October’s – ‘The Renegade Issue’ – Download Now

Nadja Axarlis founded / FAZ /  from a desire to create an elegant and ethical alternative to fur-produced fashion.

What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?

I always wash my face with Avène Thermal Spray and then apply serums from Biologique Recherche. I hydrate by drinking a large glass of warm water and prepping breakfast for the kids. After this, I have my beloved cup of coffee.

What is the DNA of the brand?

Timeless outerwear pieces. Quality materials, quality design and quality craftsmanship.

The brand is now created in a former furrier – is this an incredible coincidence?

I believe everything happens for a reason. I have been wanting to launch something very high-end and meeting these people was something that came to me at the right moment! We became a family since and thousands of hand-crafted coats later we have never received a complaint in terms of product quality. It is expensive to produce in Paris, but I prefer having an impeccable product and no sur-plus in terms of stock.

Faz not Fur founder

How did you know it was the right time to launch /FAZ/ and how did your previous role as a buyer support your skillset in doing so?

Faux fur was already a focus in 2017 when I launched the brand and researched the market, I noticed that no brands were producing anything that looked ‘real’ so there was a gap in the market to do so. The idea initially came while talking with friends in the industry who loved the look and feel of real fur but for ethical reasons were no longer wearing it. Being a Fashion Buyer certainly helped me in forming the first collection and consolidating the initial focus for the brand which was to keep it small, keep it commercial, keep it timeless. I wanted to ensure the brand appealed to every age and demographic of woman. Being a Buyer also helped to understand how to approach the Buyers from the other side, as a Salesperson as I knew what they would be looking for. I was also lucky enough to have a great partner at home for support, an essential to the success of your project when you have a toddler and a baby at home.

How important was the perfect fabrication to you and how long did it take to refine this?

I’m inspired by timeless fur designs and I use the same finishing such as hooks, velvet pockets and precious lining. Bets of all, we work with real fur sewing machines which aren’t something anyone has done before, and it is in our eyes a great way to maintain a skillset without the downside of producing real fur coats.

Do you feel more drawn to the creative or the business side of the brand and how have you grown the team to support this?

Of course, I love the creative part of the business. Going to Paris and working with the patternmaker and sample makers is so exciting. I normally go to Paris for 2-3 days at a time and we work on new ideas, make new samples and modify these ideas until they form the final design. We work the samples until they are perfect.

The business side is sales-focused and that is very different. There is a B2B (business to business) part and B2C (business to customer) within the winter season. Preparing the line sheets, pricing lists, organizing showrooms and having Buyers’ appointments is also very exciting.

What has been the biggest hurdle since launching a new brand and how did you navigate this?

In the beginning, you do everything alone. I launched when I was still breastfeeding my second child and didn’t get sleep. The business took off pretty fast and I was able to get on board some admin assistants and also hire a dedicated marketing agency for support.
With time, the company has grown, and I’ve been able to delegate more so I can focus on the creative side.

Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path?
I don’t honestly, my experience guides and mentors me. We learn how to organise ourselves and how to set priorities better each season. I the difference between how I started out and where we stand now as a brand and I’m very proud of the growth.

Which piece is your signature which drives sales season after season?

The Swinger jacket and Skate Moss coat are two pieces that always drive sales. These are two completely different styles but sell equally each season which is why they are part of the continuity collection of the brand, we call them our Classics. My Buying experience taught me that when something sells, you keep it. It also taught me to keep the collection small, focused on one product, maintain a commercial viewpoint and add one or two new eye-catching pieces each season.

Faz not Fur

You now partner with the leading e-commerce sites globally- how did this process begin and did scaling the business bring with it any new challenges?

They ordered hundreds of pieces in only one colour sometimes. These are serious businesses where the logistics and packaging have to be perfect. Deliveries for his level of the brand cannot be delayed by even one day. As they are run with precision and we need to meet these expectations. We receive a weekly sell-through report, and I am always so excited to see how many pieces per style or which colour has sold that week in which markets. This helps me know what styles work and helps me stock the correct styles for our /FAZ/ e-commerce store.

How has social media affected the business and which platform has been most useful?

I am a bit “renegade” about social media honestly. I believe it is a nice business card but my whole B2B business until now has happened because of the product per se. There is a demand for faux fur.

Gifting social influencers brought us more visibility, new followers and nice images, however, it, did not bring new businesses or much in terms of direct sales. We own the domain www.fauxfur.com so it is self-explanatory. Much has happened also after we got /FAZ/ onto NET A PORTER. Buyers see the brand there and they probably check our website or our Instagram and contact us directly for a collaboration.

What advice would you give to your younger self starting out?

Don’t stress so much! Have trust and be patient. But then again…pressure keeps me going!

This is The Renegade Issue, and we see thinking outside the box as a positive thing. Who for you is a renegade or what for you embodies this approach to life?

You should make sure you can say one day that you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.

October’s – ‘The Renegade Issue’ – Download Now

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Images: Supplied