Elisha Casagrande, founder, Repeat Offender

I draw inspiration from people with big, almost impossible, dreams ...

Most of us can relate to the First World problem of having a wardrobe full of clothes, but nothing to wear. Forward-thinking Brisbane stylist Elisha Casagrande is here to help minimise the fashion wastage with the launch of an innovative new online shopping platform, Repeat Offender. Based on a fashion philosophy embracing repeat wear, the e-boutique exclusively stocks emerging Australian designers in a bid to help support and nurture the local fashion scene. The Weekend Edition caught up with Elisha this week to talk business advice and fashion faux pas.

How do you think the Brisbane fashion scene sits on the national stage?
You know what, Brisbane is getting there, quite rapidly actually! Once upon a time, I would have jumped at the opportunity to move interstate, though now I’m more than happy to sit back and see what the next few years has in store for us. The future looks promising!

What’s your idea of complete happiness?
After my family being happy and healthy, I’d have to say helping others. If you’re having a bad day, the single best thing you can do to boost your mood is give back to somebody else. Try it!

What inspires you?
Other people’s success. I draw a lot of inspiration from people who weren’t afraid to give it a go or those with big, almost impossible, dreams and goals.

What are your words of wisdom for those who have a dream but are too afraid to take the next step?
Break it down into much smaller, more manageable steps. It’s less daunting and usually ensures you iron out the finer details, which might make a difference in the long term.

What can you tell us about the concept behind Repeat Offender?
The concept behind Repeat Offender is to inspire women to think outside the square when it comes to dressing. Wardrobe wastage is one of the main fashion problems I help women overcome as a personal stylist, so showing the versatility of every piece on our site is incredibly important.

The e-boutique exclusively stocks Australian labels; who are some local Brisbane designers or brands we should be checking out?
Two of my favourite accessory labels were born and bred, and still reside in Brisbane – Molten Store and Knots and Knits!

What’s the best advice you received while setting up your business?
The best advice always comes from my husband, probably because he knows me so well – he’s constantly telling me not to compare my concept or business model to others and only now am I starting to understand why this is so crucial. It’s so easy to get caught up in your competition, though doing this has got to be one of the biggest inspiration killers and will slowly devalue your business.

What were your biggest challenges in the launch?
I’d have to say finding Australian labels that lived up to my expectations in terms of quality and aesthetic. I’m extremely picky so just because we were a new store, I wasn’t prepared to settle for anything less than amazing.

… and the greatest rewards?
Definitely repeat customers! If a customer continues to come back and shop with us, I know that they’ve had a great experience and like what they see. That’s the icing on the cake for me and fortunately almost all of our customers to date have come back month after month.

You curate a small wardrobe capsule for the site every month; what are the pre-requisites that each piece has to meet before it makes the cut?
My number one shopping rule is: if you can’t wear it at least five ways, forget about it! When I’m browsing new season collections, I look at every piece on offer and mentally compile a heap of different ways to wear it. If the outfit combinations are seemingly endless, that particular piece will end up in our store. The versatility has to be there.

What are your long-term plans for Repeat Offender?
The goal for Repeat Offender is to definitely grow its online store to offer complete looks including shoes and accessories. More importantly, however, our main focus is to build a team of stylists and expand into bricks and mortar. We have big plans moving forward.

You’re also a personal styling consultant, what’s your #1 tip for how to dress well?
To know and understand your body shape. When you’ve got this sorted, everything else will fall into place with ease!

What’s the most common fashion mistake you see?
Probably women who try to introduce too many different styles into their ‘look’. This is a sure-fire way of wasting money and will leave you frustrated and uninspired when it comes to dressing.

What do you think is the biggest myth about the fashion industry?
That it’s glamorous. The entire industry is far from it – looks can be very deceiving! In saying this though, if you look the part, you feel the part, so it’s a catch 22 really …

Only a Brisbane local would know that … we love our one-way streets! A bike is a great investment in Brisbane.

Relax …
 No More Knots in Greenslopes.
Indulge … Cinco Bistro in Camp Hill.
Shop … my lounge. Online shopping all the way!
Catch-up … The Loaded Shot in Camp Hill for coffee; At Sixes and Sevens in Fortitude Valley for drinks.
Be inspired … Noosa Heads.


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