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How this brand broke into the North American market, and succeeded.

LAUDEM DEO is more than just a ladies clothing business – it’s a full blown designer brand that stands for so much more than just clothing. The brand is a small-run, collection based designer label. It’s all about celebrating the female form and focusing on the people who form part of the process. The little brand that could? I think so!

I’ve been working with LAUDEM DEO over the last few months helping them with their launch into North America. By day, I’m a retailer. But by night, I’m a marketing and business management consultant specializing in bringing small brands to market and taking underperforming retail businesses and resurrecting them. Yes, the Gordon Ramsay of the retail world. Two very different avenues, but both with the same core competencies needed to succeed and drive change.

“As a designer and a normal woman who loves to both look and feel good in what I wear, I believe there is no need to just put on clothes simply because you have to, but that each day we can dress in a way that sets us apart.” -Angelique Essmann

Angelique Essmann co-founded the brand in 2014 as the Head Designer. She explains here that LAUDEM DEO creates clothes for the discerning woman who considers what she wears and longs to feel wonderful at all times. Before this, Angelique dabbled in design and garment construction, but it was this wrap dress that started it all. Because they can be adjusted to your body type, they truly look good on everyone.

After two strong years launching and operating in South Africa, they decided that their impact on job creation and women in the industry would only be as big as the reach they had. In order to expand their reach, and in turn expand production, LAUDEM DEO had to take a swim across the Atlantic, and trek across the great Canadian landscape to launch it’s North American office in Vancouver, also launching a PR office in New York City.

All garments are designed and manufactured in South Africa, the land of their roots, and where LAUDEM DEO hopes to have a significant impact in the struggling textile and manufacturing industry. Once a thriving sector and a sizable contributor to the country’s GDP, the textile industry has suffered in recent years, and many women continue to loose their jobs in a country where the unemployment rates are frightfully high, recently reported at over 26%. That’s the official number. Unofficially….. well, locals will tell you it’s closer to 40%, or even higher.

“As women, we deserve to feel beautiful in our clothing, and at LAUDEM DEO we hope to create clothing that does just that.” -Angelique Essmann
In North America, LAUDEM DEO first launched online for Spring/Summer 16 and the Exclusive Collection just took off. Picked up by several fashion bloggers, many of the signature pieces just “flew off the shelves”.
When they describe how they did it, they say: “Our strategy is to build a strong brand that is recognized in the fashion industry, and one that our business partners can rely on. We are looking to step into the wholesale side of things, and hope to secure some strategic business partners who can help us grow our reach in Canada, and soon after in the US. We had a dream that LAUDEM DEO would capture the true essence of a woman, women that move, in every essence of the word, and in every part of the world. We are here to stay, the women of our country depend on it. We are proudly South African”
“Its not often that you get such luxury combined with such integrity” -Happy Customer
So far, LAUDEM DEO is not only surviving, but truly thriving. The brand has been so well received and continues to raise the bar season after season – each one uniquely different from the last, but bound by craftsmanship, the excellence in the stitch, and underpinned by a very feminine, romantic and elegant luxury look and feel.

The industry is on the cusp of a revolutionary wave. Ethical practices and sustainable sourcing are being brought to light and can no longer be ignored. It’s not long until we will force people to see that fast fashion is not the way of the future. The waste associated with fast fashion will come back to bite us in the form of global warming, waste management, human rights issues and more. It’s time to take a stance and make sure that you’re on the right side change.

Launching a new brand in a very crowded space is an enormous undertaking and will continue to be challenging, but they’re in it to win it!

Please share your entrepreneurial experiences, love for fashion, or just your thoughts! Which side of change are you on?