Here at Wear Eponymous we relish the opportunity to share the skills and talents that our featured independent designers demonstrate each time they create a new product and launch a new collection. Fellow independent designers regularly tweet or Facebook comment with their shared appreciation of the skills involved in creating a brand, while others show their support through purchasing from their fellow indies to keep the waters of small business commerce flowing (the most essential form of support!).
Our ‘focus on’ series of interviews via our BRANDM.A.D.E. element is here to introduce you to key W.E. feature brands who have strong businesses, interesting back stories and key skills to share with creators who may be looking for specific advice and consultation time with a fellow business owner who’s walked their path and may know the answers they’re looking for.
Our next feature brand is Glendinnng Designs, a scarf brand created by Gail Glendinning and attracting a lot of positive attention from various forums such as The Design Factory, The Great British Exchange and Mosley London.
What was the driving force behind you starting your own business?
The driving force for me was my love of seeing my artwork on different fabrics, particularly the silk scarf collection. I also wanted to work for myself and it felt very fulfilling to start up my own business.
What would you say your personal business strengths are? Did they come naturally to you or did you have to develop those skills as you worked?
I think that for me, business skills were an unknown and I definitely have learned as I went along. Being a very artistic person (like many artists) it was all about designing and making. I think that my personal strengths are my dedication and this has helped me to keep looking for the next idea. I enjoy research and problem solving so this has been helpful in setting up my business .
Which elements of business do you feel many companies can often neglect (e.g. no time for social media, not actively networking) and can you relate to the juggling act of having to fulfil multiple job roles in your own company?
I think that many companies may neglect networking as it is very difficult due to a small start-up having to do everything. I personally have found networking difficult to juggle with all the other tasks. Instagram has helped me and it's good for researching exactly who likes your products.
I have actually made contact with a number of shops and groups through Instagram. Joining different groups has been helpful to me as they have their own network of additional groups and contacts. I have tried to discover designers in the same type of business as me and follow in their footsteps or generate ideas from what they are doing themselves.
Do you feel that there is enough support for developing businesses and has this been your own experience?
There is good support for developing businesses but I have not found it that easy to find. My research has helped me to find support and advice plus the different groups I have joined have been very useful. They provide you with contacts and advice which ,if you follow, can lead to other opportunities.
Feedback can also be very helpful from fairs and exhibitions as this can lead you to take further action and progress your business.
What guidance do you think you could provide to a newer company or one in need to some fresh thinking if they chose to connect with you through BrandM.A.D.E?
Guidance I could provide to a new company includes encouraging additional mentoring with a business in your field, as this can be very helpful. Connecting with 'Make it British’ for example, helps to find manufactures. I think manufacturing (if the item is not completely hand made] can be a very important step.
Prioritising is also very important and looking for less expensive options has helped me. Saving your money can help immensely to direct your funds to where it counts and where you have to spend money, including paying someone to model (when it’s fashion based). I have set up a pin board and have a row of things to do, a row of things being tackled today and another row for completed activities which I regularly go through and review at least several times a week.
Similar to a factory, but on a much smaller scale, it helps to organise what is needed to focus on and what is being achieved or where problems may be. This method helps businesses to cope when there are a lot more tasks to achieve suddenly, as setting up a business can result in large bursts of activity which a new business may not be used to .
Wear Eponymous has been a wonderful experience, seeing my scarves online and receiving helpful feedback. I will most certainly send products to the next popup shop and hope to be part of anything they do in the future!
Is Gail’s advice and guidance exactly what you’re looking for? BrandM.A.D.E. is here to connect you with those in the know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how we can ease that pain point to focus on the growth and success you deserve.