Club Woman. member Brittany Vener is one half of Terra Dea, an Australian made luxury loungewear label.
We talk to Britt about dreaming, finding the right (ethical) materials and what she's listening to right now.
Q1: In your own words, please tell us what you do and how it came to be…
I’m co-creator of luxury loungewear label - Terra Dea!
Dominique and I dreamt up our little label whilst studying a diploma of fashion design a little while back. We were working on an assignment where we had to create our own repeat pattern print for some swimwear that we had to design. Dom brought in this beautiful mimosa print painting that she and her mum had worked on together and I just fell in love. It’s pretty special! Pretty much instantly I had envisioned the print as a bodysuit made from organic jersey and whilst we were dreaming out loud - we just had a ‘let’s do it’ moment!. So I guess our Belle bodysuit was born!
It was about 12 months in the making as we were both juggling study/work/life, but just last month we launched our Signature Collection.
Q2: Was your current business always on the cards or did you have other dreams growing up?
Not necessarily… being a Pisces, there’s always a LOT of dreaming going on for me haha!
However obviously I knew fashion was something I wanted to pursue, which is what brought Dom and I together. I just didn’t quite know where I wanted that to take me until we came up with our concept for Terra Dea.
Q3: What inspired you to start your business?
We shared a combined vision to fill a gap in our personal wardrobes. I was looking for comfortable, versatile intimates to wear in the bedroom and I didn’t want to compromise on style or ethics. Dom and I loved supporting small, slow fashion labels and when we envisioned our garments we just realised, we could create something really beautiful with them! So I guess we were inspired by all of the wonderfully creative women we were admiring - with their small businesses that were making a difference to the fashion industry by raising the standard!
Q4: How did you navigate this process and break into the industry?
Luckily for us, we were already immersed in the skills and tools that were required to create patterns etc etc! So we were able to get most of that groundwork covered ourselves. It was a very, very slow process. Which looking back I think we’re quite grateful for. The brand evolved quite a bit over that time and it meant that when it came to launching the business, we knew exactly who we were. We’ve just been using social media to build our brand presence over time.
Q5: How did you source the right materials and manufacturers?
We spent a lot of time researching fabric manufacturers and found it very tricky to navigate! Almost all textiles are manufactured overseas and it can be so difficult to make decisions when you aren’t there to see and feel. Luckily we came across a wonderful company in Melbourne that offered digital printing on a range of different fabrics and one of their organic options was a cotton jersey. This fabric is actually knitted in Melbourne as well! We were pretty excited about that. So we ordered a little bit of fabric, whipped up some samples ourselves and fell in love!
At that stage we were planning on sewing the garments ourselves… however after making our sample pieces we came to the conclusion that sewing and constructing garments is not our forte!
That’s when we reached out to Amy, a local woman who was recommended to us by a friend. Everything just fell into place from there and we feel so lucky to be able to have our garments made with so much love, here on the Sunshine Coast.
Q6: Did you find the right materials and manufacturers limiting or a driver for your creative design and product development process?
We definitely found it limiting - however we needed to start quite small as we were just self funding the business week by week. So I guess it wasn’t really that challenging for us because we had motive to do as much of the design process ourselves and only outsourced at the very end. We were just grateful to be able to find both fabric and garment manufacturers quite local to us!
Q7: How do you describe your style and how do you stay true to this?
I think I’d say minimal femininity is our style. We just want our pieces to be versatile wardrobe staples, that we can look and feel beautiful in.
At Terra Dea we value the slow fashion movement. So by designing pieces that we truly believe will stand the test of time in our own wardrobes, we are staying true to our style and brand ethos.
Q8: How do you want your customers to feel when they are using your pieces?
Confident, creative and carefree! Oh, and comfortable of course.
Q9: Who, or what are you listening to or reading right now?
Im listening to ‘Your money or your life’ By Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. Both Dom and I are actually haha!
Last year was a big year for us both working to launch Terra Dea. So I guess as much as we understand having our own label is going to be a lot of work - we want to prioritise life and downtime as well. Without that it’s really hard to be creative and the best version of yourself.
Q10: What advice would you impart on the next generation of women, and women in business?
Follow your intuition!
I could not possibly be any more cliche right now if I tried - but honestly, just believe in yourself. Easier said than done, but if you truly feel that you have something worth pursuing - you should pursue it. No matter how long that takes.