A world between sewing machines, fashion shows and social media: What do you earn as a young fashion designer in addition to fashion giants such as H&M, Zara & Co? We asked Andrea Kerber from VIS A VIS.
"You don't talk about money" - this is especially true in Austria. Most of us keep our own salaries a secret. We are confronted with our finances every day. Where has the 100 in the wallet gone? How am I supposed to pay for the car to be repaired? How do other people manage to put something aside? And how much do the colleagues who sit with me in the office actually earn? Last but not least, this unnecessary secrecy with regard to income contributes to the fact that women still do not earn as much as their male colleagues. We say: No more, people talk about money! That is why in this series we ask women with a wide variety of professions: What does your world cost? How much do you earn? What is left at the end of the month? In the 21st part of our series, we spoke to a fashion designer about income and livelihoods.
Is life as a fashion designer really as dazzling as it is conveyed to us in films or on social networks? Do you earn tons of money with it and live The Sunny Side of Life? The reality is a bit different: It takes hard work to assert yourself as a small label against the big fashion chains of the world. Work that requires skill, self-confidence, perseverance and a good dose of passion.
In April 2016 Andrea Kerber (25) founded her own fashion label VIS A VIS. Since then she has been enchanting the Viennese fashion world with her urban and feminine creations. She uses the diversity of Vienna as a source of inspiration for her creative work. A few facts about Andreas' professional background: She attended the Higher Technical College for Fashion and Clothing Technology at the Modeferrari Innsbruck, where she completed a five-year training course in design and tailoring. Then she moved to Vienna, where she attended and graduated from the master class on Herbststrasse. Now, as a self-employed fashion designer with her own shop in Kirchengasse in the 7th district, she works an average of 8 to 12 hours a day - depending on the order situation.
WOMAN: How much do you earn a month?
Andrea: Since my income varies monthly depending on the order situation, I don't have a really stable income. My average turnover is between 4,000 and 6,000 euros gross. Experience shows that the months of January and August are very weak sales months, where I make less sales. But the remaining months are good - especially September, when I regularly present my collections at Fashion Week Vienna.
WOMAN: How high are your fixed costs?
Andrea: My fixed costs are around 2000 euros per month.
WOMAN: Do you have a private pension plan?
Andrea: I do not have a private pension plan, but I do have pension insurance with SVA Vienna. The contribution comes to around 520 euros in the quarter.
WOMAN: Are you saving money? When Yes, how much? Are you investing it in some form, such as home savings or something like that?
Andrea: Yes i save. But don't have a fixed amount. I put everything that is left over at the end of the month in a savings account.
WOMAN: How much is left at the end of the month?
Andrea:It's always different - depending on how much I sell.
WOMAN: Are you happy with what you deserve?
Andrea: In some months I'm very satisfied, in some not - it's all a matter of division for me.
WOMAN: Do you know what your colleagues earn?
Andrea: I don't know what my colleagues earn … Before I started my own business, I worked as a tailor for a year and I earned around 1200 euros net.
WOMAN: Compared to big fashion chains - where do you see the biggest hurdles as a self-employed fashion designer with regard to your income?
Andrea: Well, the big chains react faster and faster to trends and bring out something new every week - at prices where I as a designer cannot and do not want to keep up. My customers buy from me consciously and appreciate the local production. That's why they also accept to spend more money on sustainable fashion.
WOMAN: What do you like to spend money on?
Andrea: Leisure time and good food.
WOMAN: What would you like to spend more money on?
WOMAN: Do you talk to your friends about money?
Andrea: Yes, in my circle of friends we talk openly about money and salaries.
WOMAN: Is there any other income, for example from your partner? How do you share the expenses?
Andrea: I live in the same household with my friend who also has an income - we already share certain expenses.
WOMAN: What is your greatest luxury?
Andrea: My greatest luxury is when I can spend my free time with my boyfriend or girlfriend.
WOMAN: Would you say that you are good at dealing with money?
Andrea:Yes, I think I am good with money. Due to my irregular income, I have to allocate my money well.
WOMAN: Can you afford the things you would like or do you often have to go without something?
Andrea: I can actually afford anything I would like to have. And if not, I'll save up for it.
WOMAN: Would you rather earn more or work less and have less for that?
Andrea: I've found a good balance for myself and I'm very happy with my working hours. Of course, if I earned more, I wouldn't mind.
WOMAN: And how important is work to you in general? How important is it in your life?
Andrea: I've turned my hobby into a job and that's why I love my work. For me, my work (especially sewing) is usually very relaxing.