They are best friends, and now sisters in law, from Queensland who turned their love of shopping into a successful clothing brand which has taken the fashion world by storm and amassed a following of over 1.5 million on Instagram alone.
From humble beginnings taking photos of each other for their fashion blog to showcasing their Sabo Luxe collection at New York Fashion Week three years in a row, there is no stopping this formidable fashion force, who were listed in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 last year, and whose designs are coveted by celebrities including Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid.
With their Mediterranean beauty and catwalk proportions they are the perfect models for their brand, as evidenced from the photos in the brand’s recent shoot in Greece. It’s difficult to believe they are not models themselves. With roots from Rhodes, Kos, Thessaloniki and Cyprus between them, they cite the Greek islands, especially Santorini, as their favourite locations to capture their brand’s essence.
GCT recently caught up with Thessy and Yiota Kouzoukas to talk about how their shopping habit became a global success story
What part of Greece are your families from?
Thessy: My family is from Rhodes and Kos. Yiota’s family is from Rhodes, Thessaloniki and Cyprus.
Have you always been interested in fashion?
Yiota: Neither of us had an overwhelming love of fashion from a young age, but it definitely developed while we were both studying at university. We would send fashion emails to each other full of style inspiration and from there our love of fashion grew to the point of us wanting to start our own fashion blog. We were both studying Bachelors of Business and working part-time.
How did you decide on the name Sabo Skirt and tell us how your business came to fruition?
Thessy: The word “sabo” was a slang word that we were using a lot at the time and we thought that “Sabo Skirt” had a catchy ring to it. After we launched our fashion blog, we had a lot of enquiries from our international followers asking where they could purchase the clothes that we were showcasing. As they were all locally purchased brands, we decided to start an online store to service the demand for the Australian clothing that we were wearing for our overseas followers.
What has been the biggest highlight?
Yiota: I think all of the milestones that we’ve met over the past 7 years have all been highlights. From moving out of our bathroom storage space into a proper warehouse, launching our own exclusive label, Sabo Skirt, growing our amazing team to 12 employees and showcasing our Sabo Luxe collection at New York Fashion Week for the third year in a row have all been amazing experiences.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Thessy: Making our health a secondary priority over the past 7 years has been really challenging. Trying to push through a disease like Endometriosis while running a business has been difficult at times and only now have we learnt to juggle the two and find a healthy balance that keeps us both mentally and physically in the best shape possible.
What inspires you?
Yiota: I would say that our most consistent form of inspiration comes from European summers and the Australian beach lifestyle. We also find inspiration from interior design trends, fashion portals such as Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram as well as magazine photoshoots and runway shows from the 80s and 90s.
How would you describe your personal style?
Thessy: I’d say that we both dress in quite casual chic. We are always comfortable in what we wear but we also love to pair our staples like denim with on trend pieces.
What are some of the biggest trends for 2018?
Yiota: We’re expecting floral prints to make a comeback next year as well as wide leg trousers, bold saturated colours as well as soft pastel tones.
Tell us about choosing your designs and how you go about deciding collections?
Thessy: It essentially starts with a moodboard that I put together and send off to our designer. From there, the designs are created, worked on and finalised over 2-5 months before they’re ready to be photographed.
How do you balance your workloads with your personal lives?
Yiota: This has been hard for us to get right, but I think we’re finally there. We were both covering so many important aspects of the business that we couldn’t afford more than one day off a week. We work with an amazing team so that we can now take more time off work and really enjoy living a more balanced lifestyle.
What are your current 5 fave Sabo Skirt items?
Thessy: We’re both obsessed with the new Sabo Luxe collection. We’re loving the pastel peach, pink and yellow tones that are so on trend and the easy to wear shapes.
Where is your favourite location for a photoshoot and what’s coming up next?
Yiota: We love shooting in Santorini because it’s so picturesque and really captures the Sabo essence. We just launched our new label, Sabo Mini that we can’t wait to share with the world this month.
Sabo Skirt is stocked in David Jones stores as well as online saboskirt.com