We caught up with Jasmine Alexa Gescheit, owner and designer at Jasmine Alexa to chat about her success story.
From a very young age, maybe around four or five years old, I remember sitting with my mum while she sewed at the dining table. I would take the remaining scraps of fabric and try to construct clothes for my dolls. The thrill that I got out of this was a very defining point for me. It was the moment I recognised myself as a creative.
To be creative is to be curious and open-minded and to think in a different way. Importantly, it’s a window to your deepest desires and thoughts. I guess creativity is much like a rolling snowball – it gets bigger and stronger as it goes along. From such a young age, I was always creating and making things. I collected postcards purely because of their graphic expression, and was obsessed with the late ’90s TV show Changing Rooms for its interior design transformations.
My sister and I would try to recreate this and reconfigure the layouts of our rooms – I laugh thinking about it now! As I got older, I started to see the power in clothes and how people expressed themselves through what they wore, and this became my fixation. The lightbulb moment for me was realising how I’d been able to translate how I felt into clothes when I was struggling with self-confidence during my teenage years. Jasmine Alexa is fundamentally all about my own self-expression. I am also championing a slower design process, where every detail is thought out and considered, as opposed to fast fashion.
The biggest obstacle for me has been being a one-woman band. This surprises most people who assume I work with a team, but alas it is just me (for now anyway), which means I need to cover all aspects of the business. I am not just the designer, I am the one updating the visuals on the website, the one talking to customs brokers to clear imports, the one making sure deliveries go out on time making sure that customers are happy and the one cleaning the studio etc. With all of these, things are bound to go wrong somewhere. As an example, for my first collection I ordered a large bulk of fabric from China (300kg worth!) and after testing the sample and being happy with it, and getting excited about this beautiful fabric, I decided to go straight into production as soon as it alllanded in Melbourne. Apparently it is imperative to also test the bulk fabric before production, not just the sample. I apologise to all those who had blue legs from the excess dye in the leggings! I was horrified and received a bunch of emails from disgruntled customers about their blue legs. I learnt this lesson the hard way and now I always check the bulk fabric before I do anything. The good to come from this mess was partnering with a wonderful local dye house in Melbourne. They cleaned the remaining fabric (luckily I had only used a portion of what I had ordered) and saved the day.
As most creatives would know, you cannot choose when you have the creative ‘flow.’ It’s not as easy as sitting down and just designing. If it were so simple, life would be a lot easier. But alas, these moments of creative flow, come unexpectedly and usually at inopportune times! My usual creative flow times arrive in the shower, while I’m driving and in bed in the middle of the night. I guess the common thread of all these is almost being in a calm, mindless state where thoughts are not crowding me and I can think more freely, so I know to expect the ideas to come when I’m in this state.
The relationship most integral to the development of my creativity has been the one I have with myself.
I definitely suffer from self-doubt and during the build-up to the second collection, found myself uninspired and completely lost! I was burnt out from the first collection and the mess with the fabric had got the better of me, plus in the past year, so many amazing activewear brands have come to the surface and I felt that what I was doing wasn’t good enough (every creative’s worst nightmare – comparing yourself to others). I knew I needed to shake this and pull myself out of the rut and just focus on Jasmine Alexa and not get caught up in what everyone else was doing. I decided to remove the devil on my shoulder and went on a social media detox. I locked myself in my design studio and just started sewing and creating.
The relationship most integral to the development of my creativity has been the one I have with myself. I go through the ups and downs of self-doubt all the time and am in a constant battle with dealing with this. But I’m learning to trust my instinct, and trust that I can do it and trust that I will create something I am proud of. My parents have also been invaluable as they both own their own successful businesses and have set the bar high – allowing me to push myself to set my own bar high without fear of failure. They instilled in me the belief that there is no such thing as failure, as long as you can learn from your mistakes and adapt to change.
I recently launched a platform on the Jasmine Alexa site called ‘This Is Me’, where people can discuss mental health issues and other challenges. I have personally interviewed a few women who have bravely shared their stories of overcoming hardships such as anorexia, drug addiction and anxiety in the hope that it gets people talking and sharing their own experiences. This concept stemmed from my own struggles with anorexia during my teenage years and desire to help those who might be in a similar situation. As part of the campaign, I am also selling limited edition t-shirts where all proceeds are donated to Headspace Australia (the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.)
To tell your story or purchase a limited edition t-shirt, visit jasminealexa.com.