Cherelle Kellenbach from Rotterdam is an up and coming pin designer inspired by Japanese kawaii culture. She spent her college years in art school and used her love for fashion accessories and affordable, high quality design to create her colourful Cute As Buttons boutique. Her Cute As Buttons boutique features adorable, delicately painted pins alongside bold phone cases, and other sweet accessories. We decided to catch up with Cherelle to find out more about her love for fashion accessories and perspective on owning a pin accessory business.
Interview by Celine Douet
Tell us about yourself… Have you always been into fashion and accessories?
I’ve always been into fashion and accessories. I love little details because they can really make a simple outfit special. A nice pair of sunglasses, a belt or jewellery, it’s all about little details. I started my own business because I could almost never find in stores what I myself wanted to buy. There were similar things to my taste, but there was almost always something off about it, or it was simply too expensive. I like to sell things that I myself would want to buy.
Who are your style icons?
Ever since I was a little girl, I really loved Posh Spice, not just her clothing as much as her attitude. Same with Wednesday Addams, Margot Tenenbaum and Winona Ryder in 90s. I love the weird gothy mysterious type.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it translate into your designs?
I am very inspired by Japanese Kawaii culture. l’ve always loved colourful and cute stuff. This year I went to Tokyo for the first time and it was so much more than I could ever imagine. The pins are basically the outcome of my colourful kawaii dreams.
What are some of the challenges you face owning your own fashion accessory business?
My biggest struggle right now is that I want to do everything myself. I do the designs, stock acquisition, sending out packages, the photo shoots, the website and social media, markets, festivals and concept stores that sell my products. It’s all a bit much for just one person so I got to pass on some tasks to people that could really focus on one thing and probably do an ever better job than I do with my mind on 10 different things.
What’s some advice you could give to young women or men interested in starting their own fashion business?
Just start. You don’t need to have everything perfectly planned out, you will learn along the way what works and what doesn’t. You should also socialise and network a lot, it’s important that you tell and show everyone what you do so that they will think of you when, for example; there’s a store looking for a fresh designer or a stylist in need of unique accessories for a shoot. Also don’t be afraid to take risks, if it doesn’t work out you’ll learn from it and do it differently next time, and if it does work out you hit the jackpot! There is nothing more satisfying than this.
Cherelle is now selling some her favourite pins on YEAY. Alongside Cute As Buttons, Cherelle is also the owner of the Hello Sunnies boutique, which is coming soon to the app – so stay tuned!
Get the YEAY app in the iTunes Store or in Google Play to follow Cute As Buttons and Hello Sunnies!