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Brand Spotlight: Lavender Hill Clothing

We asked Isobel Ridley, founder of womenswear brand Lavender Hill Clothing 10 questions about her business.

Tell us about your brand in two sentences?

Beautiful basics for every woman’s wardrobe. Made in the UK out of the softest and most sustainable fabrics available.

Where do you sell your products?

We sell directly through our website and attend consumer shows around the UK.

What inspired you to start a fashion business?

I saw a gap in the market for good quality flattering basics at accessible prices.

What was your background before starting your business?

Before founding LHC I worked at Burberry, I worked in their sourcing, ecommerce and corporate merchandising departments.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of running a business?

The most rewarding aspect of running this business is when a customer calls up or leaves a review on our website saying how much they love the product. It’s always a reminder of why I started the business

What is the most difficult aspect of running a business?

For me, the most difficult aspect of the business is aligning all the different areas, when you are small you tend to do a lot of different roles, so you might be talking to a customer one minute and then making projections for the year ahead next.

What question do you get asked the most?

Friends and work acquaintances frequently ask - What does a work day look like? – I find that a lot of people are interested in how I structure my working day and finding out what motivates me.

Customers tend to ask me what size should they buy even when on the telephone…

How many hours a week do your work?

This really varies with what is going on. If I am attending consumer shows, it tends to be 7 days week with very long hours. But during quieter times I normally work between 9-6. However saying that when you run an online consumer business you always have to be connected whether it is posting on social media or talking to customers around the world on instant messenger.

How do you relax away from work?

I love being outdoors so I tend to walk my dogs and cook up a feast in the kitchen when I’m not working!

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? 

On a personal front: Look after yourself, your health and wellbeing is the most important thing.  I slipped two discs in my back and kept breaking my feet last year, it was my body telling me to slow down.

On the business front: Cash is king – always keep and eye on your cashflow.

www.lavenderhillclothing.com

 
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Brand Spotlight: Reef Knots

Quick questionnaire with Patrick Dudley-Williams, founder and director of menswear brand Reef Knots and Rise chairman.

Tell us about your brand in two sentences?

We’re a menswear brand designed to remind people of life far away from the office. We started with printed ties, but we now offer a wider lifestyle offering including swim shorts, shirts and other accessories.

Where do you sell your products?

The vast majority of our business is online, but we also have a store in the City of London in the famous Leadenhall Market.

What inspired you to start a fashion business?

I wanted to escape a boring finance career and starting a fashion brand seemed much more exciting.

What was your background before starting your business?

My background was as a portfolio manager in the stock market. I spent 13 years buying and selling stocks and advising other people on it.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of running a business?

It’s certainly not money as everything is reinvested for growth. Freedom, I suppose. I live a very busy life and the ability to manage my time is very rewarding.

What is the most difficult aspect of running a business?

Getting through all the things that need to be done in a day. There just aren’t enough hours in my life. I actually made a conscious decision recently to sleep less!

What question do you get asked the most?

Why aren’t you wearing a tie?

How many hours a week do your work?

I couldn’t tell you. If I’m awake, I’m generally working or looking after children.

How do you relax away from work?

I spend time with my children. It’s not that relaxing but I’ve never been able to stay still for long. I can’t watch a whole movie or sunbathe. I drives me insane.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? 

Not to get into business with idiots!

www.reefknots.com

 
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Brand Spotlight: Sir Plus

Quickfire interview with Henry Hales, founder and director of menswear brand Sir Plus and Rise committee member.

Tell us about your brand in two sentences?

We make menswear. The collection started buying surplus fabrics and making boxer shorts and has grown to include a comprehensive collection.

Where do you sell your products?

At our shop on Portobello Road, online and at shows and markets.

What inspired you to start a fashion business?

My Dad and his mate John were entrepreneurs and I always wanted to start a business.

Didn’t expect for it to be in fashion though!

What was your background before starting your business?

I had just graduated with a degree in real estate (so faaaashion!)

What’s the most rewarding aspect of running a business?

I get lots of pleasure seeing people wearing Sir Plus out and about. I often say “I like your jacket, where’s it from?”

What is the most difficult aspect of running a business?

Probably “getting the brand out there”…

What question do you get asked the most?

“What size do you think I am?"

How many hours a week do your work?

Not sure, but currently only take Sunday off and the days are fairly long….

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned? 

CASH FLOW! Grow steadily, invest in product, excellent customer service.

It’s getting the really dull things to work efficiently that’s important, then you can grow the brand.

www.sirplus.co.uk