Today, I visited The Village Haberdashery in North West London, to a) not buy any fabric (didn’t work!) and b) listen to a talk by a remarkable business owner, Suzie Dicker.
For the 2nd of the Make like a boss series, Suzie Dicker of A L’aise (which happens to be French for ‘at ease’ or ‘comfort’), explained to a keen audience how she started her amazing business with practically nothing. Yet within 18 months, her stationery and small leather goods company can easily sit amongst such brand names as Smythson, Orla Kiely and Cath Kidston.
My 3 take-a-ways from the talk were:
- Don’t try and do everything yourself – if you’re not good with numbers, get an accountant. Outsourcing isn’t a dirty word, or something to be ashamed of, rather it should be embraced, as it will allow you to focus on the areas of the business you excel at.
- Good product photography is key. Suzie attended 2 trade shows in her first year of business, which created a buzz for her products. She made the point however, if those potential customers then refer back to a website which doesn’t match the high quality of the products, it doesn’t create the best impression.
- You can start a business with no money. This is a huge one for me, as I’m in the process of building my own business on a limited budget. Have a business plan – if you need help writing a business plan, ask an accountant or business advisor. Make sure you have the paperwork to back up your dreams before you head towards your bank manager. Start off with a professional business plan and make it impossible for the bank manager to say no.
Actually, there was another personal take-a-way I finally managed to source the fabric for my top to match my Henley Skirt. It has only taken me the best part of a year, and yes I did promise not to buy any more fabric. But then again, if recent events have taught us anything, seizing the day seems rather apt.
Thanks to Suzie for an inspiring talk and all at Village Haberdashery for hosting such a fantastic event.