Best known for her namesake fashion line Harvey The Label, now a Rundle Street favourite, Adelaide designer Mim Harvey has proved that running a successful fashion business no longer requires a move interstate or overseas.
Mim started her career in fashion like most others wanting to get into the industry in South Australia. “I did two years of the TAFE SA fashion course and realised the business side of fashion was what I was passionate about, as well as design.” After graduating from the course, Mim decided going east would be the best move for her career.
“I applied for a job in Melbourne and moved there the next week,” Mim says. “I worked in bridal/formal wholesale, internationally managing expansions into the US…and part of the manufacturing out of Hong Kong/China.”
In 2015, Mim moved back home to start Harvey The Label. “I loved the immersive creative community Adelaide had to offer – especially in the growing start-up culture. When I left, there wasn’t a known community in Adelaide but when I returned Adelaide had significantly changed for the better,” Mim says. “The council was more involved with small start-up businesses, Renew Adelaide were offering free/affordable work spaces to let creatives grow and the networking community was amazingly welcoming.”
Harvey The Label was created out of Mim’s frustration for a lack of quality fashion at an accessible price point. “I couldn’t afford expensive designer pieces I admired when at TAFE (and at my first job in Melbourne) so I bought vintage and added straps, extra hemlines – [I] stole the boyfriend’s shirts, dying and taking sleeves on/off,” Mim says.
Harvey The Label is now stocked in over 180 online stores, and is centred on versatility and finding new ways to style a garment. “[There is] no point buying three tops when you can have over five looks in one item – or 15 in the case of our High Times Shirt. This is also part of [our] sustainable ethos.”
Mim has a strong ethical and sustainable focus for Harvey The Label. “Every 6 months I visit all of my manufacturers and check in on the processes. This ensures quality, reliability in my supply chain and makes sure the manufacturers are ethical,” Mim says. “It is the fun part of the business as I am able to – through bad Google translate – chat to the workers.”
In 2017, Mim decided to launch Harvey The Label’s first flagship boutique at 237 Rundle Street. “I had such an immense reaction when my lease ran out from our popup in Rundle Place with customers loving the personalised service and styling they received,” Mim says. “The move to Rundle St was a natural one location wise; being next to other designers/boutiques and having that customer already in the area who wants unique, well made designs but we offer them at a more accessible price point.”
At a time when online shopping is dominating the world of retail, Mim says her business has never been better. “Having a physical presence has grown my customer base and awareness exponentially. And having the head office above the store keeps our designs on the pulse of our regular customers’ feedback.”
Mim’s second label, Seeker Brand, consists of high quality ready to wear pieces with a quirky edge. Seeker was created when Harvey The Label began selling out quicker than Mim could keep up with, which she admits isn’t a bad problem to have. “Seeker is our fast fashion sourced brand. This was a massive necessity as Harvey is [designed to be] sustainable and only has a small run of each style…we only make what fabric is printed from that roll so some styles have more or less depending on what we can get,” Mim says. She also has a third label, AILA, which is focused on jewellery and accessories.
Mim’s most recent venture saw her Harvey The Label flagship boutique rebrand to Seeker Store, which Mim says allows her customers to differentiate between the different labels. “This also means we can add in other designers in the future to create more of a boutique atmosphere.”
Mim’s once small Adelaide fashion business is now blooming, taking on an extra three people just within the last six months. But it’s only onto bigger and better things for this Adelaide creative. “We have been accepted to be a part of Fashion Palette and showcase Harvey SS19 at NYFW in September,” Mim says. “We also hope to attend Coterie and will do photo shoots while over there, which we are so excited to do!”
You can shop Mim’s designs at 237 Rundle Street or at seekerstore.com.