Holiday Shopping Meets Budgeting Strategies with Fashion Designer, Marina Curuvija
I believe that the key challenge is establishing the importance of resisting impulsive purchases and redirecting the focus to actual needs.
That little voice in your head that keeps repeating treat yourself in a cheery, enticing tone isn’t lying to you. You should, indeed, treat yourself. It is the holidays, after all! After the year we’ve all had, with the hyperinflation and the prices of even the most basic necessities skyrocketing, letting loose and falling victim to a little retail therapy never hurt nobody.
However, there is a smarter way to go about your holiday shopping, which is both enjoyable and long-term beneficial. Instead of letting the latest Instagram trend or the viral fast-fashion piece become the objective of your holiday fashion hunt, let’s embrace the so-called capsule wardrobe idea. A capsule wardrobe is essentially based on staple pieces that offer maximum versatility so you can use them in numerous combinations. Investing in some quality pieces that will withstand the winds of hyperproduction and short-lived trends might just be the best way to crack the code.
With that idea in mind, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Marina Curuvija, a young Serbian designer and the owner of a fashion brand called Svemogucstvo (which translates to omnipotence). Marina’s revolutionary vision marries art and fashion into one, creating staple pieces that each tell unique stories. While Marina’s brand has an oh-so-clear message, what struck me the most is how each clothing item has a life of its own yet still perfectly blends into the brand’s overall image. Let’s discover how holiday shopping is perceived from the standpoint of a small business owner in the fast-paced, turbulent world of fashion.
Q: Tell us more about the idea behind the Svemogucstvo [omnipotence] brand and its journey so far.
A: At the beginning of January 2019, the brand existed only as an idea and a hobby, gradually developing into a passionate project. For the first two years, I perceived this vision as a personal expression in the world of fashion and art until I noticed enthusiastic feedback from people two years ago.
That is when I realized it was time to transform this passion into a business I love. My love for fashion, design, and art resulted from an array of interests, especially after getting a degree in interior design. People close to me would often suggest that I should focus on a single direction, insisting that simultaneously acting in multiple spheres is extremely challenging.
This brand rose as a form of rebellion to those words; it embodies my determination to show that it is possible to explore different artistic directions successfully. With a focus on clothing items and a vision developing in numerous other formats, Svemogucstvo represents a brand comprising a plethora of emotions and thoughts, following a story of irony and love. We will celebrate our fifth anniversary in January, marking the beginning of an exciting new chapter - and I couldn’t be more excited about everything that awaits.
Q: As the owner of a fashion brand in Serbia, can you pinpoint some of the challenges you’re facing, especially nearing the end of the year when the holiday shopping craze takes over? What advice would you give to small business owners as far as those challenges are concerned?
A: Since the brand Svemogucstvo follows an authentic path, independent of short-lived trends and guided by its own heart, staying true to those beliefs is challenging. As the brand founder, I tend to avoid aggressive marketing strategies and campaigns, steering clear of the overall hype - especially during the holiday season.
I believe that the key challenge is establishing the importance of resisting impulsive purchases and redirecting the focus to actual needs. My goal is to spread the word about the importance of selecting produce that provides real value and satisfies the specific needs of every individual. Implementing these values is quite challenging, especially for small brands on the rise, such as Svemogucstvo.
Q: In a world of hyperproduction and fast fashion, what is your stance as a customer now that you have your own brand? What is your go-to strategy for smart holiday shopping?
A: Versatility and mindfulness about real needs are key, in my opinion. I choose multi-purpose clothes, allowing me to create different combinations. I especially support the second-hand culture and local brands, acknowledging the importance of supporting my community. Unlike my younger self, I pay great attention to each purchase, having long-term satisfaction in mind - rather than a temporary thrill.
The Subtle Art of Building a Capsule Wardrobe
Defy fast-fashion temptations. Yes, it will be challenging, but it will be worth it at the end of the day. Trends change so quickly that trendy, purposeless pieces lose their value in a matter of months.
Treat your wardrobe as an investment. Let’s start taking fashion expenses a bit more seriously. You don’t have to jeopardize your style, but a wiser approach would be to select quality staple pieces that can be dressed up and down, instead of seasonal trendy clothes.
Invest in staple wardrobe pieces: Start with basics that can go with pretty much every outfit. Prioritize versatility and long-term satisfaction rather than temporary desires. Aim for quality rather than viral designs. Look beyond the label, and don’t fall into high-end, ego-boosting designer traps.
Allow yourself a few “slips” here and there: Budgeting doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to take away from your personality and style. Treat yourself to statement pieces that truly deserve a spot in your closet while still considering the bigger picture.
Avoid seasonal shopping as much as possible: Building your summer wardrobe in the wintertime may seem counterintuitive, but it is actually one of the oldest tricks in the books of savvy shoppers. There is a vast gap between the season and off-season retail prices, so why not take advantage and grab some essentials for next year?
Q: Which brand promotion strategies have been the most fruitful for you, especially at the peak of the holiday shopping fever?
A: As a result of my meticulous analysis, as well as the application of different marketing strategies, I prefer those that are subtle, genuine, and unassertive. A versatile approach that promotes sincerity, quality, and sharing values that I truly feel and live represents the core of my professional practice.
Even though this approach may result in slow-paced financial progress, the importance of patience and authenticity holds a special place in my heart. I believe that sustainable growth is possible by staying true to your own values and providing an authentic experience to your target audience.
Q: How hard is it to survive and stand out as a local brand in a vast sea of others? What is your advice to future fashion entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
A: Keywords such as patience, honesty, playfulness, innovation, bravery, consistency, and perseverance represent the foundation of achieving small goals that accumulate over time and eventually become a wholesome unity. My advice for this and any other business is to approach them through continuous play, experimenting, and application of innovative solutions.
A clear identity and vision are vital to building an authentic connection with your audience. Building a brand and recognition usually requires much time, effort, and a few pounding headaches here and there. However, you can build a successful local brand with patience, commitment, and detailed planning. Everything is possible as long as you believe and stay persistent.
Q: Tell our readers a little bit more about your exciting plans for this holiday season and the upcoming year.
A: I am excited to announce the launch of two extraordinary campaigns we’ve carefully prepared with our outstanding, cherry-picked team for the end of this year and the beginning of next year. These campaigns represent an introduction to a new chapter of the brand Svemogucstvo, titled Everything is in Your Hands.
Our plans for next year involve creating an inspirational collaboration with a talented costume designer and stage designer, Una Jankov, who is currently building her creative experience in Berlin. We will focus on exploring the world of upcycling and recycling in the fashion industry, intending to lead our brand towards sustainability. I am looking forward to meticulous research and the exchange of knowledge and ideas on the international market, which will further enrich our professional experience.
Every good shopping strategy starts with the question Do I really need this? Staying true to your capsule wardrobe vision and resisting the holiday shopping craze will pay off in the long run, even though it may initially seem pointless. The core idea of smart holiday shopping for clothes is to put quality first while having versatility and personal style in mind.
Are you reaching for a specific item just because it has flooded your Instagram feed, or is it truly a representation of your individual fashion sense? Needless to say, you also want to do your research and catch those quality items on holiday discounts. Use those discount codes, take advantage of end-of-year sales, and invest your money wisely!