From Kitchen Table to Multi-Million Pound Turnover & Meeting the Queen!
Tiffany London, Founder of maternity occasion wear brand Tiffany Rose shares her entrepreneurial journey, which started at her kitchen table with £1000 and now sees her running a multi-million pound business with 137% growth.
It’s sometimes hard to believe that big companies had very humble roots – as the co-founder of one of the most successful maternity wear brands in the UK, I’m all too aware of the trials and tribulations of starting up a business. After ten years, I’ve been lucky enough to witness the growth of my company from my kitchen table to a multi-million pound operation.
My advice to any young business is to target a high-quality niche market – when I began designing dresses for what would become Tiffany Rose, I ensured that every outfit met high standards of quality and luxury.
Now, Tiffany Rose caters to over 80 countries from our office in Surrey – that’s a far cry from my kitchen table!
I had entertained the idea of running my own business for a long time, but it wasn’t until my pregnant sister told me that she was having trouble finding a great dress for a wedding that I first thought about the market for occasion maternity wear.
At first, I had just under £1,000 capital and only had humble expectations. I was a mother of young kids at the time, and finding a minute to start making phone calls and sorting things out was a challenge in itself.
At first, I would complete about a day’s work between the hours of 7pm and midnight after the kids went to bed. My husband was incredibly supportive, and building the business up was a lot of fun.
Now that the kids are at school, things are much easier! Being a mum and running your own business isn’t simple, but it’s full of rewards.
We are always finding new ways to improve, and are always open to new avenues and ways of conducting the business. Challenges will come along – and solutions have to be devised. For example; when we were having some issues finding British manufacturers who were able to keep up with our demand, we helped one of our designers set up her own manufacturing business.
Fruits of labour
This year we were thrilled and honoured to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise this year, thanks to an impressive 137% growth in international sales within the last three years – we can hardly believe it ourselves. We’re still keeping all manufacturing in Britain, however, as this is one of the guiding principles of the brand that underpins everything.
My Advice for Startups
Keeping employees - when you are ready to employ them - happy is incredibly important too.
In the early days – and throughout the growth of a company – I would recommend that there be a huge emphasis on communication. That’s just not communication within the company and between you and suppliers – listen to what customers want and what they say about your product, and you’ll be able to make the right decisions as the company continues to grow.
Organisation is key – don’t ever let yourself get behind on your accounts. You need to keep a good idea of what your finances look like (especially in that first year!) and see if there are any places that need improvement, or areas in which you are needlessly spending money.
Another piece of advice I’d offer to start-up business owners is to stay humble, honest and open. Get together a group of people who are as passionate about your company as you are, and always encourage self-development.
And most importantly – don’t ever be afraid to ask for help!
Your success today should never be taken for granted tomorrow. What works one year might not do so well the next – things need to be chopped and changed and you should never be too proud to do it.
Most importantly, remember that while running your own business can be a lot of fun, you’ll certainly need to sacrifice that social life in the first year or so – but don't worry too much, the sacrifice made will be more than evident in your results.
Launched in 2003 by Founder Tiffany London, Tiffany Rose offers pregnant women exciting, elegant, beautiful and well-made designs for special occasions. All Tiffany Rose products are made in Britain and the company was awarded a Queens Awards for Enterprise and International Trade this year.
This article is made possible through Tiffany Rose. The NextWomen is not responsible for the views or opportunities expressed in this article.
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