Busy mum Bec Lutz juggles three kids and two businesses – one of which is vibrant Melbourne fashion label Harvest Lane. We asked her about what it takes to launch your own label, the gritty details about running a business, and what her personal life looks like.
Tell us a bit about Harvest Lane.
Harvest Lane is a womenswear fashion label which began when I saw a gap in the market through our three retail stores, Design A Space. I noticed that customers were desperate for easy, comfortable styles as well as wanting original printed fabrics. It became so common for customers to request these two details that I knew I had to make it happen. When producing new collections we still ask our customers directly through the stores what they want from Harvest Lane.
What were you doing before you went into business for yourself?
After studying Fashion Design at RMIT I went off to work for various fashion companies and gain knowledge in an industry that was quickly changing. I then started up a small fashion label and subsequently came up with the concept Design A Space with my husband, Chris Lutz. We opened our first store in 2006.
What made you want to start your own business?
From a young age I sat at the family dinner table listening to my Dad (who started his own business) chat with my Mum about business decisions, dilemmas and future growth. I was always very interested in all aspects and I was determined to have my own business one day.
How did you come up with the name?
The name not only reflects a sense of gathering inspiration from nature; with each season’s prints being indicative of what you might see around you, but it also represents Melbourne’s unique identity and culture. For us, it is the perfect combination of earth meets art.
Describe the staff/ownership structure of Harvest Lane.
I am the sole owner, but we have an incredible management team at Design A Space who also support me with Harvest Lane.
Did you require investment to start your business?
I started the business with $20,000 of personal capital which covered my first collection of stock and the business grew from there.
What kind of advice did you get before you started and from who?
I was really fortunate to draw on my product knowledge gained through 11 years in fashion retail. My aim was to create easy-to-wear styles in fun, quirky prints so working in store and seeing what fits and what styles work best for each body was the most important information. I still regularly chat to friends and family about my ideas and they do guide me through their experiences and share their knowledge in the different fields so that certainly helps me along the way.
What’s the single best piece advice you got?
As my Dad always says If it was easy everyone would be doing it!