Starting an ethical handbag retailer

Interview with...

Naomi Cornelius-Reid
Age:
31
CV:
Design consultant for high-end fashion retailer Bill Amberg
Business name:
NV London Calcutta
Goods/services:
Ethical handbag retailer
Location:
London
Trading for:
12 months

Listen to part two of Naomi's podcast: Managing an ethical supply chain
Listen to part three of Naomi's podcast: The trend of ethical consumerism

Naomi on the germination of her business idea...

“I used to work for a big luxury leather goods company with a bespoke, corporate arm, and I did everything from taking the brief for whatever product they might want and see it through right to the end, with budgets, production limitations etc. But I thought ‘well this is ridiculous, I’m constantly making new products, and I understand everything from the design to the manufacture of the end product’.

“I went to India in 2007 and I thought maybe I could find something there. And I started having these wild ideas about importing furniture.

“But then I realised when I got home I’d need a shop and all these crazy overheads. So I went back to work and refined my idea a bit, and decided I could do the same thing I did in my old job for myself with local craftspeople in India.”

The pressure, if you just cut all your ties and throw yourself into something, certainly if you’re not someone with a huge amount of backing, is terrifying, and it can put undue pressure on you to perform

On how continuing to work part-time made starting a business less terrifying...

“In the first year I worked quite a few consultancy jobs, so half my time was free and half my time I was using to still bring in money. So it wasn’t such a risk for me.

“The pressure, if you just cut all your ties and throw yourself into something, certainly if you’re not someone with a huge amount of backing, is terrifying, and it can put undue pressure on you to perform. Although it did take a little of my time to do those consultancy jobs, it really was a godsend to know at the end of the month I had this money coming in, because it just helped continuity.

“You can have a fantastic month’s selling, or a month of not so good selling, and you don’t know when those are going to come – but the bills will keep coming!”

Listen to part two of Naomi's podcast: Managing an ethical supply chain
Listen to part three of Naomi's podcast: The trend of ethical consumerism

 

3 comments about this article

comment by khanyi
Hi there my name is Khanyi from South Africa I would like to get some help for how to start clothing business here in South Africa?
comment by Mustafa Lari
Dear Friends, I am willing to start business with someone, I can help anyone establish a good business in UK. I can help them start clothing business like jeans t-shirts etc. at cheap costs and dry fruit and spices business. If anyone is interested, please email me at : mustafam.m@hotmail.com
comment by maryanne kennedy
hi im maryanne kennedy..from hitchin south west..here i would like to start a own business..but i dont know wht type of business that i can start..i like to do online business but i need to get some product..but i dont knw wht type of product that i can do online business..i like to do handbag business but i need some advice from u..can u help me plss.hope to hear from u thank u. warm regards maryanne kennedy

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