One of the best parts of my work is the fact that I am able to meet people every week that are boldly building their careers and businesses. Out of the thousands of people I meet every year just a few really stand out and I am particularly pleased when these special people consent to interview.
Last year I was very pleased and impressed to meet Rose Fulbright. A young, bright woman will nothing more than a dream – to build a new, quality British made lingerie brand. I have kept in touch with Rose and have watched her go from dream to idea to concept to real product and finally to international recognition.
I have no doubt that Rose will become part of the design aristocracy of Great Britain but before she ‘arrives’ I was lucky enough to ask her a few questions about becoming a young entrepreneur.
Wyn: What inspired you to launch a Lingerie brand?
Rose: When I was about 11 years old, my dream was to have my own fashion label, and this desire has never left me. Whilst I was at university studying fashion and costume design, I found I had a real interest in working with light, fine fabrics to create structural, architectural shapes. This obviously translated into a passion for underwear, and after having interned at two lingerie houses in New York and London, I decided there was a gap in the market for the sensual, sleek style I wanted to create.
Wyn: You are in your early twenties, why not work for an established brand for five or ten years first?
Rose: This was purely a personal choice, and one that I made knowing myself and how I work best. Growing up surrounded by artistic, entrepreneurial people has given me a confidence in my abilities that allowed me to jump into starting this business. I relish learning new skills, and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier with where I am in my career. There was really no point in waiting, when I was so sure about what I wanted to do.
Wyn: Do you think being young has been a positive or a negative in creating a brand?
Rose: I think there are many positives about being in my twenties and creating a brand. I feel I have a lot of energy to spend on work – I am at the stage in life when I have no other responsibilities, and I can devote my time to growing my business.
Wyn: You are a Made In Great Britain brand. Why did you decide to make your product here?
Rose: I come from a family where two generations before me used their passion and creativity to promote and support British manufacturing and design. Makings garments here in the UK was an obvious choice for me at this stage, as manufacturers here are willing to make small orders, and there is a high level of communication and understanding. I am also conscious of the huge impact fashion has on the world both ethically and ecologically, and the choice to manufacture locally was also affected by this.
Wyn: There are many programmes to help young people launch businesses, have you accessed any of these and if so have you found them useful?
Rose: I have found that being in London has been extremely helpful whilst starting my business. There are many organisations offering free advice, such as the City Business Library, Enterprise Connect at Kings College London, and The Prince’s Trust. Of these three, only The Prince’s Trust has an age restriction, but their help is extremely targeted. I attended an intensive weeklong business course at the Prince’s Trust, and on the strength of my business plan and application, was awarded a grant to test my business. I also have a business mentor through the Trust, who is a wonderful resource.
The only business advice I have paid for is from the group ‘Fashion Angel’, which is advice targeted at entrepreneurs in the fashion industry. This industry is incredibly complex, and Fashion breaks down each segment of the industry into clear, concise seminars.
Wyn: What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Rose: Just four months into starting my lingerie label, I co-founded an organisation for luxury brands manufacturing in the UK called The WISE Creative. The aim of this non-profit collaborative organisation is to support and promote labels producing their pieces in Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. We also intend for it to become a knowledge-sharing platform, where small, niche labels can share minimum order quantity costs and their own expertise with other brands.
The WISE Creative has held three pop-up boutiques in London, and the logistical and organisational challenges I have experienced whilst setting up these events at the same time as running my own label, getting married, and preparing for a move to Beijing have been the most challenging to date.
Wyn: What has been your greatest success?
Rose: At the most recent pop-up boutique held for a week in Marylebone, my brand was the most successful seller, which is an absolutely amazing experience for a 6-month-old label. This proved to me where my market is, and where the best clients are found.
Wyn: Do you feel that launching your own business has been the right choice for you?
Rose: Launching my own business has been the right, and only decision for my career. Running my own business gives me a level of energy and passion for what I do that I have not experienced before, and there is nothing else I can imagine doing.
Wyn: What three pieces of advice would you give to a fellow young entrepreneur at the beginning of their journey?
1) Don’t be shy – you must talk to as many people as possible about your idea, and see what they think. You never know which contacts they might be willing to put you in touch with.
2) Be humble – listen attentively to people who have been where you are, and take their advice.
3) Remember that being an entrepreneur means a life full of ups and downs, extreme highs and some lows – it is not for everyone, and life is unpredictable. Find a way to surf the wave, and embrace change in your business.
Please take a few moments and follow the links below to discover the beautiful creations of Rose Fulbright
Rose Fulbright is available to shop online at: http://rosefulbright.com
To view the Rose Fulbright Lingerie collection, please visit: http://rosefulbright.com/lookbooks
To view the Rose Fulbright Bridal collection, visit: http://rosefulbright.com/products/bridal-lingerie
To view the Rose Fulbright Loungewear collection, visit: http://rosefulbright.com/lookbooks