Ann-Sophie Hasslinger - Owner of Solana Handmade
What is your company all about?
Solana Handmade is a slow made-to-order fashion brand based in Barcelona. I try to work with sustainable fabrics, which I get from different places in Barcelona. For example, from the local markets here in Barcelona.
Why did you choose to set up a business in Barcelona?
I think what inspires me most in Barcelona is the weather, the architecture and the people here. I moved to Barcelona for 3 months to start with but it started feeling like home so quickly that I decided to stay here. I started my business in Germany but now moved it to Barcelona, which was luckily possible because I sell online and can take my sewing machines with me wherever I go.
How did you come up with the idea/concept for your business?
I started sewing and after a while I had so many pieces for myself that I thought, maybe I should sell some of these pieces. I started selling on Vinted and Depop and after a while I thought of selling it through Instagram. Furthermore, I followed a French brand which introduced me to the made-to-order concept and they inspired me to start a clothing brand.
Ann-Sophie, How do you market your business and which strategies have been the most successful?
Mostly on TikTok & Instagram. I don’t have a particular strategy, I try to find a good balance of posting behind the scenes to take the customers with me on the journey of making their orders but also post photos and videos of my designs out and about in the city. I never plan any posts ahead but instead post whenever I feel like it, I want it to be as organic as possible.
How do you build a successful customer base in Barcelona?
The little things, notes in the packaging, personal notes, reply to all messages/comments, nice packaging and ask if customers are satisfied with their order. I like to get feedback from customers and to see them happy in my clothes.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in starting their own business?
Don’t overthink it and don’t wait for the perfect timing. When you sell something, you know it is worth the price. Just start, everything you haven’t found out yet, you will find it out during your way. Just dive in the deep.