Tell us about your family: Married with son aged 3 and daughter aged 9 months
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition? I worked in Sales and Account Management roles in ground transport so this was something completely different! Making the transition was incredibly liberating and exciting as I knew I’d found the right career and was going to change my life for the better.
When did you launch? January 2011
How did you get started? Throughout 2010 I worked from home, making use of every available opportunity in the evenings and at weekends while I was still in employment, and worked whilst on maternity leave. When my daughter was born I took 2 months to myself and then started work again balancing a laptop on my knee in a toy-filled sitting room, in between caring for my new baby. (Luckily for me she was, and is, a very easy baby.)
I used the time to set up my website, carry out market research and really develop what I wanted Dress With Confidence to achieve. I also offered my styling services throughout last year free of charge to friends and acquaintances to gain as much practical experience as possible.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
I love fashion, of course, but believe that good style advice lasts a lifetime. My focus is on helping women look good, feel confident and know what suits them so they look and feel great every day. It’s very rewarding to see the positive change in people once they see themselves as they wish to look and can make a huge difference to their confidence, in all areas of their lives.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business? Oh that’s a no brainer – admin! Keeping my accounts under control, although I now have a great new accountant to help me with that.
What has worked well about your business? Using www.third-door.co.uk as a work space provides me with sociability and the feeling of ‘going to work’. I’ve got to know a bunch of the Third Door regulars and although they all work in different businesses, we chat, share advice and generally have some of that office banter that you miss when you work at home. I’m able to be totally focused whilst working there and it’s great to be free of the kinds of distractions that I have at home. I’m definitely more productive in that environment.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it? Thinking I could do things ‘on the cheap’. More specifically my first website which I did on a shoe string and was a disaster. I now have a website I’m proud of and it makes a huge difference when networking. I now feel confident directing people to it.
How do you fit in work with the family? Third Door provides me with brilliant, flexible childcare. I put my daughter in the Ofsted nursery downstairs and go upstairs to the hot-desking space where I can get on with admin, nip out to see clients, pop back in to say hi to my daughter, tackle a few emails, before heading out to see more clients. It gives me complete flexibility. And best of all, I can pick and choose my days each week depending on my workload.
Is your partner supportive of your business? Yes, 100%
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business? Yes, but it changes all the time. My first financial goal was unrealistic as I’d underestimated the set up costs and the fact that if you want to do things properly and be professional then you have to spend money.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else? No, I can’t imagine having this same passion for any other career.
Do you have an exit strategy? No as I can’t imagine wanting to do anything else. Perhaps my daughter will take over the business?
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come. Not yet although I’ve had a few mini “I’ve made it” moments when I get calls from people I don’t know out of the blue who want to hire me – I get a huge buzz out of that. I think my big moment will come in about 2 years time when I can start drawing a salary which matches what I used to earn.
Where do you hope to be in five years time? I’m really interested in NLP and plan to study this seriously within the next 5 years. I’d love to be able to offer confidence coaching as a consultative service alongside personal styling.
Your website link.: www.dresswithconfidence.com
If you can offer a discount or special promotion for Family Friendly Working readers, please write it here: To celebrate my new website I am offering a 20% discount on all personal styling services until the end of June. I am also running a competition to win a complete makeover worth £1500. The make-over includes everything from personal training to confidence coaching, detox to body shape analysis. The aim of the make-over, which will take six weeks, is to transform how the winner looks, feels and dresses, providing them with a whole new look.