New to the Squad, Elizabeth stiles is using FGC to find & help girls building their fashion empires. With over 10 years of experience in fashion buying and design management under her belt, she’s diving into the world of consultancy. Read how she got here & why she made the decision to change.
The idea… I was working for a brand called NEW girl ORDER and loving it! I loved the product, the people & of course ... the regular money. However I've always been one to trust my gut and it was telling me that it was time to move on. It was confusing because on the surface I was happy so I tried to figure out what I would do & where I'd go. I was reading a lot of personal & business development books at the time and making notes on anything that resonated with me but I still couldn't piece together what I wanted to do.
I was in a yoga class & in Shavasana pose at the end in a semi meditative state & my eureka moment was then - 'I need to do my job but on my own' & so the idea began!
“I can still work in fashion but help independent businesses who have started from a different area of the industry (eg. marketing); I can plug the gaps within their skillset & support them with design development, trend prediction, sourcing & manufacturing advice.”
I love fashion & always will but I wanted to do it on a more personal level & actually help people become successful building their own brand. I love the fact that I can move someone forwards & help them grow a profitable business with the knowledge I've built over the years.
The Product…I've worked in fashion buying and design management for over 10 years so this is where my speciality truly lies. I love working with people on a 1:1 basis and giving positive & practical advice to people that want to achieve success! I offer a 2 hour session, a full day together or a monthly mentoring programme as building a brand takes time & it can be difficult to maintain the motivation if you're working alone - I tell my clients that I'm here to hold their hand along every step of the process as if I'm another member of the team.
A couple of things we can work on together include:
Reviewing your fashion brand identity and setting clear goals Developing your customer profile & understanding them on a deeper level
Building trend and colour palettes for new collections
How to source manufacturers & fabric suppliers for your product
Creating a logistical production calendar that determines when to look for inspiration, when to design, production timings, launch dates etc.
Reviewing the cost breakdown for each garment & analysing your sales data to determine how to move forward in a profitable way
I also practice what I preach & have a business coach myself - investing in myself has honestly been one of the best decisions I made
Successes... The fashion industry is fast-paced, undeniably creative and always exciting, but it comes with a stereotype and I have definitely encountered my share of Devil Wears Prada moments along the way. I’m here to break that stereotype and show that fashion can have a friendly face and a soul that supports other fashion entrepreneurs.
This really is my biggest success every time a client tells me I've answered a question that they couldn't find on Google!
I love seeing my clients walk away feeling more confident, creative & buzzing with ideas after a session together.
The Challenges… For 10 years I've worked in a corporate fashion world & I knew where every penny was coming from and most importantly... when! I'm nearly 6 months in as a sole trader & still learning how to manage my finances in this new way but I'm enjoying the challenge! Having read Emma Gannon's 'multi hyphen method' book, I know the key is to have a couple of different revenue streams running simultaneously at any one time so I'm really focusing on this at the moment
Your Fave resources… Books, audio books, podcasts, documentaries, interviews - I've really caught the learning bug! My fave book was definitely The Secret to kick start the energy I needed. When you're a business owner, you have no other option but to believe it will be a success; if you're not going to believe in yourself then how can you expect the world to?
She Means Business by Carrie Green is a little bit cheesy but has tonnes of useful advice for setting up a service based business, I've read both these books twice, the first time I take it all in and the second time I take notes
Networking… I don't know much about marketing but I do know that opportunities come from people and meetings make money. Fashion is a very small industry and I can't express enough how important it is to start talking to people in the business,
even if it starts off just by following them on insta and DM'ing them from time to time.
I ask to meet people on the basis of providing value rather than what they can offer me & I find that works really well as something always comes from a meeting whether it's a new contact or it sparks an idea! I have an aim this year to meet one new person a week so if you're reading this and want to reach out then please do! :) In fact, I met the two other women I run the workshops with via social media and we're already planning our 3rd event!
“There's no such thing as luck, it's when preparation meets opportunity.
The second one is 'clarity comes with taking action - if you're feeling stuck do something, anything but just don't do nothing”
Advice for fellow FGC gals… I guess this might be easier said than done but when I started my career
“ I heard someone say JFDI which was just fucking do it. “
Focus on what makes YOU happy because you're the only one who truly knows what that means TO YOU & this is the thing that you'll put all your passion and energy into to make it a success. Don't chase the money, let it chase you
What’s next… This year I want to really make a difference to people's businesses with the skills I've learnt over the years. I'm working on a couple of big contracts for consistent work and then also meeting lots of independent business owners who are at all different stages (some of my clients haven't even launched yet which is so exciting!) I'm booking speaking events & particularly focused on ethical manufacturing, the future of slow fashion & what that means for consumers in 2019.