Alana Barker: Mission Kawaii

Alana Barker enrolled onto the Be The Boss programme whilst studying fashion at the University of Derby alongside a business management course on 26th September 2016.

Alana always wanted to run her own fashion business since being a teenager, she successfully incorporated her business Mission Kawaii Ltd on 27th January 2017. Kawaii is Japanese for cute and the brand is described as colourful new street fashion, featuring original prints and playful designs focused on retro pop culture. With the £1,500 bursary from the Be The Boss programme, Alana was able to buy her first stock order and set up her website.

“I enjoyed the programme very much, it was fun and engaging, the mix of different styles of delivery really helped keep focus on my business ideas. As a direct result of the programme, I have been able to create my web shop, set up logistics with Amazon and source my suppliers in the Far East.”

On 2nd October 2017, Alana showcased her 22-piece collection at Liverpool Fashion Week in front of an audience that included fashion journalists.

As well as having her own brand, Alana landed a deal in which she will be the only UK supplier of cutting edge Japanese label Liz Lisa. Alana was referred through a friend, to meet with the president of the company who was a big fan of Liz Lisa clothes and worked in the company’s communications department. Alana spent a week in Tokyo where she was shown the sample studio and it was agreed that Alana would exclusively stock and distribute the products in the UK.

Alana now runs her business from one of the University of Derby’s incubation units Banks Mill Studios.

You can read more about Alana's success in this news article.