Fashion Designer taps new markets

1 February 2019

The Company:

 Saz Mifsud is a Malta based design house focused on the creation of printed silks, envelope clutch bags made from canvas and silk, and round evening bags made of wood and silk.

Painter and designer Saz Mifsud strives to merge the worlds of art and fashion by transferring her paintings and photography to fabrics, which are then hand-sewn into beautiful women’s and men’s accessories.

The Success Story:

 My dream was to sell my products worldwide via an online shop, which I managed to come up with five years ago -  www.sazmifsud.com​ - and make a name for my brand. 

From a young age I painted constantly and always wished it would form part of my future. I loved art, but I also loved fashion and wanted to find some way of merging the two.  I got my degree in fashion print design at University for the Creative Arts in Kent, UK in 2014. This is where I truly learnt how to combine my passions.   This course specialised in the teaching of digital print textile technologies and their application to clothing and accessories. 

As a trade artist by profession I wanted to depart from the traditional concept of retail sales and wanted to embrace digitisation immediately, as I start my own business.  For this reason I opted to create a online portal to sell my products rather than open a retail outlet on a main street because what I learned made me believe that digital outreach is more effective in reaching out clients in today’s world.

Today my brand is 5 years old. I create textiles by merging my photography and paintings digitally to create a digital illustrations. These are then printed onto fine silks and used to create fabrics. Starting with a collection of scarves 5 years ago, today the brand produces several other accessories namely women’s handbags and purses, headscarves and bow ties for men. 

I came to know about Enterprise Europe Network after I was contacted by the network in Malta to participate in the Torino Fashion Week’s business to business meetings, which took place in June 2018.  My aim was to use this opportunity to search for companies I could potentially collaborate with in order to help my business grow

With a few seamstresses in Malta, I knew that I could not manage to create a large volume of products instantly.  This was worry I had before going to Torino.  I discussed this with Enterprise Europe Network in Malta and to my good fortune, the network helped me find a manufacturing partner in Bulgaria!

As we speak, the Bulgarian textile manufacturer is producing a collection of women’s handbags for my brand. I received the first batch of ordered products in November 2018 and I was very pleased!

So for me, finding a textile manufacturer, thanks to the help of Enterprise Europe Network in Malta, was key to start creating larger volumes needed to grow my business. Ironically, this happened AFTER my participation in the Torino Fashion week! 

The stumbling block I had on my return from Torino was how to make an interesting opportunity work.  During one of the meeting in Torino, I met a Russian investor who fell in love with my products.  The volumes requested where greater than those I could produce.  Therefore, to tap into a larger market it was fundamental for me to reach a manufacturing agreement which suits the volumes requested by the Russian investor. I was therefore eagerly hoping to immediately match the required volumes requested, and back home, in less than a couple of months’ time, I managed!

I was introduced to the Network POD service and came across Profile BOBG20170601001 offering integrated services, sample making, production, material sourcing and delivery services. The company also works with customers' models by engaging in their development unless there is a pre-established technological process or own models.  Today both our companies cooperate under subcontracting agreement and in January 2019 we are determining the models for the summer season 2019.   The collaboration between our companies is expected to be sustainable and long lasting.

Thanks to Enterprise Europe Network I managed to cater for BOTH the supply and demand I wanted! 

Enterprise Europe Network was instrumental in providing the necessary information to help me receive tap a new market and match demand from another international market.  The Network assistance will help me improve my market position, increase my market share and turnover.

For me, the journey I started with Enterprise Europe Network in Malta will not stop here!

This rise in sales now allows us to produce larger, more versatile collections and to also dedicate some funds to advertising. This encourages us to want to promote and grow outside our shores even more.

My most immediate ambition is to find ways to promote my products and website outside Malta. I want to figure out the most suitable markets for my brand.  I will therefore be seeking the help of the Network to carry out a thorough market research and identify opportunities to sign more agreements with international distribution, manufacturing and marketing companies. 

I personally felt empowered with the resources that the Network put in place for me and I want to take my business to the next level with the Network’s help.

Reaching out beyond borders has now become a realistic goal rather than just a dream.  And this is thanks to my journey with the Enterprise Europe Network in Malta, as a well-resourced partner in terms of knowledge and networking.

I appeal to other SMEs to trust the Enterprise Europe Network in their course of achieving success by tapping the wider array of opportunities in business matchmaking across borders.

 Saz Mifsud