What inspired you to start your business?
I’ve always known I would have my own fashion brand, it was a childhood dream that I have consistently and relentlessly pursued.
ATARAXI was inspired by gender inequality in the fashion industry, while working for luxury menswear and womenswear brands such as Coach, Maison Margiela, Michael Van der Ham and Holly Fulton, I realised there was an opportunity to create truly genderless luxury clothing. Developing the brand during my final year at the London College of fashion, my final collection got a fantastic response backed up by the market reasearch of my dissertation I was confident there was a niche to persue the concept commercially.
What is the greatest reward in being your own boss?
Enthralling and inspiring others, ATARAXI is a fashion brand so we need all sorts of creatives, from photographers, graphic designers, to musicians and make-up artists to make it work. Sharing the vision of the brand with others and seeing them get equally as passionate about it is the most rewarding experience. Giving others a platform to express their creativity and all coming together to create an innovative movement in fashion. I’ve built an incredible team over the past year that has turned into a family. To know that all these people share the same drive and detremination as you is so fulfilling. And finally it’s actually just great fun!
What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both success and failures as a business owner?
Failure is hard, I’m still developing my stratedgy for fast recovery from set-backs. But postive thinking is really helpful, if you’ve had a bad day, think of even the smallest positive thing that has been achived and then that will brighten your outlook. Never stop learning and don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Make sure you celebrate and enjoy every success. I had a habit of rushing straight on to the next thing, but if you don’t enjoy the journey you won’t enjoy the destination, just take 5 seconds to truly be in the moment.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?
Finance, my skill sets are in design and marketing, I have many exciting and innovatie ideas, but to find the funding to execute these can be challenging. However as a start-up having a small budget for projects really encourages you to think outisde of the box. For example, at London Fashion Week this season we produced a street presentation which got tonnes of exposure and the budget was literally £0. We collaborated with a start-up modelling agency for models, and utilisied the bloggersphere and streetstyle photograohers to get exposure. The presentation was covered by premiuim media outlets Glamour Germany, Hello Magazine India, and featured in the London Fashion Week Daily newspaper to name a few. Challenges are inspiring!
How have you benefitied from mentoring or coaching?
Mentoring has been an invaulable part of both my personal and professional development. Having someone to guide you in the right direction when you are chartering new territory is so reassuring, they’ve been there and done it all already. I have benefitted from incredible intorductions to people I could have only dreamt of getting in front of before.
What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?
Networking isn’t something that’s only done at ‘networking’ events, it’s 24/7/365. From sitting next to someone on a train, to someone in a shop looking at the same thing as you, never under estimate anyone, that one conversation could change your life. As an entrepreneur you live, eat, breathe and sleep your business so be confident in telling people what it is you do. Reach out to people, with the power of the internet there really is no excuse.
What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?
If you aim high, you are always prepared for growth, never under estimate your self! When working with other companies, sell your self to them, make them know your plans for the future and whether they can accommodate you.
What does the future hold for you?
We’re currently looking for funding and developing our next collection, which will carry on with the gender neutrality. We’re planning a national, touring pop-up store that will eventually go international, so watch this space.