If you’ve ever dreamed of giving up your day job to follow your passion, you’ll love this story. These two clever colleagues turned their vision of a revolutionary fashion label into a reality – and now they save women time trying to work out what to wear each day. Introducing One P Design!
Imagine if you had a dollar for every minute you spent wondering what to wear. It was the million-dollar problem to solve for Hayley Clarke and Karen Platt, who met while working at Optus. Karen was Head of Customer Experience and Hayley was Head of Marketing. The two often chatted about starting their own venture one day.
“Karen and I always dreamed about working together in our own business. We were confident that our working styles were very complementary, and we had a mutual respect for each other’s capabilities and are very aligned on values,” recalls Hayley. The two women also quickly bonded over, among other things, the daily dilemma of a decent working wardrobe.
“Over the 20 years I worked in the corporate world the frustration of dressing for work was constant. Finding garments that were comfortable, easy to wear, affordable and not synthetic was virtually impossible,” says Hayley. “I got to the stage where if I did find something I liked, I would buy multiples of the same garment because I knew it would be not be back next season.”
When Hayley’s dad passed away, it really hit home that dreams should be followed. “I had always loved fashion. I could easily head to the mall and walk around for hours just feeling fabrics and analysing trends, it was my form of meditation,” she says. “I had always wanted to learn how to sew but never found the time. When my father died suddenly, it was the catalyst for me to truly understand that life is short, and it was time to follow my passion of designing and making garments to help make women’s lives easier. So I started getting sewing lessons. I explain to people it was like the movie Forest Gump when he started running, he just could not stop, well that was me with sewing, I just could not stop. I organised a coffee with Karen, who was on maternity leave at the time, and told her about my idea.”
With a mission to make life easier for women, Karen jumped on board and leveraged her customer research background to get cracking on planning what their future customers would want. Meanwhile, Hayley attended design school for the next two years and completed her fashion degree.
“In parallel, we set up the business and set about learning as much as we could about our customers, the industry and production,” says Hayley. “Even though we didn’t have any fashion experience, we had 40 years’ experience of solving problems for customers which we felt had more weight. The rest we learned as went, and now we are knee deep in this wonderful journey together.”
One P Design was founded in November, 2018. The name very aptly comes from the one percent of your day you are likely to spend deciding what to wear.
“There was a study done in the UK that revealed women on average spend 16 minutes a day deciding what to wear in the morning,” says Hayley. “This amounts to one percent (One P) of your day. Our mission at One P is to give women back that one percent by creating beautiful, stylish basics that make dressing in the morning easier. Being a working mum and managing a full-time career you quickly realise that time is your most precious resource!”
Creating an entire line of beautiful basics is pretty genius, but One P Design are forging a name for themselves in the fashion world and among their customers for a few other reasons too. Their clothing is made from good quality natural fibres, it’s all Australian made, and everything is machine washable. Oh, and they’re also determined to be ethical – a tall order in the fashion industry!
“We fundamentally believe we are the next generation of fashion,”Hayley confirms. “For me as a designer it is not about creating trends, it’s about solving a problem for our customer. Everything we do is about helping women, not just through our clothes and how they make our customer feel, but the stories we tell that inspire women, the women we work alongside and the charities we support. And Australian Made has become a very important factor given today’s environment. So we have started with the customer in mind, but also the social and environmental impacts of what we do.”
One P is currently based in Neutral Bay, with an online store and a long-term Pop-Up at Balgowlah Stocklands. So far, says Hayley, the reaction to their line has been wonderful.
“The feedback has been extremely positive. We get very few returns and if we do it is normally due to a size swap, which is a great measure that we are hitting the mark. Customers continue to comment on two key things: the quality of the garment and the beautiful natural fabrics.”
The most popular pieces to date are the Merino wool t-shirts (“they fly out the door!” says Hayley), the natural ponte pants and the pinstripe and silk shirts. But don’t hang back waiting for these pieces to go on sale. One P Design does not go on sale – and it’s a part of their revolutionary approach.
“Our business model is very non-traditional,” says Hayley. “The majority of labels will apply huge mark-ups knowing they will only sell approximately 30-40% at full price and then 30-40% will be sold through sales and the remainder will be sold at warehouse for cost or become dead stock. This allows labels to even out their margin over a season. Our strategy is to not start with a huge mark-up to begin with, allowing our customers to trust they are getting good value whenever they purchase our garments. It also removes the possibility that customers buying at full price will find the garment on sale a day later. And we’re absolutely committed to not sending any of our garments to landfill.”
It’s inspiring to know that One P Design is forging a new path in the fashion industry and was started locally. And women everywhere will soon be thanking them for their ‘one P’ or 16 extra minutes saved each day. So, what’s next for the forward-thinking label?
“We have a lot of exciting ideas,” says Hayley. “Eventually we would like to add maternity wear to our collection because, like many women when pregnant, I could not find any good quality, natural Australian-made garments, so I feel we have a problem to solve in that space. We are potentially also looking to see how we can better support our farming communities. Eventually we will start to look to expand overseas, but for right now we really want to focus on our Australian women.”
You can see and purchase the One P Design line of clothing at https://onepdesign.com.au or visit them in store at Shop 4, 197-215 Condamine St, Balgowlah
Follow One P Design on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/onepdesign