A background in accountancy, selling B2B software and management within Video Games are hardly a natural fit for the fashion industry. This didn’t deter me from realising an ambition to work in fashion when the opportunity presented itself in 2013 to buy an online retailer. Real self-belief, a passion for fashion, and a steely work ethic, have been my partners during the first year of running Want Her Dress.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and what you do currently
My plan had been to get into retail buying when I left college, what could be a better career than going on a major clothes shop!
When I couldn’t find an opening, one of my lecturers put my name forward to a firm of accountants and that’s how I found myself trying to reconcile the glamour of fashion with the realities of a plumber’s profit and loss account!
I set up my first business in the 1990s providing accounting services to the SME sector. At the end of the millennium I decided to go back into corporate life and was offered jobs with two of my clients, one of which was a move away from accountancy to selling software.
After 18 months of selling very technical software that I didn’t understand, I moved into the video games industry.
My management role gave me opportunities from sales to logistics, I travelled the world presenting to major US retailers and visiting our factories in China.
Last year I decided it was time to be my own boss again. The chance arose in early 2014 to do this on a full time basis and I decided it was an opportunity I could not miss.
Overcoming frustration and resetting my expectations on what is realistic has been the biggest challenge.
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
Want Her Dress is more than an online boutique – my passion is empowering and inspiring young people and I am using Want Her Dress to achieve this. We are running a prototype project at the moment for a Fashion student we selected to design a dress for the website. This project will be launched in September and will be the start of a major project to work with young designers, giving them an opportunity to design for WHD and showcase their talent.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Running an online business is tough and a lot more work than it appears to be on the surface. We are making progress in the right direction but it’s very hard to achieve success in a competitive industry selling online. Overcoming frustration and resetting my expectations on what is realistic has been the biggest challenge.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
Enjoying a long and happy marriage – this year (2014) we celebrate 33 years of married life.
Real self-belief, a passion for fashion, and a steely work ethic, have been my partners during the first year of running Want Her Dress.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
That’s a good question! It would either be working with dogs or event management! Extreme ends of a spectrum but both are appealing in different ways! Dogs are a passion of mine and I offer home boarding and day care to my immediate network and event management is something I’ve been involved with as part of many of my roles and plays to my strengths of organisational ability and getting things done!
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I have learnt so much from so many people it would be hard to pick one person.
It seems that almost every day at the moment I’m meeting so many wonderful women at the moment via networking that offer so much support and encouragement that is inspiring in itself!
What does the future hold for you?
I hope it holds a dream of fulfilling my ambitions with Want Her Dress and that I can create the opportunities for young people that I dream about. To be able to look back and see young designers who have worked with us and gone on to successfully launch their own label would be amazing.
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