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Fashion entrepreneurs on taking the plunge: always believe in yourself

Taking control of your own destiny and surrounding yourself with people who share your vision are some of the major advantages of starting your own company, said a panel of fashion entrepreneurs from Serge DeNimes, Trouva and Rolling People Showroom.



Fashion entrepreneurs from Serge DeNimes, Rolling People Showroom and Trouva at Drapers Next Generation

“You have to be thick-skinned and have self-belief,” said menswear brand Serge DeNimes founder Oliver Proudlock at Drapers Next Generation in London today.

“Always be positive, because there will be down times, so you need to fully believe in what you do.”

Mandeep Singh, co-founder of independent boutique ecommerce platform Trouva, added: “When you first quit your job to start your own business, your friends will be supportive, but a lot of people will tell you it’s a stupid idea. You have to believe in yourself and have the determination to be like: ’Yes, I know most startups will fail, but I believe in what I’m doing.’

“It’s also about being flexible enough to accept feedback – it’s a balance.”

He added: “I love going to work in the morning, and that’s what gets you through the tough times.”

Michelle McManus, co-founder and director of brand agency Rolling People Showroom, which represents brands including Veja and Soulland, said: “The bad days are really bad but the good days are amazing.

“You are responsible for the destiny of your own brand,” she advised. “Keep it moving, it will evolve and change – it may not end up what it used to be.”

She said that not having the layers of management of a big corporate means you can feel very exposed, but that is what makes it so exciting: “You’re that person making the decision and having that exposure is exciting and scary.”

“No-one is going to sell your business like you do,” added Proudlock.”You’ve got to live it 24/7. Sometimes you want to switch off, but it’s your baby.”

Singh said surrounding himself with a great team is also really rewarding. Trouva’s team currently stands at 30 people and is growing.

“When you start to build you get people who want to leave their jobs to join you,” he said. “The best people believe in that vision and want to come with you on that journey, which feels great.”

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