How I started an online fashion brand that crafts sustainable, carefully crafted clothes with only $600

JET NOIRE profile header image
MYA BROWN jet noire founder image
Mya Brown (founder)
Founded: April 2020
No of employees: 1
Location: USA

Mya Brown is a full-time student, fashion designer, and founder of online fashion brand, JET NOIRE. She creates effortlessly beautiful, core wardrobe pieces that are customizable, sustainable, and carefully crafted. The idea for the brand came naturally after she could never seem to find clothes that inspired her the way she wanted. She also cares about the stories behind the clothing, and wanted to share them with her customers. 

Social media is currently the biggest driver to the website, but Maya has plans to expand and work on her customer retention strategies. She’s so close to hitting 200 orders, we chat to her to find out more about her plans for growth.

Who are you and what brand did you start?

My name is Mya, and I am the creator behind JET NOIRE. In addition to being a brand founder, I am also a full time college student and full time fashion designer.

JET NOIRE is an online fashion brand, based out of Atlanta GA, and we’re dedicated to delivering dynamic and sexy fashion for women. We create effortlessly beautiful foundational pieces to anchor your wardrobe. We believe that fashion should be customizable, sustainable, and carefully crafted.

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I like to think of our target market as women with many sides to them. JET NOIRE women are never defined by one lane and so we create natural, effortless, strong, powerful, and attention commanding clothing for every occasion.

Thinking back on all we’ve achieved since launch, it has been nothing short of a whirlwind journey full of learning, growing, and developing my business mind and my brand.

BRAND IDEA - how did you come up with the idea for Jet Noire?

JET NOIRE has been a passion project of mine for a number of years which all started from when i was growing up and used to routinely sell second hand clothes Depop, a peer-to-peer social shopping app.

After utilising that platform, I quickly gained a real appetite for fashion and business which led me to stepping out and launching my own brand. ,

JET NOIRE as a brand, naturally came out of my own clothing needs. I wanted specific clothes to wear but could never seem to find clothes that inspired me in the ways I wanted. I never was able to wrap my head around fast fashion and I seldom walked into a store and left with anything worth buying. I cared about the story of my clothing. Who made the pieces, how they made it, who picked the thread, how the thread made it to the factory.

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In today’s world, especially in the fashion space, it is increasingly difficult to have supply chain clarity given that so much production is done all over the world.

BRAND LAUNCH - take us through how you launched Jet Noire.

I launched JET NOIRE with $600, just enough to set up the appropriate business licenses, website, and supply the first small run of inventory.

There was no marketing budget, no dramatic rollout, and everything has been bootstraps funded since launch.

As a company since day one we’ve relied on organic marketing. We started off by clearly defining our customer profile and instead of waiting for our customers to find us, we’ve tried to meet them wherever and whenever we can.

I will always remember the brand’s first sale. The person ordered not one, not two, but three items!!! Needless to say I was over the moon.

Unfortunately, it was a very short lived moment of happiness. When I opened the order to fulfill the shipment, the banner said “high risk of fraud”. I immediately canceled the order, but took away two things.

  1. To install a fraud blocker to automatically cancel high risk orders
  2. That there was a demand for my pieces

So when my next sale, and sale after that came along after that, each was an opportunity to grow and improve the brand. There still isn’t a “marketing budget”, but there is a defined marketing plan. With every collection I see my growth as not only a designer but a business owner. I am excited to see where the brand continues to take me. I believe wholeheartedly in my dream and my potential to grow.

ONLINE STORE SETUP - what are your top 2 tips for successful Ecommerce store setup.

  1. Design your website with your end customer in mind, For every photo icon, button, etc… always ask yourself what does this mean to the user experience
  2. Step away from the screen. Before a launch it is very easy to get caught up in every little detail, so it is amazing when you can take a moment and leave the screen behind.

CUSTOMER RETENTION - what has worked best to attract and retain customers?

Keeping our customers updated throughout our journey has been the one thing that has allowed us to connect and learn more about each and every person. Whenever the brand is preparing for a major change, you will see our social media reflect the changes and we will send out an email update to our newsletter list. I wholeheartedly believe in transparency for the brand. Nothing that we are doing is a secret, and I am passionate about using the knowledge I’m learning along the way to increase fashion education on both the consumer and brand level.

Every time a person connects with us, follows us, asks us a question, etc….

We are looking to build a relationship. We want to hear product feedback, what you would like to see more of, less of, etc….

One of my favorite parts of the brand is all the people I get to come into contact with along the way. JET NOIRE has the most beautiful and supportive customers. We use review integrations to access feedback from purchasers and love utilizing social media to get real time collection feedback. Please feel free to email us at at any time.

SOCIAL - what are your top 2 tips for successful use of social media to engage with customers.

  1. Consistency - to gain and maintain a loyal following you have to show up. When you’re not consistent it becomes increasingly difficult to nurture your audience online
  2. Plan out your content ahead of time - There is nothing worse than changing your Instagram feed and deleting everything every few months (believe me I’ve done it 5-6 times already). If you allocate time each month to create a content schedule you can easily stick to a routine.

BUSINESS GROWTH INSIGHTS - how has Jet Noire changed and evolved?

On this day last year JET NOIRE had a total of 6 visitors on the site. I was so happy with the 6 visitors that I recorded the number and it showed up in my snapchat memories. Now, if there were only 6 visitors on my site, I might be in the middle of a mini breakdown. My favorite days of course are when there are thousands of people roaming around the JET NOIRE site. Unfortunately, those days are few and far between. As a rule of thumb we try to hit at least 200 visitors on the site per day.

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We prioritize social selling, so we look into our engagement and follower count on social media. We’ve been struggling to hit our social media stride so the last few months have been all about experimenting with different social strategies. I joke that the JET NOIRE customers have seen about 5 different brands in our first year alone. I love the direction our content is going in right now and have made a promise to the brand: no more removing posts. I want to be able to look back on the history of the brand and look into the journey from the first step.

The next milestone we are striving to hit is the 200 order mark. We are less than 20 orders away from hitting that milestone, so by the time you’re reading this article we will have reached that target !

MANAGING CHANGE - what are the top 2 tips you’d suggest others adopt to safeguard their business.

  1. Source as close to home as possible for as many things as possible
  2. Alter your shipping and return policies to accommodate for impacts of COVID-19

FUTURE BUSINESS PLANS - how is Jet Noire doing today and what does the future look like?

Expansion and Customer Retention is the name of the game for the next year. Our next few projects are nicely planned out and we will be working towards consistency with every single drop. Social Media is currently the largest traffic driver to our website. We will be focused on social media growth and expansion across our top 3 platforms to increase our audience reach and continue turning followers into customers. We need to create a narrative and lifestyle for the JET NOIRE girl.

Once we give the JET NOIRE girl a story, everything else will fall into place. Our long term goals are to hit our financial targets, and begin to build out parallel business opportunities. The goal is to start small expand to a JET NOIRE warehouse and curate a showroom dedicated to the brand.

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ENTREPRENEUR INSIGHTS - what has been your biggest learning experience since starting Jet Noire?

Be Patient with yourself, don’t compare your journey with anyone else. You have to run your race, I have to always look at JET NOIRE with blinders on. When I begin looking around, it is so easy to lose focus of the vision.

ONLINE BUSINESS TOOLS - what are the business software tools you couldn't live without?

Up until this past tax season I was living 100% in excel to manage all money coming in and out. Onboarding to Quickbooks has been a seamless transition and I appreciate the automation. This is integral to creating balance sheets and being able to monitor the cash flow of the business. In the first year the business was running at a deficit so as a part of our year 2 plan, I spent a lot of time financial modeling to create a profit strategy.

Another must have tool for business purposes is Adobe. I do everything in Adobe from creating product mockups, to creating graphics for anything and everything. I love that tool !

See what tools and platforms other founders are using.


SELF DEVELOPMENT - what are the educational resources you’d recommend?

One of my favorite books to think back on is Good to Great by Jim Collins. I read the book years before JN was even thought of. The idea of something being good holding back greatness is something I apply to JN everyday. Nothing is ever good enough. I am always looking for new ways to be more, do more, and solidify my fashion brand.

For fellow Fashion Designers, I suggest The Fashion Business Manual and 200 Skills Every Fashion Designer Must Have.

INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE ‘shout-out’ - who have been the most influential people for you during your brand journey?

Thank you to each and every person that has ever listened to me talk about JET NOIRE. When you’re starting off, it can seem like every day is an internal staff meeting. There’s so many things going on in my head, and it’s so nice to be able to take a step back and listen to the thoughts and opinions of mentors, friends, and family who allow our conversations to constantly revolve around JET NOIRE.

FINAL WORDS OF INSPO - for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

Just start !

Whatever dream you have, whatever goal you are trying to achieve, start it today. You can figure out the details as you go along but once you start something you can craft your journey.

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