed and devoted to what you’re doing. I think most entrepreneurs give up way too soon, which may be the reason why we hear such frightening and disappointing statistics around startups and their success rates.
I also think it’s important to beam out positive energy in every direction and help anyone you can, even if you feel you haven’t quite “made it” yet. The more you give, the more you receive, and life just feels better when you’re having a positive effect on other people.
Where do you see the future of your business going?
I’d love to see my skirts in stores in the coming months, and I can’t wait to expand on the designs. I also hope to have my own storefront someday, and would love to start a foundation to assist young women in chasing their dreams.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned while starting your own company? What words of wisdom do you have for other young women aspiring to be designers?
Patience. I’m a fast-paced, impatient person by nature, and I like to see things happening quickly. Especially being of this time, everyone wants instant-gratification with the efforts they put out into the world, but I learned very quickly that this just isn’t possible when it comes to starting your own business.
For other young women starting their own business, whether in design or not, know that it will likely take longer than you think. You will experience letdowns, but continue persevering and remind yourself that the startup phase is an important process. So enjoy every second of it!
Describe for us a typical day in the office is for you.
I work from my home studio, and I like to ensure my days are well-balanced, so I’m usually doing a variety of things. Everyday is different for me, but there’s usually a combination of writing, taking photos, editing, and working on social media in each one. And, when I’m feeling restless, I take a break to do yoga, have tea with a friend, or just go for a walk on the beach.
How do you bloom in authentic beauty?
Well, I think you stated it right there! I honestly feel the most beautiful thing in the world is authenticity, so for me that means always being myself in social settings and always being true to myself when I’m making decisions.
And of course dream-chasing is an awesome way to bloom too!
You can pre-order and see more of Alexa's gorgeous collection at www.sutieskirts.com. Be sure to to follow both Sutie Skirts and EnRose on instagram as we have some exciting news in store for our readers. Thank you Alexis for chatting with us. We adore your elegant and flirty skirts, and we're so excited to see your line bloom!
Images by: allyfotografymediaco and Alaina Michelle Photography