I’ve been planning it for a number of months and finally this week it happened..…! I launched my e-commerce store Hayworths, which sells vintage inspired shoes and accessories for women.
A photo of me from way back - heading out to a swing dance in Essex
Originally from Australia, I’ve been living in the UK for over 15 years and for as long as I can remember I’ve loved trawling the vintage and charity shops in London. There is a bunch of great vintage and second hand shops on/near Brick Lane and that’s always one of my favourite destinations. For me, dressing in vintage styled fashion has made me feel like I had an outlet for expressing myself and made me feel more confident and a wee bit more glamorous.
Brick Lane (London) on a sunny day
Back in January 2016 I’d been searching on-line for a pair of reproduction 40’s or 50’s shoes. Although there seemed to be quite a few companies based in the US that sold these kind of shoes, it wasn’t easy to find companies based in the UK – I wasn’t really keen on paying for the customs taxes and shipping to the UK from the US. This got me thinking about starting up an on-line store which would be a one-stop shop for a number of brands selling vintage inspired shoes and also accessories.
Although I love vintage inspired fashion, I knew naff all about retail (and I’m still learning!) – not that I let that deter me…. Early on I approached a couple of people who I stumbled across who had started their own e-commerce stores and I was fortunate enough to be able to pick their brains. They were really helpful when it came to buying wholesale and dealing with suppliers. I was also extremely fortunate to get advice and support from a charity called Ignite (based in Essex) who gave me really practical business start up advice, particularly around footwear buying.
I recently quit my full time job at IBM, where I’d been working in the UK corporate responsibility team for the past 5 years. It was pretty scary deciding to leave a secure, full time job to jump in to the unknown. But I’ve been given so much support and encouragement from my wonderful boyfriend, family and also all my awesome friends. If I hadn’t had all this support I probably wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today with my fledgling business.
Me and my amazing guy on a trip to Wiltons Music Hall
I’m sitting here writing this blog on Small Business Saturday. I should have written this 2 days ago when I actually launched the Hayworths e-commerce store! But somehow things always seem to get in the way when you're running your own business.
As a small, independent business in the UK I'm looking forward to what lies ahead, and I'm excited to finally be my own boss and create something I can truly be proud of. Being a small business, I'm starting off with a selected number of brands and styles of shoes/accessories from the UK. But in the near future I'm hoping to add many more brands and products to the Hayworths on-line store - so watch this space!!
Hats off to all the other people in the UK who've also taken the big leap to be their own boss!! Support small businesses on this fine 'Small Business Saturday'!!