24 May 2019 | 04.03 pm
Fashion Self Employment On The Internet
Susannah Jackson's Bellarel has a very simple model
24 May 2019 | 04.03 pm
Former restaurant owner Susannah Jackson has turned to the internet for her new business venture: a website that sells classic dresses at the single price point of €129.
Jackson (pictured) started her career in the hospitality industry in Dawson Street’s Café Klara and went on work in Lillie’s Bordello and Tante Zoes. A move to London followed in the 1990s where Jackson fronted a high-end brasserie before joining the management team at exclusive nightclub Tramp.
In 2003, Jackson returned to Dublin and, in partnership with her sister, took over the lease of chic Italian restaurant Il Posto on St. Stephen’s Green.
In 2016, for medical reasons Jackson had to exit the restaurant trade and she started to focus on the Bellarel idea.
Her starting point was identifying a gap in the fashion market for a constantly available and affordable range of ‘desk to dinner dresses’ in machine washable, stretchy, figure flattering fabrics in classic, seasonless colours.
“While I had no background in fashion, I had a very clear idea of the concept of the brand and the designs of the dresses that I wanted, so there was a lot of drawing, tweaking and sampling before it all came together,” Jackson explains.
To bring the idea to fruition required sourcing fabric and a manufacturer for the dress designs and, secondly, developing a website to sell the goods. For the sharp website design and e-commerce functionality, Jackson turned to Dublin web agency Nettl.
The online Bellarel store offers a small collection of dresses, all priced at €129 each, aimed at busy working women from mid 20s to 60s who appreciate the ease of popping on a dress that they feel confident and comfortable in for work and socialising.
The range includes three stretch jersey dresses and one viscose shirt dress: Carmen, the pencil; Maie, the wrap; Ellie, the A line; and Lily the limited edition shirt dress. Colours include black, ivory, red and navy, along with two limited edition prints.
According to Jackson: “My aim is to expand the range of colours and styles to allow discerning women even more choice in stunning workwear that’s practical, affordable and effortlessly chic.”