Home Entrepreneurship Porscia Yeganeh- Shaking Up The Fashion Industry

Porscia Yeganeh- Shaking Up The Fashion Industry

by Keerat

Porscia Yeganeh

Article By Ninder Johal

 

A quick glance at the company website which bears her name instantly strikes you as different. The design of both the products and their pricing is more than a hint at exclusivity. At the helm is the impressive and highly driven Porscia Yeganeh. An entrepreneur whose sole mission is to produce the ‘best luxury handbags, belts, and wallets’.

With prices into their thousands of euros and with artisan craftwork at its heart, this lady is giving the traditional luxury brands a ‘run for their money’. She sells all her products direct to the consumer and has experienced a record year during COVID. By eschewing traditional high-end retailers and by selling direct, her distribution strategy led to record turnover and profits (the best ever she admits) during a global shutdown.

 

Why eschew retailers who are queuing to take her products?

‘I wanted my products to be exclusive and in this discerning marketplace where every customer wants to be treated individually how could we risk a retailer not adhering to our higher standards.’

By communicating directly with her customers, not only is she able to tailor and personalise all her products but this has also resulted a in a massive social media following especially on Instagram which has in excess of 100,000 followers.

 

 

‘It allows us to stay close with our customers – our customers know what they want – they are discerning, and they want a direct relationship with the brand – that was not just possible if we delegated that relationship to the retailer. And of course, during COVID when all the retailers were either shut or operating under restrictions, we had a clear road ahead of and were able to flourish.’

 

So, who is this confident and laser sharp entrepreneur known as Porscia Yeganeh?

Born in Iran and someone who has travelled widely and has lived in Greece, Turkey, \ Canada and now in Italy – she is clearly a product of a global marketplace that understands the world with a different lens.

‘I was born in Iran to Iranian parents. We left for Turkey after the revolution. Moving to Turkey allowed me to experience things that I was not allowed to in Iran. I started to find my voice, my freedom. I spent more of my childhood in Greece where my interest in sewing and fashion design started to take flight. Once I emmigrated to Canada, I came into my own.

My first stroke of luck was a sponsorship by Vancouver Fashion Week. I had no formal fashion education, but I showcased the outfits I had made myself for school in sewing class. The show received international media attention and brought me my first buying request from large North American retailers.

In 2003, PORSCIA YEGANEH and the Forever Logo were born. I felt at home in Canada and stayed for seventeen years. Still, I felt something was missing. I also wasn’t convinced that fashion design was the right career path—that is, until doors opened in Italy—the land of luxury.

By the time I had seen the country with a renewed spirit and the intention of settling there, it was clear fashion was my calling and what my approach to design would be—and that’s no-shortcuts-taken, All Made in Italy production. In fact, sometimes I feel like my unique brand aesthetic was written in the stars for me, since my last name, “Yeganeh” is a Farsi word that means “niche” or “one-of-a-kind.”

 

You have said you don’t particularly like the fashion industry and your education was not geared towards this industry – what then attracted you to fashion design?

‘I have never been a fan of the fashion industry because I find it to be superficial. This has only become more pronounced with social media. People get dressed up just for media attention and internet “likes.” It made it challenging for me to connect to the industry and people. My passion is in designing for tastemakers and visionary ladies–not trend-followers. I’ve also never enjoyed fashion shows. There was always a voice in my head saying, “You are cheating yourself if you follow trends just because everyone else does.”

 

It’s so important to me to be unique. That’s why I made sure my brand broke barriers and wasn’t on the shelf of every department store. If I didn’t have these feelings and think outside the box, my brand would definitely not be the success it’s become.’ As with most successful entrepreneurs, it always starts with the solving of a problem. Porscia’s problem was finding a high-quality bag that was good to look at whilst also being highly functional.

‘I was simply looking to treat myself.’ She explains ‘I was ready to make an investment in a beautiful luxury handbag that could stand the test of time. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Honestly, the styles I saw on shelves were basic and dull. They lacked compartments to carry my phone, files, and other essentials I always carry with me. Don’t even get me started on the quality of the hardware—so flimsy! Not a good shopping experience. But it helped me see what was missing.

The world didn’t need another everyday fashion brand, but it could use a brand that was doing things differently and understood a woman’s desires. I decided to become that brand that could serve stylish, passionate, powerful women everywhere’. She has avoided fashion shows because of her belief in individuality. You are cheating yourself if you follow trends just because everyone else does.

‘I mentioned before that the luxury brands I saw weren’t doing anything special—and that makes them easy to knock off. Fakes have become a huge market. I knew if I was going to do this right, I had to have distinct details and authentic customer promises. I challenged myself to create a special product and brand experience that could not be replicated.’ She prides on the first ever manufacturing label to read and deliver on “All Made in Italy” badge.

 

‘We are the only brand that uses gleaming, featherweight 3-D hardware on leather goods. These metal accents and intricately crafted motifs are highly personalized, precious details made by hand carving. The production foregoes the use of a standard mould and brings a new dimension to an accessory’s texture and lustre. Our designs have a cultural distinction thanks to the quilting that resembles the architectural broken walls of the Roman Colosseum and turns a classic handbag into an iconic treasure’.

 

 

Such is her faith in her products that she offers a ‘forever warranty’ on all her leather products’. Now that is confidence for you. She continues to describe in detail the rationale behind reducing the threat of counterfeiting. ‘We sculpted bags in a Trapeze silhouette— an incredibly difficult design to copy since it’s completed in two stages. Just like building a house, we first construct the silhouette out of special blocks which remain inside the bag and give it that glamorous statue looks. Then we apply the calf leather and its glistening hardware details—including the logo spelled out with 14 individual, hand placed letters. It’s not what you’ve come to expect from luxury brand. It’s beauty that’s beyond, quality you can touch.’

 

And how did COVID change the dynamics of consumer buying behaviour?

‘Yes, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way consumers shop and live life. People are becoming more aware of the negative impact of mass production and consumption and how big of a player the fashion world is. Transitory fashion fads and the demands for increasingly fast-paced manufacturing contribute to bigger issues within the industry, such as excessive waste, air pollution, low pay for factory workers and reprehensible working conditions. This has encouraged a movement toward slow fashion rooted in “buy less, buy value” principles that are better for customers, employees, and the planet.

This is why I personally ask suppliers to meet strict social, environmental, and qualitative standards. I recognize the value of conscious creation and sustainability. At the same time, I understand the needs of modern ladies who want to look and feel beautiful and chic. Thanks to blockchain technology, I can now prove my supply chain origins. Blockchain offers a range of other benefits, including enhanced security, greater transparency, increased efficiency, advanced traceability, and reduced costs. Holding the ‘All made in Italy’ certification requires passing checks on the production cycle, as well as meeting parameters required by Italian legislation.

It guarantees the authenticity of our promise by registering every part of a style’s development on the blockchain ledger. Finally, you can learn verified information about our step-by-step process with a QR code scan on each product. I think you’re going to like what you see’.

 

All very compelling stuff but is it not a crowded place with much more established players with larger marketing budgets? Is she destined to struggle despite the multimillion-dollar turnover?

Porscia retorts with a number of observations. Firstly, she argues that brands are over exposed even more so as they widen their distribution channels and make their products more accessible. She contends that social media has exacerbated the problem as a result of influencers sharing their favourite luxury items and as a result many brands are now losing their exclusivity. She further argues that… ‘This mass production contradicts the very definition of luxury. As a result, well-known corporations suffer under the eyes of millions, as they desperately try to return to their luxury roots of rarity and unattainability only to find it may be too late.

 

In an attempt to stave off further damage, many traditional luxury brands have begun to limit bag purchases to retain their exclusivity and desirability. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and, while this may be true, it doesn’t bode well for luxury brands. In fact, there isn’t much else that cheapens a brand more than counterfeiters, which have become a force luxury brand must reckon with.

According to Harvard Business Review, fake luxury merchandise accounts for 60% to 70% of the estimated $4.5 trillion in total fake trades. However, counterfeiters do not occur by accident. When luxury brands outsource manufacturing and focus too heavily on their name and logo, counterfeiters can easily imitate these styles, unbeknownst to the average consumer. Counterfeiters would not be able to compete if luxury brands emphasized important matters instead’. She argues that there is a requirement for a personalized experience for consumers especially at the luxury end.

One of the lost advantages of traditional luxury she argues is cultivating an unforgettable experience. She further argues that luxury consumers desire unique designs that are not easily accessible to the masses. Highly customized items are nearly impossible to replicate, making them much more valuable. Forever Luxury guarantees originality and exclusivity – another attribute forgotten in traditional luxury. Thirdly, there is the issue of craftsmanship and quality.

In a world where instant gratification is at its peak, many people expect their needs and desires to be met immediately. Unfortunately, such a mindset shift has led to the rise of fast fashion, a business model that sacrifices quality for affordability and accessibility. Porscia points to other luxury brands such as certain automotive manufacturers whose key selling proposition is the high degree of craftsmanship and the associated quality that differentiates them from the competition and thus attract a premium price.

Finally, whilst being individualistic and having exemplary customer service with a high degree of quality is very laudable – but does not make it difficult to scale? ‘As a luxury products producer, I am only interested in quality and superior customer service. I am not interested in scale but in producing world class products. We have exciting new products in the pipeline, and I will only be happy if my customers continue to enjoy our products.

 

 

Albeit we have a small and talented team, we are already a multi million dollar business with plenty of growth available to us as our products travel very easily globally. But we want to be known as the best of the very best and not being big for the sake of it’. Watch this space…

related posts