Meet Tosca Soraya Otten: Founder of Teder, the Company That Redefines Comfort and Style for Modern Women

Hello Tosca! We're thrilled to be chatting with you today at FEM-START. Could you share what sparked your entrepreneurial journey and the motivation behind launching Teder?

Teder is my second brand. As a designer, while still working on my first brand, I realized what I wanted clothes to do for me had changed. Especially since becoming a mother, I found that feeling comfortable and looking presentable was a challenge. Many clothes are restrictive in movement and don’t flatter the body, and materials are often synthetic. Not to mention the lack of sustainability and inclusivity in representative wear. In my experience, clothes can either uplift me or bring me down, so as a designer, I wanted to create a brand that supports women who do it all every day. I aim to provide a wardrobe that empowers them, makes them feel free and comfortable, elegant and feminine, and is made as sustainably as possible. Standard patterns and fits such as a pencil skirt often don’t cater to women today who have to do business presentations and then pick up their kids from daycare/school. Many traditional styles are simply not practical for the modern woman.

What are some of the most essential things you did to get your business off the ground?

I hired other experts right from the start and worked as a freelance for a few years to save up money before developing Teder. I found the right partners to guide me through the process and designed the product while researching the market and competitors. I aligned my textile sourcing with target retail prices and started looking for manufacturers even before finalizing my designs. In short, I didn’t just create what I wanted from a designer’s point of view; I involved other important elements such as marketing, sales, and positioning from the beginning. I built Teder together with other women (and some men :)) and involved them from the start, instead of doing almost everything alone.

How did you build your customer base and grow Teder?

This is still in progress. I’ve been doing a lot of research and have made significant progress. Currently, I’m working on both B2B and B2C development, which has helped me gain a better understanding of my customers. I’ve become more open to seeking and accepting help, and as part of my strategy, I’m collaborating with specific wholesale agents to showcase my brand in Paris and Milan to high-end stores and department stores. This collaboration is not only for sales but also for brand awareness and positioning. Positive reviews from stores like Le Bon Marche are of interest to my B2C clients. Additionally, I’m working on a strategy to engage with my target group through business events, although this is still a work in progress. Lastly, I’ve been building a community through social media and newsletters, where I share more insights about the brand that strongly resonate with women.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way, and what did you learn from them?

One of my biggest mistakes was thinking that being a great designer is enough. It absolutely is not. Perhaps only 10% of branding is creativity; the rest is business. I had to learn that I needed the right people for many other components of my brand in order to really develop it. Another thing I’ve learned is to collaborate with others. Designers often work in isolation instead of brainstorming or working with others in their field. Maybe we’re all afraid of competition, but it’s very empowering to help others progress and receive help in return. Last but not least, I have learned to think more about margins, profit, and balancing out costs. What you create needs to be something people are willing to spend money on, and the amount of money must be realistic for your production.


What is your biggest achievement since founding the company, and how did you get there?

I’m really proud of the opportunity to work with established wholesale agents from the very first season. I’ve also conducted several interviews and features with established press outlets. Additionally, incredible stores such as Le Bon Marche and Tuan Tuan (a Taiwanese designer store) have already reviewed my second collection.

While many wholesale agents typically prefer working with brands after 3 seasons, I was able to gain acceptance immediately because I worked with a team that guided and prepared me for the wholesale process. But most importantly, I’m proud that I’m still standing and building my brand despite not having any funding or financial support. Even in the midst of all the (mental) storms, I still strongly believe in myself and my ideas.

What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own business?

For anyone who wants to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, I advise listening to your intuition and being pragmatic in your decisions. It’s important to work with people who share your values and immediately want to support you – that’s the energy you need to keep going. If you truly want something, be determined and persistent. Remember, slow but steady wins the race.

What's next for you and your business? Anything we can expect in 2025?

I hope to achieve my first wholesale points for Teder and to build a larger B2C clientele online. My second collection is currently in Milan, with another wholesale agent who just presented it to a large store this afternoon. At the same time, I am starting a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds and potentially find a business partner (or partners) to help us grow bigger. Lastly, I’ll be due to have my second child in mid-October.


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