Sep 19, 2018

Beam Bold: The colorful story of a travel inspired fashion brand

A few weeks into one of my many trips to Ghana, I met another traveler wearing a beautiful yellow dress. I complimented her and we bonded on our shared love of bright colored clothing. “I own nothing black”, she declared. That revelation made me think of my own wardrobe. Although I loved vibrant colors, most of my business attire was adapted to what I deemed acceptable in the corporate world; blacks, navies, and all shades of gray. Outside of the office, however, you can recognize me from a mile away. 🙂  I expressed myself through daring colors which were often captured in my travel photos. There must be other women like us who feel magical in vibrant colors, I thought; women who use clothing as a form of self-expression. At that moment, the idea of merging my passion for travel and fashion to create a colorful resort brand was born.

My love of fashion began as a child. My grandmother was a seamstress, so I grew up seeing her make clothing for the entire community. I saw colorful fabrics draped across the sewing machine and witnessed their transformation into lovely pieces of art. I was fascinated by the process, the textures, and the patterns so I began making clothing from an early age. With my mom and many of my family members working in the textile industry, it was only natural that my early career would begin in retail fashion. I started out in retail sales then held various roles with several fashion brands in New York. I later transitioned to the exciting world of banking after being misguided by those who believed that fashion was not a real career. 🙂

My imagination and my exposure to art and culture around the world, has influenced my creativity.  I have embraced every opportunity to create by buying local fabric during my travels and hiring skilled tailors while on the road or in every city where I have lived.  This has allowed me to redesign thrift and travel finds and make custom pieces for myself.  My 6-month trip across Africa was unplanned so I supplemented my travel wardrobe by making colourful pieces as I crossed each border.  I began receiving inquiries about my dresses so thought I would leverage my network of fabric suppliers and skilled manufacturers upon my return to Hong Kong to get started on my clothing line. Around that time, I came across an article about late career changers with successful careers and that was the motivation I needed to move forward with my crazy dream. I specifically noted that Vera Wang had transitioned to being a fashion designer at the age of 40 and felt inspired. I enrolled in an online fashion course and later secured an apprenticeship at a textile factory in China to learn all the intricacies of garment production.

While traveling throughout Africa, I became more aware of the impact of textile waste on our environment and specifically the effects on the African continent. This has led to many African countries banning the import of second-hand clothing. My knowledge of this issue has profoundly influenced my brand direction. I am committed to reducing textile waste by working with factories whose values are in line with my mission and by increasing the seam allowance on my pieces to enable clients to adjust their dress sizes as their body sizes fluctuate. My fabrics are digitally printed which reduces water and energy waste. To reduce excess inventory, I have also implemented robust pre-production sales strategies. The fabrics used in my collection consist of 100% natural fibers and my reusable packaging and tags are made with natural or recycled materials.

Each dress in the Beam Bold collection is referred to as the little bold dress ™. These flowy, lightweight pieces are created in bright colors and lively prints for color lovers of all size. Clients would have the flexibility to customize many of the pieces to suit their personal style. This effort is to encourage more women to embrace their individuality and be expressive through color and design. This versatility component also aims to encourage clients to buy less since one dress allows them to achieve a few different looks.

It is a privilege to follow in my grandmother’s footstep and apply everything she has taught me. Consequently, my first collection is named, The Aurora Collection, in honor of my late grandmother, Joycelyn Aurora. Although printed fabrics are limited editions, we offer an unlimited supply of the little bold dress. Brighten up your travel wardrobe and chase the sun all year round in bold looks made from the perfect blend of silk and cotton. Color looks great on you too so get out there and Beam Bold.

  1. Congratulations Audra! I can’t wait to see the line and read more of your travel experiences. Hopefully you can help a family of five make world travel a possibility with your tips and tricks
    XO Maxine

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