Rotten Interview: The Top
January 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
This interview with Miss December Singer/Songwriter/Fashion designer Gina Katon is a two-piece, like a bikini. In The Top we are talking about Miss Katon’s clothing line Rotten Couture. Personally, I admire Gina for her drive and fearless attitude. I hope you take some inspiration from her words to propel you into the new year.
The Internet Bachelorette: When did you make the decision to start this business and let other things go?
Gina Katon: I was in my girl group, before Gina and the Eastern Block, and we were just waiting around for calls. There was a lot of time just waiting around, so I started stitching by the pool with a needle and thread. One day I found a pillowcase when I was cleaning out a closet and it was the best material. I love onsies, and I wanted to make one out of this pillowcase. I had never stitched anything in my life. It took me three months, hand stitched. I was so proud. I started wearing it out, and people were like, “where did you get that? I want one!” So I started working on more. I’d work on them during dance jobs and the dancers would ask me, “can you make me one?” I started thinking, this could be pretty cool.
GK: Yeah, I started, for fun, making sketches of things I could make. One day my boyfriend brought home a sewing machine. It was a surprise. He saw me hand stitching for three months on the first one. It was the best day.
TIB: When did you start re-imagining vintage?
GK: I love collecting vintage everything. I started shopping and scoring the best pieces. It seriously started from the ground up. Mom and pop shop.
TIB: Yeah, the first one was from a pillowcase!
GK: But everyone love it! People would ask me to let them know when I had something new and they’d come over to try it on. Immediately I had a lot of business and sold out all my pieces.
TIB: Did you ever imagine this, being a fashion designer?
TIB: Because this was born organically, almost as a hobby, and once the demand was so high, how did you break into the fashion industry with little formal training?
GK: I was hard because I really didn’t know anything about it. I just thought I’d make it and sell it to my dancer friends. Once I started I got it in stores right away. Luckily my friend was working at a high end boutique in LA and helped me get a meeting with her manager. The woman was like, “why don’t I know about you, I need this in the store.” I would give them about 7 at a time and they were selling for about $170. Girls were buying this and wanted to spend money on it. That gave me a lot of confidence to keep it going.
TIB: What other supporters have you had?
GK: My friends and other dancers were very supportive. My line was, “Come model for me and I’ll let you keep your favorite piece.” So I was able to get some good photography of the collection. It wasn’t that hard to round up the girls. I would make sale days at my house, have champagne and get a groups of friends over to shop. My friends would bring friends and no one would walk away with less than 2 or 3. I have my recurring costumers, my Rotten Queens. Once everyone started seeing all these hot girls rocking it, they wanted it.
TIB: Helps to have hot friends.
GK: Another hot friend started Dance Track Magazine and gave me a six page spread in this magazine. It was bad-ass, and I got business from that. And she did a follow up article on me a year later and now the magazine is at Barnes and Noble, she got it published everywhere.
TIB: Any mentors?
GK: I was desperately searching for guidance. Instead people were looking to partner. But I’m not looking for a partner. I was still new, I don’t really want to collaborate that way.
TIB: What is your goal for this business?
GK: Ultimate dream goal for Rotten Couture would be to have my own store with one of a kind items, but massive distribution of my favorites.
TIB: Do you wear you’re line onstage? Where do your costumes come from for Gina and the Eastern Block?
GK: I don’t necessarily wear Rotten Couture performing, but I consider the onstage look to be Rotten. It represents two different sides of me, my clothes and my music. My clothes are very girly and vintage, floral, sexy. Then my music is trashy, tomboy rocker, sexy… Well I guess sexy goes all the way around for me.
TIB: Yes, it certainly does. Let’s talk about Facebook. How has Facebook helped a small boutique business like Rotten Couture?
GK: You know that “people you may know” box on Facebook? Once a week I’ll go through that and add girls, maybe 50 at a time and from that alone I’ve gained new costumers. Sometimes I don’t even realize and I’ll ask, “How’d you find me?” and they’ll say that I added them on Facebook.
TIB: So it’s almost like standing on a virtual street corner and handing out flyers.
GK: Yeah! So I guess it’s working. But it’s cool because this girl came over just the other day because I added her on Facebook and bought three of my pieces, and wants to come back for more. If I hadn’t done that she might not know I even exist. Twitter is cool because you can tag people. Everyone is obsessed with themselves, which is why they tweet, they’ll read it. I tagged Brittney Spears and all these celebrities, and for some reason Jenna Jameson replied and asked me to send her one. Things like that, random connections. I have some followers who will retweet everything I do, and I have never met them before.
GK: I love when girls com to see my collection, even if they’re strangers or my friends, and they try every single thing on. Right away that’s a good sign, and they have a hard time deciding which ones they like best. And they all feel super hot, and rotten they take pictures. People buy my stuff for special occasions and that’s really flattering. Girls get them for their birthdays, we all know how important the birthday outfit is, hello!
TIB: How has this new business changed you as a person?
GK: I’m busy from morning to night, there is always something to do. I can’t watch my clothes make themselves. Before I would wait around by the pool, for auditions. I’d wait around in between dance jobs. I’d wait around for people to make decisions in my girl group, but now I have something of mine that I need to do. This gave me a better work ethic and drive because it’s all me.
All the onesies featured are original creations by Gina Katon.
Learn more about the amazing recording artist, dancer, performer and fashion designer, Gina Katon…
All Photos By: Pablo Hernandez