Friday, 15 February 2013
Business Profile: Michelle Smith of EmperorEmpress
EmperorEmpress is a new and exciting clothing brand which aims to bring out the King or Queen within. EmperorEmpress is about individuality, style and a celebration of the Movement, where Red, Gold and Green are expressed in a way that is fashion forward in-line with today's current trends. Their exclusive range covers everything from clothing to jewellery and accessories. Michelle Smith of EmperorEmpress says "everything is limited edition so you can be confident that when you make your order, your purchase is one made of true blessings and love".
EmperorEmpress will be one of the exhibitors at the next ladies in March. Read our interview with Michelle to find out more about this entrepreneur and her business:
1/ Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
The role of starting a business day is so varied! I try to start around 6am, checking through emails and any social media accounts EmperorEmpress has for customer correspondence, feedback or queries. I find ways to promote the brand and connect with my target market via social media.
I then process any orders, and find inspiration for new designs which then get updated and are added to the sites on a regular basis. I spend the rest of my time happily sewing on my machine and creating samples.
2/ What made you start the business and what steps did you take to start operating as a business?
I Always dreamt of being a designer from the age of 7. I started out practising on my grand-aunts old sewing machine, took my first textile class aged 11 in secondary school. Then went on to study a Btec National Diploma in Fashion and Art and Design in College. My dream was put to the wayside due to starting a family and needing the stability of a 9-5 desk job. Being on maternity leave with my last child 10yrs later, the thought of putting my three children in to childcare, hardly seeing them, working long hours and not being fulfilled did not seem like a future for us. So I handed in my notice got myself re-acquainted with the sewing machine again and enrolled on a business enterprise course with the Princes Trust. Being around other like minded people really encouraged me and I knew that I was doing the right thing. I took part in a community fashion show with the help of friends which kick-started the business. At the same time my mother began to take an interest in jewellery making, she became very good at it and now makes the jewellery I design for the brand.
3/ What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Everything has been a great accomplishment, completing a garment I love, to designing the logo, to creating my website and making it live myself. I was over the moon when my first order came through on the website! Another small but great step in accomplishments, is when Sean-Paul started following my brand on twitter!
4/ What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
The biggest challenge is being a one man band. There is no-one to really delegate to! Another challenge is getting ready for shows and events I showcase and exhibit at. I like the brand to make an impact and have a wide vision and have become a perfectionist. With that I spend every hour God sends into getting it right for EmperorEmpress.
5/What are your future plans for the business?
Future plans are to expand the range. This year we are focusing on the apparel side including outwear and promoting the jewellery as that is one of our best sellers. I hope to get extra hands involved, including my brother to expand the range to involve artwork. This year we are working with up-and-coming artists to promote each other and I would like to have a shop or stall to trade from.
6/If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Create more time!!
7/ What’s the best compliment you could receive in business?
The compliments I receive from friends is that I am doing well juggling home life and family life with a business and also when a customer is completely happy with a product. It makes me feel satisfied like I am doing things right.
8/ What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Find a gap in the market for an original idea and go for it!! If it's your talent and you are passionate about it, only good can come out of it.
9/What or who inspires you in business and why?
What inspires me in business is tenacity, calculated risks and being open. I get inspired by everyone who runs ANY business and like people in that position who share their pathes to success. Alan Sugar and Richard Branson are great examples of that.
10/What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“Aim for the stars and you will tough the clouds” Aim high!!
Facebook: Emperor Empress
Website address: www.emperorempress.co.uk
To see some of EmperorEmpress' designs, come along to the Ladies Day at the Crowne Plaza in Docklands on the 9th March, register for your free attendance now: