Meet Before 7am, a stylish fashion brand based in Berlin. We had the pleasure of speaking with the company founder, Annabel, who shares interesting facts about her business. Read on to learn more about our beautiful brand!
I have a background in law, but fashion has always been a part of my life. I actually launched my brand a while ago, back in 2016. I realized there were a lot of unsustainable practices in the fashion industry and that really freaked me out. So I started with small capsule collections of residual materials from high-end designers. I made dresses, skirts and other garments, but I soon realized that every body shape is so different, which limits your creativity. Because I designed according to my preferences and that meant that I would exclude certain body types. Many people already have reservations about their bodies and I didn't want to stimulate that any more.
So I decided to make things that would fit a lot of people with no restrictions on gender, size or body shape. In the past I had already made a small collar collection that went very well – so in 2019 I decided to go super niche and focus only on collars. In the beginning, people were not that familiar with collars, but when my brand was mentioned in Vogue you could see how it became a bigger trend in fashion. It's still super niche, but the nice thing about it is that the space you have to create is very narrow and you can be much more creative as a result.
Personal freedom, authenticity and individuality are things that I find very important. You have to live a life that is authentic to you, so Before 7am refers to the time of day when the world is still asleep, the sun is slowly rising and you are already up. The rest is still quiet – it is just the world, with no rules or expectations and you are free to set your own intentions.
It is a product that anyone can wear in the sense that it does not dictate a particular style. Mine collars come in different variations – some are very expressive and others are very modest, sleek or classic. That's the great thing about the product. Everyone can find their own way to play with it. We all know the occasions where we need to dress up, but maybe that's not your thing. With a collar you can easily dress up even a simple sweater. Or maybe you're super fashionable and want to make a statement.
For example, I have a client who is a lawyer in the US and he likes to give his outfits a nice touch in this serious environment. But I have a very wide range of clients, including stylists, for example.
Another thing is the quality. I only use high quality fabrics from Italy. My supplier has been around for over 100 years and takes great care in quality. The cotton is organic and each collar is made from natural fibers and certified materials – from the buttons to the interface and main fabric. It is a very honest product made by a small family business here in Europe.
One more thing, which might be nice to mention, is that I give some money back to sustainability projects. For example, I invest in reforestation – an organization called “one tree planted”. This is very important to me. I create something and take something from nature, so it's very important for me to give something back as well. Creating new things isn't the most sustainable thing you can do, but I think with my product I can also teach people to make better choices about what they buy.
I think that's very important and I couldn't start a company without thinking about sustainability. My product is not something you buy endlessly. You may have one or two, but it can brighten up basically any outfit you already have in your wardrobe.
The Beech Collar – it is slightly longer than the other variants, 70s style, but not too expressive. People love that. It's not too flashy and goes with everything. But also the asymmetrical aspen collar is super fun and popular. It brings some detail to your outfit and gives it a bit of a twist, but still a safe option.
I have an evergreen collection with collars made of high quality Italian cotton. This one doesn't really change. In addition, about once a year I make smaller special collections that I don't really make with retail in mind, but more to express my creativity. Recently I have created a rather avant-garde and conceptual collection – not really comparable to the basic collection. For this last special collection, I was inspired by the historic Amsterdam fashion trends from the 17th century, and by the contemporary casual style of the city with lots of denim and clean looks. I got inspired during a walk through the city and used the Rijksmuseum as an online archive to discover more about historical fashion trends. From there it really became a creative process. They are made to order here in Amsterdam, but they are not really a retail product at the moment.
Wholesale is fun. I am particularly interested in concept stores or boutiques. People go there to find something unique and it is not fast fashion or main street. And I find it difficult to reach them myself. I tried it in the beginning, but I've found that a platform like Orderchamp just works the best. Here you will meet retailers who really want to buy from you and who are open to new brands. You'll also find new audiences that you wouldn't find unless you have a huge marketing budget. In addition, you have a very safe environment. My customers no longer have to worry about payment terms and I as a brand no longer have to think about many things. So it makes a lot of sense to join a platform like Orderchamp.
I've been on other platforms but I love how you guys give me opportunities to grow here and you're always open to suggestions. It's really cool how easily we can collaborate and explore new ways to push the brand. Many platforms start with a welcome voucher and good conditions. This is pretty similar to most similar websites, but this personal touch and trying to make things work just makes it super cool to work with Orderchamp.
For sure. The base collection I have isn't the most creative collection possible, but it really helps me generate a baseline from which I can make something more creative and expressive, and I think that's important. Create a basic collection with good margins for retail and eCommerce – a kind of bulletproof product – and then move on to something more creative.
Do you want to expand your range with these classic and stylish collars? Shop them here and benefit from the best purchasing conditions such as: flexible payment terms, free shipping above €250 and low minimum order amounts.