Thursday, 16 June 2016

2Inspire Inspirational Woman: Rosie Davies, Founder of The London Fashion Agency

Rosie Davies is the founder of The London Fashion Agency. She started the PR and marketing firm in 2013 with no loans or investments and has grown the business organically. To date Rosie and the LFA team has worked with more than 80 brands and has received coverage for those brands in over 200 publications. Rosie started The London Fashion Agency to help independent fashion brands get coverage in mainstream and independent publications. Read this inspirational interview with Rosie and know that anything and everything is possible! 

What is a typical business day like for you?
On a usual day I wake up at about 6:30 and I’m usually at my desk by 7:10. I’m in no way a morning person but London traffic is so bad after 7am that early starts are best. I have breakfast at the office while posting our first Instagram posts of the day, and respond to any new business requests that have come in overnight. We have flexi office hours, so the rest of the LFA team usually arrive between 9am and 10am.
We usually all sit down together and go through the work for that week. We get requests for a lot of tailored publication lists so we talk about the brand, their product, their price point and their customer before putting it all together. 
In the afternoon, I either focus on client work or business development, with some LFA social media thrown in there too. We usually finish around 6. Some evenings I go to gymnastics training, as it’s refreshing to put 100% focus into something else.

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I always wanted to start a business from a young age. I wasn’t great at school, but I was very creative and passionate about fashion and textiles. After freelancing for a few years, I realised how much I loved the thrill of working with independent brands. Feeling like a part of their team and making a difference was something I couldn’t create doing anything else. I created LFA to offer affordable PR resources to hundreds of brands.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Winning an award at the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year awards was a very special moment - it solidified that other people think that LFA is a viable business.
It’s also a huge accomplishment every time we see one of our clients in a magazine. We still get very excited for them and high five each other in the office. Our independent brands are competing against big fashion houses, corporations and massive PR budgets so when they are featured in Stylist Magazine or Sunday Times Style I feel so happy for them.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
My personal challenge is my dyslexia. In the early years it was difficult as team LFA was just me, so I had no one there to spell check. Now the team check through work and then double check, which gives me piece of mind.
In terms of business, people doubt you all the time until you ‘make it’. We’re still ‘making it’ but if I had listened to the ‘this can’t be done’ or ‘are you sure you’re going to start your own business?’ we wouldn’t have got this far.   

What are your future plans for the business?
There are lots more resources we have planned to release this year to support brands with their PR and marketing. In a year’s time I would love for LFA to be the go-to agency for independent brands.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have given brands we have worked with a better insight into how PR works and what they needed to ensure that their products were received warmly by the press. At the start I wanted to have good working relationships with our brands so I didn’t want to rock the boat by telling them that their imagery or social media weren’t quite up to scratch. Nowadays we are honest with everyone who approaches us. If we feel that they could work on something to help increase their chances, we’ll tell them.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
Because any woman can do this! I came from a very normal background, with average GCSEs and no A-Levels. I worked hard for something I believed in and made LFA a reality. I had no previous experience but I learnt along the way. I took no funding - instead I worked in a pub and as a nanny to fund the business.

It’s so important to inspire women, not just in showing them what can be achieved but also how those people got there.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Use the Internet!! There’s nothing we can’t learn from the Internet these days. We did everything ourselves from building our office to building our website, just by using YouTube.

Never turn anyone down for a coffee - you never know who they might know. We’ve had clients come from meetings that I never thought would come to anything. It really pays to be nice to people!

Work hard. It doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve worked five years with very few holidays or days off. I’ve missed friends’ events and birthdays. I’ve slept on the sofa at the office more times that I can count on two hands but I wouldn’t change any of it. I love LFA. I love our brands and what we offer people. When someone emails saying “what LFA offers is so refreshing”, it makes everything worthwhile.

What or who inspires you in business and why? 
Phoebe Gormley of Gormley & Gamble. She’s 22 and the first female tailor on Saville Row. She’s got more tenacity and passion than anyone I know. When I feel a bit lost in business, I look at what Phoebe is doing and she gets me back on track. It’s great to have another young female entrepreneur to rely on. She’s got my back and I’m proud to call her my friend. 

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“Being all things to all people is a recipe for mediocrity”

Twitter: @LdnFashionAgcy

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