Get Tailor Made Business Advice from Julia Grinham at Upper Street
Amongst our recruits is Julia Grinham, Co-Founder and CEO of Upperstreet.com, the company that allows women to design their own beautiful, hand-made shoes online.
For more details on The Business Advice Programme and to sign up, click here.
We've been following Julia and Upper Street since the beginning, when we published this article about their 2010 launch.
In 2012, The NextWomen Founder & CEO Simone Brummelhuis was sufficiently impressed with how Julia and her co-founder sister Kate had gone about getting a word-of-mouth recommendation from the Fashion Editor of Grazia, that she wrote a piece all about it.
By that stage, Upper Street was really flourishing, having bucked gloomy economic trends by doubling its revenues every year since the business launched.
That same year we interviewed Julia as part of our Fashion theme. Here are somee excerpts from that interview ...
On Upper Street's marketing strategy ...
JG: As a new brand in the fashion space, PR has been core to our strategy; the fashion press have fully embraced and endorsed Upper Street which is so important in giving customers the confidence to buy, and the great coverage we’ve had has also spread awareness of both the concept and the unique qualities of our brand to our target market. In parallel, social media has enabled us to reach out to and fully engage directly with new customers, as well as being a really effective tool for our customers to spread the word themselves by sharing their experiences of Upper Street and their shoe designs with their friends.
Her advice for entrepreneurs looking to scale their business in a time of economic downturn ...
JG: I believe that if you have a strong idea, with an excellent team behind you, then you can succeed even in a difficult climate. Make sure you don’t run out of cash and, if your growth curve is flattened by external forces, like a recession, then work hard to get the investment you need to grow the business over a longer time period.
Whatever you do, don’t compromise your brand or personal values, because that’s what’s going to bring you success over the long term.
Click here to read the rest of this interview with Julia.
Our interview with Julia was so popular that we asked her to write a guest piece for us as part of our second Fashion theme earlier this year.
In this post, Julia shared her top ten tips for fashion entrepreneurs ...
1. Be unique. Fashion is a really competitive industry. Whilst you may be passionate about your idea you need to be sure it’s going to get noticed by consumers. Stand out in the market; make sure your product or service fills a real need and is different from the competition through its design, function or the way you sell it.
2. Know your numbers – You’ve got the great idea, but you’ll need to figure out how to make the numbers work to create a viable business. Understand your product margin, adding in packaging costs, shipping and taxes then make sure you’re generating enough cash to keep the business running. If that means getting investment to make it work, then be open to that.
Fashion is a creative business so you may not be that analytical by nature. Enlist outside help if the idea of financial management brings you out in a cold sweat.
3. Create a business plan – This will be essential if you’re looking for investment or plan to borrow from the bank to get your idea off the ground. Do your research and build a good understanding of who your customers will be and who you will be competing against for their attention.
After describing the market, the business plan should cover the operational side of the business; everything from how you will manage production and order fulfillment, stock management, to the staff you’ll need to execute the plan. Your backers are going to want to see how their money will be spent and at what point it’s going to make them some money back.
Even if you’re not looking for investment, mapping out your plans will really help you stay focused. Allow yourself some flexibility to test things out.
Changes happen quickly in the fashion industry, especially online. We are constantly learning what works best for our business and regularly revisit our plans.
To read the rest of Julia's top ten tips for fashion entrepreneurs, click here.
Julia is ready to start advising you on your business. For more details on The Business Advice Programme and to sign up, click here.
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