Hailing from Brisbane, sisters-in-law Thessy & Yiota Kouzoukas came up with the idea of a fashion blog while they were studying business at Griffith University. Now, with 1.6 million Instagram followers alone, their fashion empire boasts an incredible celebrity following with some of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood wearing their labels like Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner and Amber Rose. After showing at New York Fashion Week for two years running, the duo made the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Thessy and Yiota will be joining us at 9 to Thrive this year, speaking on the #SELFMADE panel in Melbourne.
In part four of our 9 to Thrive content series, we asked Thessy and Yiota how they got to where they are now. If you’ve missed our other interviews, catch up with all our 9 to Thrive speakers stories here.
Names: Thessy and Yiota Kouzoukas
Reach: 1.6 million followers
Where we live: Brisbane, Queensland
Apps we can’t live without: Instagram, Facebook, Google Analytics and Uber Eats!
Thessy: Creative Director and co-owner of Sabo Skirt
Yiota: Managing Director and co-owner of Sabo Skirt
One word that sums up your lives:
My first email address was:
What we were doing before this…
Yiota: We were both studying, working part-time and blogging before we launched our online store. We planned and saved for a year before we decided to take the risk and start our store, Sabo Skirt. We set up our stockroom in a spare bathroom at Thessy’s house and worked during every spare moment to really try and make this work.
After nine months of slow growth, we posted a cocktail dress for sale that went viral. Within a month, this style of dress had sold out over 10 times and we had increased our orders by 400%. It was a game-changer. We were able to rent our first proper office/stockroom and we haven’t look back since! It was shortly after that we launched our own, exclusive Sabo Skirt label.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Yiota: We’re so blessed to love our jobs! We get to work with the most amazing team every day doing amazing things, so it’s easy for us to get out of bed in the mornings. Although we do love our weekend sleep ins haha.
Do you ever achieve Inbox Zero? Or is it mission impossible?
Thessy: I’ve actually gotten into the habit of reaching Inbox Zero every morning before I move onto my next task at work. It’s such a fulfilling experience, ha!
Do you have a fitness routine? What do you do?
Yiota: We do a big team training session four times a week with our trainer, which always starts with a basketball game followed by a 40 minute workout. We also do a group dancing lesson once a week!
How did you grow your audience to 1.6 million followers?
Thessy: We started our Instagram profile @saboskirt before the app itself had really gained popularity. We could see the marketing value in using all of our unique visual content on a dedicated photo app, so we started to use it as part of our marketing mix from an early stage. By using relevant, high quality images that were unique to our brand, we were able to organically grow our Instagram profile to where it is today.
Open places offices are the best /worst thing that happened to the workplace because …
Yiota: Definitely the best! Open place offices really encourage the team to work collaboratively and have an open line of communication. We are a family at Sabo and I think you should be able to tell your family anything and that is how our office operates.
What’s your workspace look like?
Yiota: We invested in our own office/warehouse space three years ago that we completely renovated. We wanted to keep the Sabo Skirt aesthetic that’s used across our branding in mind, so our open office workspace is based around fresh white walls and floors with gold and wooden accents throughout. We also have a large glass wall that creates a connected feeling between the office and warehouse. It’s definitely become our sanctuary and home away from home.
Where’s the weirdest place your work has taken you?
I’m not really sure about the weirdest place our job has taken us, but the most breathtaking has definitely been Santorini in Greece, we did a shoot there last year and can’t wait to return!
What’s your best timesaving shortcut or life hack?
Thess: Online grocery shopping is the best shortcut ever! Not only is it delivered to your door, but you also avoid buying all those extra things that you don’t need when you’re shopping in store.
Current Netflix binge/podcasts I’m listening to / books I’m reading:
Yiota: Currently waiting for the next Suits series to come out!
How much time do you spend on social media every week?
Thessy: Social media is such an important part of our marketing mix and daily sales driver, so we spend quite a lot of time on Instagram and Facebook. We not only use Instagram for posting products and relevant content, but also to find new photoshoot location and model inspo.
What do you do to forget about work? Recharge?
Yiota: Thess and I love to indulge in massages to not only unwind and relax, but to also keep our bodies in their best physical state. We also love late brunch sessions on the weekends.
What’s the last thing you do before going to bed?
Thessy: I definitely pull out my phone for a last Instagram check on our accounts @saboskirt and @saboluxe and I know Yiota will be checking over Google Analytics data right before bed.
How many hours sleep per night do you get?
Yiota: We love sleep! So we both try to get in 8 hours a night, whether that means missing out on another Netflix episode or training in the afternoon for a little extra sleep in the morning.
What’s a misconception or one thing no one else knows about you?
Thessy: That we are sisters or twins! We are actually sisters-in-law. Yiota married my brother George almost 4 years ago.