Aga Sova set up her silk scarf brand in 2019, creating unique wearable pieces of art. Aga talks to us about how she was inspired to use her love of art to create her own silk scarves collection and about starting a UK-made brand.
Where did the idea to use your artwork to start a silk scarf brand come from?
I love scarves and I have a wardrobe full of them. But the idea for me to paint on silk was born one evening when I was at the business meeting and one of the ladies present there complimented scarf I was wearing and asked me if I painted it. This was a light-bulb moment. I thought “I love scarves and painting why I can’t create my own scarves?” This is how it all started.
The same week I bought silk, paints and required tools and started painting. Silk is an incredible fabric, very unique, soft, flowy, and elegant. I very often compare it to a woman – strong and very delicate at the same time.
Who are the scarves for?
They are for every woman. Silk scarves are designed to highlight women’s unique beauty and can be worn in so many different ways – not only around neck, and it can be around wrist like a bracelet or around waist like a belt. It will look amazing on head or tied to the bag. If the scarf is big enough it is possible to make a dress or top out of it, possibilities are endless. And silk always look elegant and classy. As an accessory it can completely change the whole outfit.
I‘ve also created something for men – I have hand painted silk pocket squares and lately I’ve started creating designs based on my paintings that are then printed on chiffon or satin.
How do you create your artwork on silk?
There’s a lot of energy and heart put into each piece to make it unique and one off. I start with meditation and then stretch piece of silk (that is already washed and dried) on a special frame using pins to attach the fabric to the frame. When that is ready I put on some music and start painting – because I always paint intuitively I let myself to be led.
If I want to have some patterns I draw them first on a piece of paper and put under the silk – using wax I follow the lines. When that is ready and dry I start using colours – it all depends what I want to achieve. I love experimenting so sometimes my studio floor is full of salt. Salt makes the paint ‘run away’ and when it dries out there are beautiful patterns created.
I love painting on wet piece of fabric, the paint is dancing on the silk and when adding different colours they start mixing – it looks absolutely beautiful. Painting on dry fabric gives more control, it all depends what you want to achieve. When the scarf is painted I wait until completely dry and iron it, follow by washing and ironing again. Then I finish the piece of art with golden, silver, green, red or invisible thread. Then I wash it again and iron and it is ready to be worn. Pictures are taken and the scarf is ready to go.
Where do you source your silks?
The silks are sourced from a variety of places, either online or from shops around London, there’s a market in Shepherds Bush where a variety of silks can be found.
What are the start-up costs associated with selling hand-painted, one-off silk scarves?
The main costs are the silks which are dependant on the size of the piece of silk, and where I buy it from. Then there’s the cost of paints and my time and marketing the scarves.
Where do you find your audience to sell your scarves to? What marketing strategies have you implemented?
I’m very active and consistent on social media and I belong to different groups where I promote my product. I have done a lot of advertisements this year by writing articles to certain online (but not only) magazines.
I get orders through platforms such as Make it British and through my website and recommendations.
What are your “3 things I wish I had known before starting a silk scarf brand” and why?
As a self-taught artist, I’m continuously in the process of learning, discovering and improving my skills through feedback received. Hard work lead me to the place that I am right now and I know there is still lots to do.
Things I wish I had known before I started this venture are:
1. How to promote my products and how to present them to the public eye
3. How to attract customers
4. How to talk about prices.
These things would definitely have helped me as they’d have sped up the whole process. But I trust that everything is happening in the right moment in time, though the process is slower than we would expect it is worth being patient.