2016, goals and improvements

It’s finally the new year and we have to start getting used to writing 2016 after all our dates, something that always takes me ages!

It’s a bit of a cliche to to write down new year’s resolutions and it hasn’t been something I was ever particularly into when I was younger but since I became a business owner and then a blogger, I definitely saw how it could be helpful.

Last year, I didn’t write down goals as our dogs had puppies, which totally took over my life and I noticed that my year had less structure, so I wanted to get back on that again this year.

The first thing I did was write a list of all the months and outline my main collections, projects and photoshoots for the year, including adequate preparation times. There is no point releasing a wonderful themed photo-set, perfect for a certain occasion or season when that is already upon us coming to an end: This has happened to me before and I know it is something small companies often struggle with but I’m going to try my hardest to release everything early this year.

Seeing the whole year outlined in one little list actually makes it seem quite short and I feel like breaking it up into sections is helping me set realistic time-frames for achieving each project. When I think I’m not sure what to work on first, I often waste time trying to decide and end up falling behind.

You don’t have to run a business to make a monthly plan of the year, you could include your holidays and social calendar so you can start budgeting in advance or know which months you will have extra cash for luxuries, or you could include goals to achieve in your work or hobbies.


 I have also made a bullet point goal list:

2016 GOALS

  • Make a more conscious effort to use cruelty free products. This is something I was already interested in and have done for most of my beauty and household products but I’m still sometimes surprised by the types of products are tested on animals so I’m going to make a bigger effort.
  • Only buy clothes I really love, support more independent designers, invest in designer items or make things myself. I have always hated fast fashion but sometimes I run out of time or money and decide to go for the easy option. I want to fight against that this year but ebay will still happen sometimes. 
  • Go out to eat and drink in more interesting places. My boyfriend and I can both cook, so we hardly ever go out to eat, but I’d like to be less of a hermit this year and explore the new places that have opened in Manchester, there are so many I’ve heard good things about.
  • Be more active on social media! This may surprise you, but I don’t like to be glued to my phone like a lot of people. I particularly enjoy instagram and pinterest at the moment but I could really use some encouragement, if you’re on there give me a follow and say hi! 
  • Go to America. I think I’ve said I wanted to do this for the last 5 years and I’m still sitting here writing this with an empty bank account but hopefully some magic will happen this year. 
  • Manage my daily tasks and still have some time for myself. This sounds pretty vague but my entire existence is like a juggling act and I’m always striving to complete it without dropping any of the balls. My appearance is always the first thing to go and I want to take more pride in that this year (while also having a clean house, successful business and well-behaved dogs).
  • Feature more beauty products on here. This follows on from my decision to take more care of myself. I’ve been getting more into beauty and skincare over the last year after a bit of a break in my “don’t buy anything that isn’t for the business” years and I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourites. 
  • Start doing videos. I thought I might as well write this one down to see if it motivates me further to do something about it. From how to put on strappy harnesses or latex leggings to house/studio tours and tutorials, I think it would be pointful and fun to make videos. I have wanted to do this for about 3 years now and I go through phases of trying to make a start but it getting it to the stage where it can be released just seems daunting. 
  • Post regularly. This year I’m taking a step back, planning only two posts and week and trying my hardest to keep up. If I can do that till May, I’ll think about adding something extra. 


Anti.Muse feature

I came across Anti.Muse due to their latex love series, featuring the industries’ hottest brands. I was lucky enough to have Eustratia featured in one of the posts and was recently interviewed for the “what would your muse be” feature.

I’ve re-posted the feature below and you can also ready the original feature (in English and German) here.

What would your muse be if it was …

a book: Pattern recognition by William Gibson
a movie: I always watch relevant movies to my collections so they are ever changing, I’ve been inspired by “The Mists of Avalon” and Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” before. I often watch “The Libertine” when I lack inspiration though it always reminds me that hard work and determination pays off and a bit of wit can keep you going.
a city or place: My home city, Thessaloniki. I’m always inspired by new places and change, but my original inspiration and the feelings that make the new experiences inspiring, came from here.
a sound or tune: The music box.
a magazine: Dark Beauty
an inspirational quote or a motto: At the moment it’s: We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong, the amount of work is the same. – Carlos Castaneda
an artist: Lost Fish
a style icon: Vivienne Westwood

Stacey is a latex genius, a dazzling, inspiring personality. With a lot of girl power she leads her successful one woman business – in my series Latex Love I already wrote about her brand Eustratia. Not only Stacey designs some really cute and ingenius latex pieces, she’s also modeling and writing her own blog about her every day life as an Alternative Fashion designer. I always find cool looks and a lot of inspiration on her blog and her instagram too. So it’s a great pleasure to me that Stacey now exclusively on Anti.Muse allows a peep behind the scenes of Eustratia and reveals some of the inspirations behind her brand.

You want to support Stacey and her label? Just click through to the Triumph campaign “Woman in making” and vote for Stacey to help her grow her business.

Stacey in her Studio.



2013 positive points.

This has been a year of big changes for me and though it has been tough at times, I’ve realised that I am moving forward with my life and ambitions.

I have heard a lot of people talking about how terrible their year has been and it’s easy to get stuck in a downward spiral if you just think of the negative. I prefer to start the year with a air of optimism wherever possible so I have written a list of my favourite positive points of 2013 and would urge you to do the same, it might make you feel a lot better.

1. I stopped working from a small desk in my bedroom and got my first solo studio for Eustratia.

427237_10151453871855365_82829251_n2. I suspended my bed from trees for a photoshoot!

_MG_81663. I was involved in quite a few fun and amazing fashion shows.

1276469_576383365732729_609709502_o4. Eustratia became the main brand sold in a small boutique.

734115_574855985872883_2073020654_n5. I went on holiday to Greece with my best friends.

968844_10201689246253037_1694167644_n6. I went to LFW with some amazing people.

1237951_590997460941458_557497677_n7. Had my work published in my favourite magazine, Dark beauty.

darkbeauty18. Bought a house!

733896_10151952960905365_1475728400_n9. I set up a showroom and look forward to inviting people to my open-house events to view my items in person. The first one will hopefully be scheduled for the beginning of February!

1471219_10152068209715365_1131086101_n10. Pretty much learned to drive and will hopefully be passing my test in the near future.

My positive list definitely made me feel better about this year and I hope yours does too.


FAQs #1 Eustratia collaboration guidelines.

I have decided to start a FAQs series, these will relate to my label, Eustratia and perhaps even include some more personal subjects I get asked about often.

This is the first post in the series and I’m going to start with what seems to be the most popular subject: collaborations.

For such a small company, I get an insane amount of model requests and quite a few photographer requests as well. Some offer to pay postage but most just want me to send them garments to use in their photoshoots for free. I love collaborating with other creatives but as I run all aspects of the business myself I have to stick to a few rules and conduct my image-obtaining operations as time-efficiently as possible. I will try to explain the basics through the points below and hopefully give potential models a better understand of the process of choosing the right collaboration and the general needs of a small business with regards to photographic material.


What types of images are needed?

The images I use usually fall into one of the following four categories: 1.lookbook, 2.product shots, 3.editorial or 4.conceptual.

1. I always organise the look book shoots myself as they show the proposed outfit combinations for each collection and are also shot in an appropriate style to complement the mood of the range. Photographers are welcome to apply for these on a TF basis as long as they understand my needs. Previous lookbooks can be found under the “collections” tab on my site.

2. I prefer to have two types of product shots for each garment, one cut out on a mannequin and one on a model. I usually take the one on a mannequin myself, in my home studio. If the item in question belongs to a particular collection I will already have a model product shot from the lookbook shoot. I do however have some items that are extras or occasionally one that could do with being re-photographed and in this case I may decide to send it out to a model if I have someone in mind.

3. Editorial is the kind of shoot that I’m most likely to collaborate on. I’m only looking to do one editorial shoot every couple of months because I want to have time to put the effort into the outfits/styling and props. The photographer’s ability and style plays a big part so I have to be selective. The main objective with these sorts of shoots is, of course, to be published, so the style of the shoot will have to be, to a degree at least, in-keeping with the brand’s ideology (although I do like to show the versatility of my garments in terms of styling).

4. I occasionally organise conceptual shoots myself if a collection or outfit is inspired by a particular theme or mental image and requires a more involved shoot to put across but I’m also happy to collaborate on these. I love large-scale props, fantasy themes and polished fashion images. If you get in touch about something like this it is best have links to the team and a concept board ready.

How best to apply to model/photograph for Eustratia and what to include.

I try not to judge the format of the enquiry too much but there are certain things that make an application easier to read/reply to. When answering a large amount of emails, ones that aren’t easy to reply to might get left till last/overlooked.

  •  It is best to email enquiries@eustratia.co.uk or contact me through the contact feature on my facebook page or website.
  • It is always good to have an idea/theme in mind. It’s easy to ask if I have anything I need shooting, but the reality is, if I needed something shooting I probably would have arranged that already or, if I didn’t have time put a casting up on the facebook page.
  • Always include your portfolio and measurements, I need to be able to see what your work is like and if you fit the available samples.
  • If possible include a link to the photographer (and the rest of the team if there is one). The more information, the easier it will be to establish if the shoot is suitable and decide on the right outfit.
  • Do not make your email excessively long. I just need to see the relative information, writing a long list of every project you have ever been involved in or why you think my ideology is compatible with yours isn’t necessary at this stage.


What is expected if you do borrow garments from me?

If you do borrow items for a shoot and hope to do so again in the future it is best to adhere to these simple guidelines: I am always understanding but this is my livelihood and I like my garments to be looked after as well as possible when they are out of my care and, of course, to get the most out of the shoots I collaborate on.

  • Always treat the latex with care, make sure you know how to put it on/ care for it before you ask to use it in a shoot.
  • Make sure you have appropriate dressing aid/ latex care products as it isn’t always possible to send them.
  • Always wrap the latex in tissue paper and store in a zip-lock bag. Latex is a delicate material and can be damaged in many ways.
  • If the garments get dirty, excessively sweaty on your shoot, it is best to give them a clean before you send them back. I’m sure no one likes to receive dirty clothes.
  • Always send the items back via a reliable service if you are not returning them in person. Choose a fast and if possible insured service to return the items. It will only cause problems if the item goes missing because it will have to be replaced. 
  • Make sure you provide appropriate photos from the shoot. If I have agreed to send out something without a fee, it means you are expected to provide clear images of the garments that can be used for whatever purpose has been previously agreed. It is also good to double check with the photographer that he is happy to provide images and for them to be used in such a way because in the UK the photographer always has copyright.
  • Make sure that the whole team involved know who provided the wardrobe and that you add a designer credit against every image when it is posted online, preferably with a link.


What work is involved prior to lending out garments?

When lending items out to someone I’m not familiar with I usually take some time to find out about the shoot/our arrangement.

Then the appropriate garments have to be selected, which involves choosing styles/colours and taking all the ones that are about the right size out and measuring them to make sure. Then they need to be put into outfits and accessorised if necessary. Any items that have recently been worn have to be washed. Even if they don’t need a wash I usually give them a clean so they don’t look covered with talc if the model/ photographer doesn’t have shiner.

After that it is ready for them to be wrapped and packed and sent on their way with the next batch of post.


Why it isn’t possible to work with everyone.

It must be evident that I started Eustratia in order to be able to do something that make me happy as a full-time job. One of the things that I enjoy most about owning a fashion label are the photoshoots. If I had the time and resources, I would arrange one every week and have the opportunity to work with a lot more of the creatives that contact me.

Unfortunately, everything I mentioned above is quite time-consuming and establishing a clear concept can take some time as well. So along with all the designing and making and events and social networking I have to keep up with just to keep the business going, I only have time for a couple of shoots a month and I have to make them count.


Does having a large following make a difference?

It does, especially if you are interested in remote modelling. I am willing to send out small items for reviews to popular fashion bloggers and also to lend out items for shoots that wouldn’t necessarily be my first priority style wise, as long as they are well-shot and would get a certain amount of publicity. For this to apply I am looking for over 10k followers on any one social media platform.

When I have arranged a shoot for one of my personal projects/lookbooks however, followers are irrelevant. I’m just looking for someone with the right look to style the way I want and bring the image in my head to life.


How to help Eustratia grow in order to accommodate more collaborations.

If you are getting in touch about collaborating on a future shoot, that would imply that you are already aware of and probably admire, to some extent, my existing work. In fact, the majority of emails I get start off by stating as such.

In order to create more of this work I have to make enough money to not only survive (which is hard enough already in today’s socio-economic climate) but to also make a small profit to put back into my work, or even eventually hire someone to deal with the garments loans. For a small business like mine, every order counts, no matter how small.

For those who have a small budget and would like to give it a try, I offer 15% off all orders in exchange for reasonable quality, clear images of the garments. Email enquiries@eustratia.co.uk with a link to your portfolio for details. Such arrangements could lead to official collaborations, provided the images produced are the right standard/style. I understand that most of the people who ask to borrow items can’t afford full outfits but an easy way to show support would be to buy a small accessory. Helping to make people aware of the brand or growing the online following as also equally as helpful, and above all free. I always notice who follows and interacts with brand and will automatically keep them in mind for future projects (Although I often have a long backlog of shoots to prioritise).

I hope this post helpful and I’m happy to listen to feedback.


2012 recap!

When I look back on 2012, it has mostly been a year of trying to keep everything going and further establishing my business. I’m grateful to all the amazing people who have shared parts of my journey with me and worked on my various projects.

Photoshoot highlights 2012.

shoots 2012

Faces of 2012


Inspirational images 2012

inspiration 2012I’m excited about 2013 and hope it will be the start of bigger, better things for me and Eustratia. I’ve never really been a fan of new year’s resolutions but I’ve decided to make a list of goals I hope to achieve this year so can look back on it and see how I’ve done. I think I’m always a bit optimistic when I write lists as most of my projects require more work than I originally realise but I’d rather aim high than low so I’m going to write the full list and see how I do.

  1. Learn to drive.
  2. Launch my first latex lingerie range.
  3. Do at least 5 fashion shows.
  4. Release my first non-latex items (at least 6).
  5. Get t-shirts and tote bags printed.
  6. Design and produce a new jewellery range.
  7. Find at least 2 stockists for Eustratia.
  8. Write at least 3 blog posts a month (this doesn’t sound like a lot but with my schedule it can be hard sometimes).
  9. Post at least 5 tutorials.
  10. Find cool bloggers to send items to.
  11. Collaborate with at least 12 amazing models.
  12. Be involved in at least 5 large scale photoshoots with great themes.
  13. Get at least 2 magazine covers.
  14. Find and enjoyable form of exercise that fits in with my schedule and can be done regularly.
  15. Find and keep a studio that works for my business.
  16. Visit 2 other countries.
  17. Do a fashion show out side the UK.
  18. Dress a celebrity in my pieces
  19. Increase my social media followers to a number I am happy with. (I have a lot of profiles and this varies for each but having over 10k on the Eustratia facebook page would be a start)
  20. Do something cool for the Eustratia 2nd birthday in a couple of months!

If I can achieve all of these to the standard I have in mind I dare say it will be a successful year. I’d love to hear from others who have big plans for the year! What do you guys do to stay on track? I’m going to put up a big notice board and stick notes sketches and inspirational images on it in hope that it will help to keep me focused.