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Where Sustainable Fashion Meets Timeless Elegance - An Exclusive Interview with Founder Anna Balashova Jones

Where Sustainable Fashion Meets Timeless Elegance - An Exclusive Interview with Founder Anna Balashova Jones

. Discover how Balushka is redefining the fashion industry, one exquisite garment at a time.

June 9th, 2023

Step into the enchanting world of Balushka, where tradition meets innovation, and summer dreams come to life. In this captivating interview, we have the privilege of speaking with Anna Balashova Jones, the visionary founder and passionate driving force behind the esteemed fashion brand. Prepare to be inspired as Anna shares her remarkable journey, filled with determination, creativity, and a burning desire to make a positive impact on our planet.

Join us as we embark on a transformative exploration of fashion, sustainability, and the power of following one's dreams.

What is the brand identity of Balushka?

Balushka was founded in early 2018 with the aim of sharing traditions and heritage while creating sophisticated and fashionable summer-inspired items that are also fun. Our clothing stands out due to its top quality and sustainable production. We embrace the idea of Eco-chic and sustainable fashion by using linen, which is an eco-friendly and sustainable fabric that minimizes waste and resource consumption. We also prioritize traditional hand embroidery techniques, ensuring the highest quality and durability of our designs. Through this approach, we support small, specialised factories and independent artisans.

In your opinion, what sets you apart from other fashion brands?

Our brand values and identity are simple yet vital for sustainability. Moreover, we have a defining mission that distinguishes us. We combine elegant and timeless styles with a focus on quality and sustainability, something that is often lacking in trendy brands. By aiming for perfection in all these aspects, we create a unique collection that stands out.

How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?

First and foremost, we want women to feel comfortable. We prioritize the use of organic and recycled textiles, avoiding synthetic fabrics that can feel uncomfortable on the skin. Secondly, we want women to feel feminine. Even our oversized minimalistic shirts are designed to look sophisticated on a woman's body. Lastly, we want women to feel confident. Our timeless elegance allows individuals to make a subtle yet impactful statement about their taste and style.

Tell us about the journey that led you to launch your brand, Balushka…

Since I was little, I had a passion for sketching and making dresses, starting with dolls and later attending sewing classes at school. However, when it came time to choose a career path, I played it safe and studied economics for five years, leaving my design aspirations in the background. While I didn't dislike economics, it didn't ignite my passion either. At some point, I took a risk and moved to Milan to study fashion management. Although I worked for well-known brands, I realized that my entrepreneurial nature was not satisfied with purely executive roles, which ultimately led me to found my own line in 2018.

Having learned about the fashion industry from the inside, I became increasingly disappointed with its negative impact on our planet and our future, particularly with fast fashion. Temporary trends, false notions of importance, and media influence have resulted in excessive overproduction and consumption, polluting our oceans. Clothing has lost its quality, being poorly produced and violating working conditions in many countries. These are just a few obvious consequences of blind seasonal fashion trends.

Simultaneously, I developed immense respect for artisans worldwide, appreciating the quality of their work and their mission to preserve traditions. In Balushka, we aim to popularise traditional handwork and show younger generations that these traditions are cool too. One challenge for artisanal traditions is that young people often don't want to follow in the footsteps of their mothers and grandmothers, leading to a decline in heritage preservation.

Therefore, when contemplating the idea of launching a brand in 2017-2018, the only option for me, as someone who still loved making clothes, was to create a sustainable brand. I wanted to consciously produce and have a mission to improve our planet rather than contribute to its destruction. We initially started with a women's line and have plans to expand our selection to include men and children.

What's the process behind launching a new collection?

Launching a new collection is a complex and exciting process that can take a considerable amount of time. It begins with shaping the idea, considering styles, colors, and the overall composition of the collection. Then, we search for suppliers and collaborate on designing, usually as a team. This involves numerous attempts and failures until we choose the right style options. We also seek feedback and desires from our customers regarding new styles and colors, as conscious production is a significant part of our brand. We aim to create styles that are in demand and will be genuinely worn, rather than solely satisfying the designer's ego.

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced as an entrepreneur so far?

Among all the challenges of building a business (especially with the interruptions caused by COVID), finding a work-life balance has been the most significant struggle. Many entrepreneurs can relate to the feeling that whatever they are doing is not enough, and they could always do more. While there may be some truth to this, it's not a healthy conviction for one's mental well-being. We are not omnipotent, and there are only 24 hours in a day. Spending time with family and friends is vital and shouldn't be overlooked.

Looking back since launching the brand, is there anything you would do differently?

Probably not. We have faced various challenges as a brand, particularly regarding production, differences in markets and cultural approaches, and finding reliable partners. Personally, I have also encountered challenges throughout the process of building the brand. However, I firmly believe that everything happens for the best, and we learn from difficult times and wrong decisions. Often, the most important lessons and ideas stem from these challenges. With hindsight, decisions that may have seemed wrong at the time have brought us to where we are today as a brand and as individuals.

How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?

Surprisingly, social media is not yet crucial for us, although we have been working on improving our social media presence lately. It is a powerful tool that we are still exploring. Currently, we primarily sell our products through multi-brand platforms, pop-up stores, private events, and, of course, through our clients' recommendations.

What is your go-to quote when lacking motivation?

"Remember why you started and where you are going."

What advice would you offer to aspiring artists who want to launch their own brand?

Just go for it! The sooner you start, the better. You will learn by doing and generate more ideas along the way. Stay true to the identity you define and learn to trust your instincts.

Our readers love to travel. What is your all-time favourite destination and why?

Currently, I'm thinking about the Maldives for its diving opportunities and the feeling of being connected to nature. My husband and I once went there at the beginning of the rainy season when we both had a free week. It was absolutely marvelous! There were fewer people, the sun wasn't scorching, and I genuinely rested for the first time in a long while.

I also love vibrant cities that inspire and energise me. I'm always happy to return to London, Amsterdam, and New York City.

What's next for the business?

We are currently working on an evening dresses line suitable for vacations and a winter capsule collection. The philosophy behind these collections remains the same: elegant, timeless designs that can remain relevant for many seasons. We prioritise quality, organic and skin-friendly materials, sustainable fabric sourcing, and conscious production. Additionally, we are collaborating with artisans from Spain and Ukraine on capsule collections, incorporating their traditional embroidery techniques while staying true to our brand roots.

What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care means staying true to yourself and your values. Your heart will guide you through life's difficulties and lead you to your true essence and passions. It's important to listen to your internal voice and trust it. Personally, practicing yoga, meditation, and spending time alone have been essential self-care practices.

Where can people find out more?

Visit our website, www.LoveBalushka.com or follow our Instagram https://www.instagram.com/love.balushka/

Laura Bartlett

Laura Bartlett

Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.