“It has been a lot of hard work,” she says. “Ironically, I think it only gets harder as you go along. Because I feel like now we are in an awkward adolescent stage. We are not the new kid on the block, the shiny and bright thing. We are at a bit of a reckoning point where we are figuring out what the brand is in this phase. It’s a crossroads – we have the capacity to grow, but how much do we want to do that?”
I am constantly asking myself, what is the value proposition for the customer? Why would they buy it?
— Anna Hoang
Currently stocked by the likes of Net-A-Porter, Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford and David Jones, retail seems to be the next logical step. But Hoang is not convinced.
“I worry about inventory, rent, inflation… I won’t say no, or never, but right now it’s not my top priority. I want to feel super-comfortable with every decision. I’m not ready yet.”
Hoang started Anna Quan in 2013 with a run of shirts, made because “they were relatively inexpensive and I knew how to make them,” she says. “I was a no-name designer, and they were simple to produce and sample.”
The brand first resonated with New Yorkers, who Hoang believes discovered it via celebrity stylist Kate Young, an early fan. “It was very specific. It was New York women who would write to me and say, ‘I wear the shirt on the subway, and people ask me about it all the time.’ ” It was the first sense she had that the products were finding an audience beyond Hoang herself.
And while Hoang will bring back those shirts, with their signature elongated