Ever wondered what it’s like to run, design, market and manage a fashion label? or maybe just how to get started? We caught up with Chloe Williams co-founder of Mamas Boutique to find out! We’re talking everything startup, funding and branding want to know more? … here it goes!
ASK: Tell us about the company and how you started
Chloe: It all started from us going when we were a bit younger and going raving every weekend. It got to the point where what we wanted to wear wasn’t available in stores. Libby (co-founder) started designing pieces with her mum (she is the most talented seamstress/designer ever) to go raving in and then we designed my 20th birthday dress and that’s pretty much how it started! We never thought by posting our outfits on Instagram, it would attract so much interest and attention that resulted in an impulse idea of creating an online fashion destination for women to shop our style online. We then officially launched in 2013
ASK: How important is social media when running a fashion label
Chloe: Well… Without social media we wouldn’t be here lol! It has really helped us to get our foot in the door and we are so grateful to have so many people support our brand. I think it is everything in a way but I wouldn’t say make it your be all and end all; don’t neglect other ways of putting yourself out there. But it is very crucial as it helps you stay relevant, current and it allows people to kind of go on your journey with you with constant updates!
ASK: How important is it to have a balance, when promoting through your social media platforms. Do you ever find yourself becoming too repetitive and if so is there anything you do to prevent it?
Chloe: Instagram is more about pictures, so creating a personality through your images whereas twitter is more your voice, where you can interact more and be a lot more vocal- use these platforms to their full potential and you wont really be repetitive.
ASK: Who are your favourite all time designers and why
Chloe: I genuinely don’t have any! We are always randomly inspired for example shapes or fabric itself- we had a little obsession with velvet, when we introduced the velvet dress there was nothing velvet out at the time. Then we did the silk, so for us it’s about being inspired but setting our own tone for MB.
ASK: How important is branding to you and the company
Chloe: Branding is EVERYTHING! Because it is the first thing your customers see and a representation of you and your company, so you want it to be the BEST representation possible. Essentially branding is who you are!
ASK: How would you describe your style and is this a representation of Mamas Boutique
Chloe: Our style is so different, so myself I like plunges I’d say im the sassy and classy one, Hope is more edgy, whereas Libby is more quirky and fun in her designs and Leah is elegant. We don’t have a standard style, as there are 4 of us we try and take an element of everyone’s style!
ASK: How did you source funding when starting out
Chloe: We didn’t! We have had no funding. When I posted the picture on my birthday in the dress we had made, on Instagram… People commented and asked for my email (to have one made) so I gave it. We came up with the price of £85 and then bought £85 worth of fabric and it organically started from there. Then we made an Instagram page, took pictures in Hope’s room and now were here!
ASK: What is the biggest lesson you have learnt since you started your own company
Chloe: that it is not easy even if it looks it but to keep going! You face a lot of hurdles, trial and errors and situations where you’ll be tested but it’s worth it in the end. And patience is key! We are still on our way to where we want to be.
ASK: Would you ever consider designing menswear
Chloe: Ermmm it’s a question we get asked a lot but menswear and womenswear are two complete different ball games, but I think the answer is no. Well you never know we could one day!
ASK: What can we expect from the brand in the future? Any plans to expand to other products?
Chloe: Some of the things we are keeping a secret as we want it to be a surprise, although, we will be expanding our range of products in the near future and expanding our team. We will be looking to hold seminars for young women who want to become entrepreneurs. There are not enough people helping, if you can help why not? We have so many people supporting so I think it’s nice to give back and help people follow their dreams even if its just advice!
ASK: How did the #SHEWILL movement begin?
Chloe: From my sister, she used to say it all the time. Its motivation, for the girl you want to become, it’s just a daily reminder like a mantra! She will be …. She will do …
ASK: How do you face competition i.e other companies using, copying or taking your designs?
Chloe: It really used to get to us, like we’re such a small company and a huge company will take our designs. So we’ve taken a different approach now and see it as a compliment. Don’t cry over spilt milk, If you focus on the negatives you lose focus of where you should be going and your name. in regards to marketing I do it alongside Emily and we like to compare ourselves to where we were last year rather than someone else.
ASK: Advice for up and coming fashion designers
Chloe: Don’t be disheartened, you’re going to come across many things that will knock you back! So many people that are on their way to being successful or are successful have had their doors shut so many times. Make sure your products are something you would wear. Hope (Co-founder) and I are the designers, but we are a team of 4 girls who all have different styles, so we have to take that into consideration. Also ask your friend is this something they would wear. You have to be confident about your product and also confident it will sell!