Thessy and Yiota Kouzoukas didn’t start out with the intention of being globally successful fashion entrepreneurs, but that’s exactly where their passion for seasonal trends, determination and Griffith University degrees in Business ended up taking them.
The incredibly stylish best friends turned sisters-in-law started out with a humble fashion blog, posting daily photos of their outfits. Now their Instagram has more than 1.5 million followers, they’ve had their brand Sabo Skirt featured on the runways of New York Fashion Week and they’ve been named in Forbes’ prestigious 30 Under 30 list. Not to mention having outfitted celebrities such as Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande and Gigi Hadid, to name a few.
So how on earth did they go from social media savvy sisters storing stock in a spare bathroom to international fashion moguls?
“We started a fashion blog showcasing our daily outfits and style while we were still studying at Griffith,” Thessy said. “And we had such an overwhelming response from our followers wanting to know where we purchased our clothing from!”
Then a seed of an idea started to form in their heads. “We saw a great business opportunity to create an online store where our online followers could purchase our outfits from directly, so we planned, researched and prepared for a year before we launched Sabo Skirt,” Thessy said.
Yiota confesses that they were able to create their initial business plan thanks to the skills they’d learnt while studying for their Griffith University Bachelor of Business. “We started off with a very detailed business plan, very similar to those that we completed throughout our business degree,” she said.
“This enabled us to predict, prepare and plan what was required in order to take our online store from an idea to a working concept. After we’d researched the online store market, potential target market, and our funds, we were able to see that our online store was potentially a very lucrative idea that, if executed correctly, could become very successful!”
And part of their massive success has been their early adoption of the Instagram platform. “We were first-movers on the Instagram platform back in 2011, seeing the amazing marketing potential that it had very early on,” Thessy explains. “We were creating completely original content for our blog and shop that we were able to share on our Instagram profile, and the uniqueness of that content attracted thousands of new followers very quickly.”
And because these savvy sisters have an eye for trends, they were able to capitalise on exactly what their followers were looking for. “We were able to gauge and create content that would constantly go viral and in turn snowballed our followers growth,” Yiota says.
Yiota says she knew she wanted to attend Griffith from way back when the pair were in their final years of high school together. And while Thessy didn’t immediately attend uni after school, when she decided to go she knew where she wanted to go.
“We’d both heard about the amazing business program that Griffith University offered and decided that it was where we wanted to study,” Thessy says.
Yiota agrees. “We’re constantly applying the knowledge that we learnt from our Griffith Business degrees on a day-to-day basis, specifically the Management and Marketing policies that we learnt throughout our studies,” she says.
Since they started up their label, they’ve had a lot of career highs for two people who aren’t even in their 30s yet. “It was an extremely surreal moment being named on of the Forbes 30 under 30 list,” Yiota continues. “We can’t explain the fulfilment this achievement provided to us both.
“For all of our hard work to be recognised by such a prestigious business magazine was a dream come true.”
Not to mention the fact that not only has their label strutted its stuff on the catwalks of New York Fashion Week, they’ve been invited back to do it all again.
“Showcasing our label at New York Fashion Week last year was an absolutely amazing achievement for both of us,” says Thessy.
The biggest advice that they would have for aspiring entrepreneurs is to study hard and never stop believing in your dreams.
“Our business degrees provided us with the skills and knowledge that was required to build Sabo Skirt where it is today,” Yiota says. “Our best tip is to believe in yourself and the knowledge that you have acquired to be able to fulfil your wildest endeavours.”