Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fashion but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sally Smy, Founder of Queen Bee Styling, located in London, United Kingdom.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a personal stylist, and I set up my business Queen Bee Styling fourteen years ago. I help women and men over 35 to dress with confidence and to feel great in the clothes they wear. I offer a range of services which includes one-to-one wardrobe edits and personal shopping sessions, as well as group workshops and online services.
I believe that every person has a unique personal style, and my job is to help people discover theirs and create a wardrobe that works for their lifestyle. That means having stylish, effortless, and modern 'go-to' outfits for days in the office, working from home, weekends, and social occasions.
Tell us about yourself
Before setting up Queen Bee Styling, I worked for 18 years as a fashion buyer for many blue-chip companies, including Arcadia and Debenhams. I tried a few different jobs before I got the job of a buyer's assistant, which I loved and never looked back.
Despite a long career in fashion, I had what I refer to as my 'beige' period when on maternity leave with my eldest child. I neglected my appearance, which in turn affected my confidence and mindset - I no longer felt like 'me' anymore.
I was able to use my fashion skills to get my style and confidence back, and this gave me the idea to set up a styling business. The best part of my job is helping people in a similar situation feel great and dress with confidence. Seeing them transform and the positive impact this has on their lives makes it all worthwhile.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is growing my business from a kitchen table start-up with no clients to a successful and profitable business with hundreds of clients. I also love the fact that I can flex my business around my family's needs. I work hard but I am able to be there for school plays, doctor's appointments, etc.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest aspect of running my business has undoubtedly been the tech side of things. I miss having someone at the end of the phone when my pc breaks down! Having had two websites fail on me, I have learnt the hard way to invest in help for the jobs you don't have the time or inclination to do. I now have someone who manages my website, which is worth the cost for peace of mind.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have some money saved - ignore all the 7 figure sum gurus online, as it takes a while to grow your earnings.
- Invest in yourself - invest in people that will help you along your journey. That could be a business coach, a social media course, or just someone to help you with tech - see above for why!
- Don't wait for the right moment to start - confidence comes from doing. You are never going to be fully ready, so just go for it and learn along the way.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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