Building a Fashion Brand in the South with Savannah Yarborough

Savannah Yarborough, owner and creative director of SAVAS, discusses the unique experience of growing an in-demand fashion business in Nashville.

Savannah Yarborough knows that fashion is deeply personal, and she’s passionate about working with clients to create their dream pieces. Yarborough is the owner and creative director of SAVAS, a leather goods company specializing in jackets and footwear.

“I know every single person that I’ve made something for personally,” Yarborough shared, describing the process of creating custom jackets, which can take anywhere from 6 weeks to a year. “It really is an emotional process for me and for them. Everyone in their brain has a leather jacket that they’ve always dreamt of, or they’ve tried on 100 of them and there’s always something wrong.”

In this episode of Disrupt the Continuum, recorded at 3686 Festival, Yarborough shares about her commitment to quality and customization, and she discusses some of the unique parts of running a fashion business in the South.

If you’re interested in hearing more conversations like these, join us for the next 3686 Festival, set to return this summer! More information will be coming soon, including official dates, registration details, speakers and networking opportunities you won’t want to miss.

Valuing Quality Over Growth

Though Yarborough sometimes dreams of developing SAVAS into a massive business, she also loves the fact that her smaller brand allows her to be extremely involved in creating pieces that people care about. With every product she makes, Yarborough follows two rules. First, she’ll only make something if it’s perfect and going to be worn. Two, she makes each piece at the highest quality possible.

“Coming out of the fashion industry in a job where I designed all of these collections every year, and it was all of this stuff, I knew that I didn’t want to contribute to the stuff. I wanted to make pieces that get worn and that’s it,” she explained.

And while she does eventually want to expand her business to create a wider range of products, she’s determined to stick to her two rules and only start something new when she’s able to do so in the best possible way.

“As we grow, we’re only going to grow when it’s right and can be done in that same way. So do I want to design head to toe? Absolutely. Will we get there? Probably. I don’t know how long it will take. But I’m not looking to just build up a look and then sell it to some VC fund. I want it to be my business,” Yarborough explained.

Creating Fashion in the South

As a designer who grew up in the South but trained in London, Yarborough has a unique perspective on the role of fashion in different cultures and regions.

“When people live in a big city, they wear things that push those limits a little bit more,” she argued. “Because there are so many people so close to them, they want to be their individual self, and they want to show off their individual sense of style.”

While fashion in the South has perhaps focused more on fitting in traditionally, Yarborough is working to help people find clothes that express their individual styles. From a business standpoint, she also believes the South is a great place to build a creative business.

“There’s so much potential in the Southeast, because there’s a lot of open space down here to do new stuff and bring stuff to this area and create whatever it is that you want to create,” she explained. “There are so many ways to form relationships.”

Please subscribe, rate, and review Disrupt the Continuum wherever you listen to podcasts. This season of Disrupt the Continuum is powered by Pinnacle Financial Partners. We’d love for you to join us next year at Launch Tennessee’s 3686 Festival to hear more stories about innovation and entrepreneurship. Watch this space for more information about 2021’s Festival, returning this summer.

Empowering Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and working to make TN the most startup-friendly state in the nation. Host of 36|86 Festival | launchtn.org

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store