Meet the Manchester company guiding you the right way into the latex fashion world: Eustratia.
Eustratia Founder and Designer Stacey Mavrou talks branding, marketing, and how she and her company runs.
BRIAN GRAY: Let’s start from the beginning, Stacey. Give us a brief history of Eustratia, your background, and motivation for going into business.
STACEY MAVROU: I first encountered latex clothes in Camden in 2004. I was initially intrigued by the seams without stitching and the fascination grew from there. I have always seen fashion as a powerful mode of self-expression and I wanted to offer people an aesthetic I didn’t see anywhere else. I guess I identified that need through an inability to find the perfect outfit for myself, I wanted something that defined me completely and I wanted to give others to be able to experience that too.
Why did you settle on Eustratia as the name? What does it signify?
The name is a translation of the first part of my (Greek) name (pronounced in Greek, Efstratia), meaning the “good” or “right” way in regards to the path that you take. I inherited the name from my grandmother who was a seamstress and the first person to introduce me to the world of fashion.
As an existing name, there are others who use it on social media, so I like to make the brand easier to identify by adding _fashion.
And what do you see as the brand vision and brand essence of Eustratia?
The core principle behind the brand is the balance between opposites. I enjoy contrasting elements and love to explore the dynamics between them. After years of experimentation, I think I have reached a point where the balance is right and the result harmonious.
This has led to a slight shift in direction for the brand in the last year. Instead of creating a new and elaborate collection each season, I now offer a carefully curated range of customisable basics, featuring my signature latex-lace, alongside unique, seasonal motifs and items. I still want to enable customers to create an outfit that defines them, but I have used my years in the industry to streamline the process and offer options that resonate with my customers.
What defines your typical Eustratia Fashion customer, and what three adjectives would you want your customers to associate with your brand?
I’m not sure if you could call Eustratia customers “typical” but I would probably define the main customer type as a party girl or performer. I make things for men on occasion, but the majority of my customers are female. They want something to wear to a club or event that defines them as a person but also works in a busy environment; something striking yet comfortable, sexy but not vulgar, fashionable and simultaneously unique.
Any of the above adjectives would do: I would be more interested to hear what they would use without my prompting!
The UK is home to more than a few highly renowned latex fetish / lingerie designers. What do you think differentiates yourself from them?
I do believe we have the latex designers with the best taste here in the UK and there is certainly something for everyone. In the past, I would have said that it was my unique combination of materials and techniques that set me apart, (since I started creating my first official collection in 2010, I have used combinations of latex with lace, guipure, mesh and other fabrics, chain mail, studs, crystals, perspex and taxidermy) but as these are no longer unique to my brand, I would now say that what differentiates me, is the balance between the contrasting elements in my work and ability to look inwards when I create, instead of concerning myself with what other people are creating or comparing myself to them.
A well-positioned company seeks to ‘own’ one word in the minds of consumers (i.e. Volvo and ‘safety’). What would be yours?
Good marketing is important for any company, not only to thrive but just to survive. What have been your key marketing learning points and observations so far?
Be consistent, overreaching to do something big is pointless if you can’t keep it up.
If you could get another adult brand (whether lingerie, sex toys, fetishwear, pleasure products, BDSM equipment or other) involved in a joint marketing campaign or event with yourself, who would it be and why?
I really don’t think I would collaborate with an adult brand as I don’t really consider myself one, I like to walk that fine line between fetish and fashion. I am honoured if people find pleasure in my clothes and I don’t think there should be stigma attached to that but I wouldn’t want to force a certain image onto anyone who sees them differently.
You studied Fashion Design and Technology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Hindsight is always a great thing, but to what extent has it prepared you as a commercial designer, but also as a marketer and businesswoman?
I think doing such a broad course was useful and gave a more spherical view of the industry on the whole and the different positions one could go into. However, as someone whose mind was already made up, I’m not sure I acquired any knowledge could easily be impelled while running my own business. For example, I wouldn’t say I knew much at all about marketing as a graduate, despite doing well on that particular module.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve been given or read somewhere, and from whom?
Be consistent. I’m sure I’ve read that everywhere but it really is integral. People have short memories and you have to constantly remind them of your existence.
Time is our most precious commodity, especially for entrepreneurs. How do you maximise yours, and what tips have you picked up along the way?
Time management has been an issue for me in the past , as a young designer, full of enthusiasm to create and be involved in new projects, it’s easy to take on too much and in turn, to neglect the more boring but essential business admin. I’ve found that routine works best for me, I have specific tasks assigned to each day of the week and a certain amount of hours assigned to making each day, to stop it taking over my life!
And what does the next twelve months hold in store for Eustratia?
At the moment, I’m just focusing on fine-tuning the business side of things. I’m having a break from fashion shows and stalls and even large-scale photoshoots, which were previously a priority of mine. Although I love defining and sharing my vision and the stories that inspire my work, I felt the need to focus more on the actual ordering process of the garments and make it easier for people to just order a piece they are 100% sure about without having to make contact first. I answer all my messages myself and I’m always happy to make suggestions and alternations to suit each individual, but I’m aware that not everyone likes to shop that way.
Thanks Stacey! Here’s hoping you’re similarly guided to bigger and even better fortunes on your journey.
ARE YOU AN AMBITIOUS, MARKETING-LED, COMPANY IN THE SEX TOY, LINGERIE, FETISHWEAR AND EQUIPMENT OR DATING / EVENTS SECTORS?
If you’d like to be interviewed about your entrepreneurial journey and associated marketing issues that will be interesting to the Lascivious Marketing web fraternity, then get in touch!
Until next time!