Spotlight Ciara Elliott and Erica Davies Fashion Re:boot
Today's spotlight is a move away from Interiors; I've done it once before when I interviewed the Opsh Sisters. I don't consciously focus just on interiors for my business insights, that just happens to be where I have an interest and where my network is. That said it is good to get different perspectives, to see that the journey of running a business in fashion has many similarities to the journey of running an interiors business and both ladies who run Fashion Re:boot dabble in both; interiors and fashion.
So over to Ciara Elliott to tell us about the idea behind Fashion Re:Boot..........
Fashion Re:boot is a fashion sale where style obsessives can buy, sell or just gather together!
Fashion:ReBoot is the brainchild of fashion editor Erica Davies and magazine editor Ciara Elliott. Set up as a fun, fashion event that would locally get the community involved, it’s taken the imagination of women around the country!
It’s a pre-loved sale, a way of decluttering your wardrobe, refreshing your look, boosting your confidence and making the most of your money all at the same time!
An evening typically will boast over 25 stalls packed with a mixture of pre-loved and boutique fashion - handpicked, high end clothes as well as jewellery makers, interiors, beauty, plus a licensed bar. The events are hosted all across the Country from Tunbridge Wells, to Norwich, Oxfordshire, Cheltenham, and York, with many more locations planned.
Get in fast as you could be one of our Re:Boot vendors (which include fashion bloggers, editors, boutique owners and stylists). All you need is a wardrobe full of stand-out pieces and your own rail to hang them on. Or simply come along and enjoy the vibe! Entrance is a fiver and includes a Fashion Re:Boot bag.
1. What was the reason behind you starting your business?
A few reasons – I'd had it in the back of my mind for a while, to do a carboot like fashion event as I'd seen and been involved in one in Dublin a few years back. Before I moved to the UK and for the first three years of living in the UK I was Fashion Editor at The Sunday Tribune newspaper in Dublin. Mid recession, when the newspaper went under and everyone was scrabbling around a bit wondering what to do next, a few friends in the city had put on a similar event in an old church in the centre of Dublin on a Saturday and it was huge – with loads of fashion editors, magazine press, stylists, boutique owners and journalists. It got a massive amount of press and was hugely successful, but my friends who did it in Dublin were too busy with other stuff to continue it, and as I was flying back and forth from London, with two pre-schoolers, I couldn't exactly take up the reins. I did however see how it could work and it was always on my mind to try something similar over here. Then, when the brilliant Erica Davies from the Edited blog arrived as a fellow school mum at the gates, suddenly we were fizzing with ideas together. Erica had been involved in a similar idea in South London, where her and two other bloggers had taken over a pub and sold their clothes. She had done it as an evening time thing, sort of as a cheeky mums night out. So you could say that Fashion Re:Boot is a combination of both ideas – I was up for it being a bigger event which was more like a market place for everyone to sell, Erica added in the idea of doing in in the evening time and making more of an night out of it. What neither of us realised was that, as well as being a great place to buy and sell top quality clothes, which often dont have much re-sale value online, it would also become a great platform for both networking, socialising and insta meet-ups.
2. How did you start up?, kitchen table? Mum’s garage, renting premises? We actually had a play date around mine and discussed it while cooking the spag bol!
3. How did you fund your business? There was no need for funding , which is why I had loved the Dublin idea in the first place and Erica had loved the London one. All we needed was to find a premises, and come up with a name and logo, work on a date that would work and launch it! We sort of thought it could just be a one-off thing. I hoped it might be more but we didn't have a clue if people would actually come as we do live in the middle of nowhere – so nothing like either Dublin or London, which we both knew so well.
4. What was the most difficult part of starting up your business? Access to money, advice, finding people to buy, marketing etc? There hasn't been any difficulty. It has grown organically – and we are now onto our 12th event in less than two years and there hasn't been a dud one yet.
5. What help was missing for you? The only thing has been marketing in areas that are not local. I didn't really know how to go about growing the brand, but I think we've cracked it now, by working with lots of other marketing people who want to bring the event to their areas and get other people involved. Its a great night out and quite unique. People genuinely love it, and we genuinely love doing them.
6. What went wrong in your first year? Few months if you haven’t been trading that long? We've definitely had a few glitches with Eventbrite and I am still trying to work out is Ticket Tailor better – or find out is there another route completely. I also I need to get my head about Facebook as it's an area that neither Erica nor I are particularly strong, but it is a brilliant marketing tool.
7. What have you learnt? That people LOVE a good car boot! And add some gin and cocktails into the mix and you've got yourselves the making of a great party! I've also learned that Facebook is a great viral tool for ads and that instagram is gold! We have mainly only promoted via word of mouth and social media and it is amazing how the news travels.
8. What is the most important piece of advice that you could give others thinking about starting a business? I'd say that if you have an idea that you have a hunch will work, just get out and test the waters. Particularly if there are no up front costs. The best way to market research is just to get it out there and see if it sticks.
9. And what do you enjoy the most? I love meeting all of these brilliant inspiring ladies and working with so many supportive and creative people. The illustrator Cheryl Rawlings is a local friend and she came up with the logo for us. And then we had another brilliant lady called Fiona Coe come in and sponsor goodie bags for our second event and then another fellow mum at the school gates, Charlie Darton, who is a marketing person for Admans, and she got involved in the sponsorship of it. We also have so many great people who have just turned up to sell with us who we didn't know before , and those who've worked with us as well to make it what is and to bring the event to their local town. The mumstheword girls in Tunbridge Wells are fab as is Cheltenham Mamam and Emma from We Got This in Norwich who have helped bring the event to Tunbridge Wells, Cheltenham and Norwich.
We are working with loads of other people this year that I am super excited about as well – we have a stylist called Natasha Musson doing our Somerset one on Bruton on the 2nd of Feb (Pearl Lowe is coming can you believe it?) and then I am going to be working with Mama Do in Oxfordshire, The Trouble Lounge girls in Bath and Bristol, Hayley Southwood in Milton Keynes and Reena from Hygge for the Home in Cardiff as well as Lisa Dawson in York. So big insta hitters as well as lovely people!! We've had stylists helping us including Hannah Bullivant, Dee Campling, The Vintage Household who Could, Tamsyn Morgans and Kinship Creative. People who’ve come to sell include: Betty Magazine, Alex Fullerton (from Stylist), Jem and Bea clothing, Daisy Bridgewater (designer of the brilliant boiler suits), bloggers Hannah Gale, Ropes of Holland, Style Mum, justauniform .. I could go on!
10. On a scale of 1-10 how hard do you find it to run your own business? It's my Saturday job, I love it! I work monday to thursday editing and writing and shooting for an interiors magazine (EKBB), so running Fashion Re:Boot feels so fresh and different. I love interiors but I am massively passionate about clothes and too, and I love the social and insta side of Fashion re:boot. At the moment I am balancing it all but Fashion Reboot is growing so fast that I may have to think of a new business plan! I'd love to create a hub online for people to buy and sell and support each other - I can see Fashion Reboot being an app as well as an ebay like sales site... but of course I WOULD need funding for all that, so for now - until the slot at Dragons Den comes up - I'll be keeping it under control and planning only as many events as I can physically manage....
Nicola Saya "I've run a similar event myself, at our local pre-school and Ciara is right when she says there is nothing we love more than to shop for second hand clothes, or jewellery and all with a glass of gin, process or mulled wine in our hands. But it's more than that, often with young kids, nights out are rare and so the chance to network and socialise are often as important as the shopping itself. While i'm sure there are many such events run by us Mums who want an excuse to drink wine, the difference with Fashion RE:boot is the network of the founders themselves, the fact that they know so many fashion editors and stylists, I can only imagine the quality of the items for sale! And that is what is going to draw people to this business.
From a business perspective, quality items for sale, a network of influencers and industry experts but in an informal setting, a strong and recognisable brand but the ability to grow organically, means that neither Erica or Ciara are taking too many business risks.
That said, this is done in their spare time, and having run such an event myself, I know what is involved and it is going to be interesting to see how the ladies juggle this when it really takes off, growth is as much of a business challenge as starting out. In this case starting out hasn't been too risky, it's a try it and see type of start-up but growth may involve the need to take this on full time which then shifts the risk perspective.
Regardless this business is looking like being a great success and I'm looking forward to Fashion Re:Boot arriving in Leeds!"
The Girl with The Green Sofa