Aliska (left) is wearing a Freya Dress (size XS), Cylia (right) is wearing an Elodie Tier Dress (size S) and a Frankie Blouse (size M)
Behind The Brand - This is us. Cylia & Aliska. We started as friends, not knowing we'd become business partners a few years later. We were on our own journey on opposite sides of the world before we started PALAVER. And we'll share some of that journey with you today.
We lead by love in everything that we do. Just like every other human being, we don't know the answers. We are all trying our best. We are not perfect. We believe there’s strength in our weakness and if you lead with love and your intentions are pure, nothing will stand in the way.
In celebration of our second anniversary we reflect on what we've learnt so far and how PALAVER has helped us not only pursue our dreams, but taught us so many valuable lessons.
How we started PALAVER
We both come from different backgrounds and born on opposite sides of the world. Aliska was born in Sydney, Australia and studied law and is still active in the legal industry. Cylia was born in Amsterdam and studied Social Work at Uni and has a background in both fashion and Social Media. We met each other through our husbands. Coincidentally, Aliska married a Dutch guy and Cylia married an Australian guy. It so happens that Aliska moved to Holland and Cylia moved to Australia around the same time.
We became really good friends and never would we have thought that one day we would be working with each other. We both always, secretly, wanted our own clothing label for a really long time, but never really talked about it with each other. We somehow got to brainstorming our future plans and realised we both wanted to start a clothing label and that we would be a really good fit as business partners. We talked about it for hours and somehow our vision and idea for a clothing label matched perfectly. We both thought that it was too good to be true.
Before PALAVER we both ventured out on our own and tried to start our own labels, but they didn’t work out and we separately came to the same conclusion: both timing and people were not right. When we decided on PALAVER and to do it together, things started falling into place, the ball started rolling and we started gaining momentum. This time we knew – right timing, right people. Funnily enough the right timing coincided with both of us falling pregnant.
When something is close to your heart, it’s hard to let go, and be vulnerable again. We both had experienced the heartaches of disappointments in the past with business partners and bad investments. We thought about it really well and couldn’t pass this opportunity.
Even though circumstances made it seem impossible for us to work with each other: communicating long distance, different timezones, pregnancy and new borns… Everything from that point on, has literally been a dream and so many things have come together… Faith and timing has shown us that if you let go of ‘the old’ completely, life will show you so much more. More than we could ever imagine.
Cylia is wearing a Freya Dress (size XS)
Cylia's Personal Journey
In my younger years I always had the best time playing outside with friends and my older sister, just running around and exploring the world. But I somehow felt like I never really belonged anywhere. I was born in Amsterdam and grew up in the small town of Landsmeer (near Amsterdam) and then moved to a bigger city. I never looked at myself as ‘different’, but other people would point out I looked different. My parents worked all the time so I never really spent time with them other than holidays. So I always had this big imagination and would spend hours thinking about what I’d do and who I was going to be when I lived in a different world. I grew up not liking the world and its people very much because the way I had been treated. But despite my fear of being rejected, I always took risks, because, at the same time, I felt like I had nothing to lose. Things that are scary but exciting at the same time attract me. Other than becoming a mother, one of my biggest life lessons was the four years that I spend in Australia (we only just moved back to Amsterdam in February this year). It taught me so many lessons about myself and that I can't always keep searching for something better, that sometimes, and actually, most of the time: we already have everything what we need. I just needed to move to the other side of the world to realise that.
Only after I turned 26, I realised I had to really love myself first before I could give love to others. When I started doing this, everything fell into place. This would also be my advice to my younger self: don't worry about anything, just focus on your own path, work hard, be kind and the right thing will come when it's time. My personal journey has been a journey of self love and accepting myself for who I am. I turn 30 this year, I'm married, a first-time mother and I get to do what I absolutely love.
I truly believe that the journey I’ve been on has taken me to this path. Everything that I get to do with and for PALAVER has given me great joy. I’m now in a stage in my life where I have a great relationship with my parents and everyone around me and I have accepted myself for who I am. It’s a never ending process, but I’m enjoying it while it’s happening.
Sharing a quote that I wrote when I was fourteen (I was always looking for answers, for something greater than us):
"A lottery. with luck you can win one. balancing our way to the top, our goals and wishes. the feeling that's seeking for truth. Unconsciously living a lie, following into deep. we can achieve so many great things, with power and strength. walk away from the negative and give yourself a rest. don’t hesitate, don’t doubt. it's of course your decision in the end. but don’t lose yourself by impressing others. don’t let your soul be taken away by others. make chances that'll benefit you. think about the lovely things. deepest and darkest thoughts are hidden away in your head. afraid or scared. where will it take me. out of place, blindfold. where lays the solution, its up to you. if you don’t step it up, no one will. - Cylia"
(an old quote, from 2004.. when I was fourteen.)
Aliska's Personal Journey
I feel like my life is a summation of thousands and thousands of little prayers... attentively listened to, carefully sorted and so lovingly kept.
If I could write a note to my small self, i would say self, don't hide. I still catch myself trying to hide, who I am and I still, in my thirties, don't know why I do it.
Palaver has forced me in both a gentle and relentless way to confront parts of myself that I've hidden away, parts of myself that I thought were dispensable.
I'm still so perplexed as to how we got here, I wasn't particularly looking, more trying, more stumbling, then more praying, and now we’re here. What a mystery this place is.
For now though, I want to leave you with a quote that puts to words an unexplainable comfort which I've been lucky to have known since I was so small...
“One can't be misunderstood when you pray.” - Tess Guinery
Cylia is wearing a Suki Wrap Blouse (size S), Oscar Pant (size M)
Cylia looks after our Branding, Marketing, Content Creation and Customer Service.
I'm continuously creating. I do a lot of research on everything that I do, I reflect, I take the time to let an idea sink in, and only act on it when it makes my heart go faster. The most important thing in everything that I do is that it's authentic and that I stay true to who I am. I believe there's a time for everything and when a great opportunity comes on my path, but it's not the right timing, then I will leave it for now. I've learned that everyone else has their own timing too, so it takes time to create something. When it's time to let go of something that's not quite right, I really feel like this will be best for myself and my creativity in the long-run and give my full attention to whatever I'm doing right now.
I work with people that I'm already friends with or that I know through people that I trust. Everything that I put out there for people to see, comes from my heart, from a very vulnerable place. So the people I work with have to reflect this or else I can't produce genuine content. Yet I'm open to learn from everyone that I meet. It's an attitude that I put on in the morning so that I won't miss any opportunities to be a kind person and start the day right. You never know what the day will bring. I feel like you're never too old to learn. This way you can create a space for magic to come in and things that would only come when you least expect it.
The customers that I get to talk to, the conversations that we have, are so special to me. If I could, I would hug every single one of you. You are my inspiration to do better and be a better person.
Aliska looks after Design and Production.
It was so strange, for years I had been pursuing my career goals as a lawyer. Then one day, what seemed to me like out of the blue, I picked up a pencil, started drawing clothing, and just wasn't able to stop.
Its been a confronting thing discovering the creative part of me. For years I've looked at this part of me and seen it as getting in the way of the analytical, serious things I needed to do. I'm learning now its not either/or but both.
Designing a piece of clothing, trying to understand the flow of fabric, why it works in this way, why it doesn't work in that way, the way that color makes people feel, really, I cant believe that this is my work.
At the same time appreciating the work and value of others that contribute to making Palaver what it is, our ateliers, artisans that are so patient with us and so talented in what they do.
And of course our forever inspiration, this beautiful planet. Making sure we can do all we can so our children and their children can enjoy her. From biodegradable buttons, to organic thread, natural fabrics and seasonless designs.
These are the swirls of thoughts running through my mind when designing any of our clothing. Hence the name Palaver meaning to discuss with much talk.
Our vision for PALAVER
We will continue to make beautiful clothing that has a slow living lifestyle at its foundation. We have so many dreams and wishes for PALAVER. We have found that focusing on one thing at a time is an art.
PALAVER is a space where you can be yourself. Everyone has their own journey and grows on their own terms. A space where you can rest, pause, reflect. It's something we envisioned before we started PALAVER, and over the past two years, has evolved into the space PALAVER is today.
We aim to create a collection of timeless pieces that are down to earth, authentic and true to our values. We create designs that not only reflect our style but also our beliefs. We both believe in slow, thoughtful living and our designs embody these values. They are pieces of clothing that are not dictated by fast, short-lived trends – but are designed with longevity in mind. Clothing you can wear season after season, clothing that stands the test of time.
We aspire to share our motto and vision we both have in life. With everything that we’ve experienced personally, we realised that ‘having it all’ doesn’t necessarily mean what the world thinks it means, which is: having a successful career, being the most popular and the most busy equals happiness. Slow living taught us that ‘slow’ isn’t a bad thing, that taking your time and focusing on your own journey is much more valuable than anything else.
Our ultimate goal is to be able to give back to the community through PALAVER. We aim to inspire people to know your worth, and whatever you do: you are enough. There are so many things in this world that make us feel like we are not enough. With PALAVER we want to sit down and chat with all kinds of people and support their dreams and wishes they have. We also want to include them in our design process and create something they can give back to someone else and pay it forward.
We look to our future with this in mind: be kind, trust in the process and never give up. Everything will come together if you stay true to yourself. Our brand strategy is based on this very thought. We want to make beautiful clothing and a difference in this world, but never forgetting who we are as individuals and always going back to where we started. We are so very excited for what’s to come!
THANK YOU to everyone that has helped us along the way (our friends, family, our beautiful customers), to everyone that has supported PALAVER since the beginning... you are our inspiration. We hope we get to keep designing, creating and inspiring you for many years to come and we hope you will continue to journey with us as we grow together into something much greater than us.
Lots of love,
Cylia & Aliska
Thank you to our dear friend Femme for taking our pictures <3