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Looking back on a year of hard work

Our womenswear business will celebrate its first birthday on September 1 this year. It was established by my partner Fiona and I while we were both working as full-time corporate buyers.

Our shop, called Feather & Stitch, was created during our precious evenings and limited spare time.

Fiona and I met at the London College of Fashion 12 years ago, and while everyone advised us not to mix business and friendship, just how many people do you know who are prepared to risk their secure jobs and savings to start a business with incredibly high overheads – especially as financial markets were showing signs of a recession?

We both believed passionately in the boutique concept, and that the UK high street lacked independents offering unique brand mixes with limited distribution so that everyone could achieve a level of exclusivity in their wardrobe.

There have been many late nights, much hard work, some lucky breaks and mistakes made along the way, but the day that we sold our first item made everything worthwhile.
Maybe this sounds like a romantic view of running your own business, but unless you appreciate these moments there really is no point. The hours are longer than we ever worked in a corporate environment and the pay in the early years was much less.

You start your own business because you believe in its future and desire the lifestyle it allows, the freedom to make your own decisions, mistakes and victories.
Would we recommend it? We are very aware of the fine line between success and failure – maybe ask us again in three years’ time.

Fleur Webb is co-owner of Feather & Stitch, an independent womenswear boutique in Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey

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