Barbara Potts, 23 years old, Copenhagen. Designer, co-founder and co-owner of Saks Potts.
I’m half of the dynamic duo behind Saks Potts, a clothing brand I started with my childhood friend Cathrine Saks four years ago. After high school I did a bunch of creative projects, especially in print and magazines, before I found out that I’d rather create myself, not write about creators. Cathrine and I realized that no one made accessible, colorful furs, so we went out on a limb and launched Saks Potts with a collection made up of one style in four different colors.
Our first trade show was the now defunct Gallery Trade Fair in Forum as part of Copenhagen Fashion Week. We didn’t know the first thing about going to trade shows and were placed at this tiny booth in the furthest corner, right next to the toilets. We had no meetings lined up and we didn’t receive a single order, but we got a lot of publicity. People were curious about these two young girls who were trying to make it in the fur business. Today, Saks Potts is represented in some of our favourite stores, so it turned out alright despite the bumpy start.
On routines and rituals
Both Cathrine and I are studying alongside running Saks Potts. I’m currently finishing my BA in Art History, trying my best to balance the two things. This also means that the average day doesn’t exist in my life. In some periods I’m barely never home because of travels, trade shows, fashion fairs and so on.
I do like to get every day off to a good start. To me, this means the comfort of my bathrobe, a nice, slow breakfast and one or two cups of hot chocolate. I consume a lot of hot chocolate since I don’t drink coffee. I guess my mornings are the closest I get to having an everyday ritual.
On the difference between work and play
I do my best to separate the two things, but it’s not easy when your work doesn’t abide to normal hours. I firmly believe that it’s important to put work aside and focus on other things and engage in other conversations outside of the fashion bubble. Good ideas and creative input also occur outside the office. I do have to admit that I, very annoyingly, rarely feel completely off work.
On the process
It’s a boring and very low-practice thing, but if you are looking to venture out on your own and create something from scratch, I strongly advice you to get an accountant before anything else. We definitely learned the importance of that in hindsight. Another thing I’ve come to really appreciate as we’ve grown is the value of a great, tight-knit team of people you enjoy being around. Cathrine and I are like Yin and Yang and it’s essential that our co-workers are on the exact same page as we are and work towards the same goals.
Like most people, I generally wish there was more hours in a day. When you begin to expand your team, it automatically creates extra work, which allows less time for the creative process. It’s both administrative tasks, but also due to the fact that people are depending on me and my professional input. I would love to have even more time to work with the designs and creative aspects, and I was actually a bit surprised that the two aren’t a bigger part of my days. There’s just tons of other stuff to tend to when you’re in charge.
On work tools
My most important ’tool’ is definitely Cathrine. Without her, no Saks Potts, and hopefully she feels the same about me. We complement each other extremely well and have different skills, strengths and ideas. That’s also evident in the final products and general expression of our designs and visual expression.
To me, inspiration is totally random. Or at least the occurrence of inspiration is. I guess no matter the direction we are going, the common denominator is that everything has to have a clear red line and be true to the quirkiness and originality of Cathrine and I. Whether our designs are inspired by nature, art or a third, we always make sure that the source of inspiration behind our ideas shine through. In everything from the clothes, over set designs and scenography to the small details such as show invitations.
Our latest collection is dubbed Swiss, and it’s inspired by the alps, lakes and overall decadence of Switzerland. A friend of mine showed me some photos of her family living there and that was enough to spark an idea, which eventually morphed into an entire collection. When the idea is conceived, I begin an extensive research process where I search high and low for references and other words and visuals to use in the creative process.
On the horizon
I sure hope we’re able to continue our steady success in the future. Our main focus is to create an even bigger international name for ourselves, especially in the US, and keep growing at the right pace. Once I’ve finished my bachelors degree, I’m going to work full time on Saks Potts, which is hopefully going to make me stronger as a designer and Saks Potts even stronger as a brand.