ABOUT THE COMPANY
AVIE, based in Leeds, was founded by experienced creative director Sonya Bachra-Byrne after 20 years in the fashion industry.
AVIE’s concept is ‘luxury slow fashion’ for creative professionals and products are stocked in independent boutiques in Leeds and London, in addition to featuring on luxury online retailers in the UK and Germany.
AVIE was launched by Sonya and her husband Liam in February 2019. Having worked in Australia, Denmark, the US and Spain, the pair set up the business close to home in Yorkshire, with the aim of using the knowledge they had built up through their experiences in the fashion industry and turning it into a brand which fills a gap in the market.
“I wanted to create pieces for women in senior positions who want to look stylish in something that can be worn from desk to dinner with equal impact,” Sonya said.
“In my own professional life, I found it challenging to find versatile items that worked in the office and for after-work events, so that’s where the inspiration comes from. Luxury slow fashion is a concept that relates to being more conscious about buying and is eco-friendly, as the idea is that you can get longer wear out of clothes due to their elevated quality and longevity.”
Sonya knew that if her business was going to establish itself as a producer of high-end luxury slow fashion for creative professionals, the branding, website and, most importantly, the product photography would have to be very polished.
“If you are based in London, there are lots of available studios which have the right equipment and lighting to give you the shots you want as a luxury fashion brand,” she said. “But I found that I was struggling to find a suitable photography studio in Yorkshire which could meet my needs.
“I wanted to have the flexibility to shoot on location rather than being restricted to a studio, so I needed my own photography equipment to get those creative high-end shots to be able to stand out from the competition.”
AVIE was awarded a £2300 grant from AD:VENTURE, which was used to purchase high-quality photography equipment. Since then, Sonya has been able to shoot on location, giving her unlimited creative freedom for beautiful visuals for her ad campaigns, social media content and brand imagery.
“Using the new equipment gave me a competitive edge that allowed a start-up business like AVIE seem very polished and established from the get-go, which is vital in the fashion industry,” Sonya said.
Due to the new high-quality product photography, AVIE secured accounts with The Mews, which has a store in Roundhay in Leeds; with UK-based online fashion retailer Brookes and Sharpe, and was also invited to sell through exclusive German online site STAIY.
The elevated visual identity for AVIE also resulted in being invited to exhibit at the prestigious Paris Fashion Week, where Sonya presented AVIE’s 2020 collection.
“We were delighted with the feedback we got from Paris, and we’re following up new business leads from people who showed interest in our products,” Sonya said.
“Being able to showcase our work at such a world-renowned event has meant that our brand has caught the attention of magazines, stylists and celebrities from across the globe, which can only be a good thing.”
The company also secured two industry awards in its first year of trading, being recognised as ‘One to watch for 2019’ by Drapers, a leading industry fashion body, and being named ‘Emerging Brand of 2019’ in the Drapers Independent Awards.
The AD:VENTURE grant has meant that AVIE established itself as a high-end fashion brand after just one year in business.
“To any entrepreneurs who are thinking of applying for financial support, or who just need advice from an expert, I’d highly recommend AD:VENTURE. I’d say it’s important to have an idea of what you want to achieve before you contact the programme for the support, and then their advisors can steer you in the right direction,” said Sonya.
As well as providing the grant for photography equipment, AD:VENTURE also helped ensure Sonya and Liam were taking advantage of all the support that was available.
“Because I had been living in Australia, when I returned to the UK I was completely out of the loop in terms of knowing what support was out there, so AD:VENTURE were invaluable for helping us get the business off the ground. The grant funding is only a small part of the support – they offer so much more,” Sonya said.
“It’s great to be able to share ideas and work out what the best course of action is for you and your business.”
To find out more about AVIE, visit https://avie-studio.com