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DIY approach builds strong foundations

Once upon a time, opening a shop was just that. You found suitable premises, bought some stock, hired a helper or two, opened your doors and waited for the public to walk in.

In the 21st century, it’s an entirely different affair, as we’ve just spent a year discovering. We launched Black White Denim into the world of women’s fashion in 2010, determined that this new retail brand would make its mark both as a boutique in Wilmslow and in the fiercely competitive online sector. And all of this in the depths of a recession. But waiting for economic recovery wasn’t an option. If you’ve got a killer idea, you’ve got to jump in with both feet. And that’s exactly what we did.

The past year has been many things, but due to our limited funds it has mostly been an exercise in resourcefulness and military precision. Everyone at Black White Denim (and there are only four full-timers) has to multi-task and learn on the job. Here’s a glimpse of just two of the team to show exactly what I mean.

Charlotte Acton, who we took from Selfridges’ shopfloor, is now the stunning face of Black White Denim online. As well as modelling for stills and video, she is our art director, arranging constant photo shoots, putting together outfits and photoshopping the resulting images. In Charlotte, we’ve managed to bypass both model and design agency.

Our intern, Jordan ‘Fashion Boy’ McDowell is our social media guru. He blogs, tweets, co-ordinates Facebook, shoots and edits BWD:TV and keeps an eye on the SEO implications of all of the above. His mantra is ‘All roads lead to the Black White Denim shopping bag’.

Life at Black White Denim is about learning to be self-sufficient. After all, we are an independent.

Jo Davies is co-owner of premium womenswear indie Black White Denim in Wilmslow, Cheshire

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