Women Making Moves interviews Remi Ray
Where are you based? London
What made you take the leap and start your own business?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur and started out early from helping out family members on market stalls to customising ripped jeans and denim pieces from aged 14/15. From there I learnt to wholesale items and moved into what society calls a “proper business” in 2012.
Did you face any struggles when launching your business?
Some of the struggles I have faced in my business tend to have been mostly around dishonesty and trust in others. I truly believe having a great support network around you when starting out in a business is a great start to a great foundation. I would also say do your background research on those who wish to enter into your business with and look for those that strengthen your weaknesses.
Many people wanting to start a business often say it's difficult to keep focused. How do you combat this?
I also struggle with maintaining my focus. I personally think it is really important to constantly remind yourself what your actual business is. Is it a service, is it a product, can it be made cheaper is there new methods of execution? I also tend to hide myself away from social media every so often so that I can re-centre my mind and drain out the noise; this helps me quite a lot to refocus.
How did you finance your business?
I started my first venture as a blog and then turned my blog into an online plus size boutique which I self-financed. I then received a grant of £5000 which was given to me in £1000 instalments. Which is a terrible idea from a creativity side as it slows the business down quite heavily. As it meant that you had to wait for the next instalment and made your business come across as a little unprofessional to those who you engage with while you wait for the next instalment. I then took a £3500 (Start-up loan) in the very early stages which you have to repay each month and however (Start-up Loan) messed up my repayments a few times by taking more so I repaid them early and went back to self-funding.
To be very honest I think it’s best to start a business with no debt at all and just start small and build, I know very few people that have been given bank loans as the banks tend to lack innovation and look for very old school business models to finance and this can make you become dishearten. I would suggest saving towards your goal and
taking it from there.
Mistake's you made in business and wished you could turn back?
I wish I took more belief in myself and had not taken on a business partner, I believe fear was a big factor for me then and was also the straw that broke the camel’s back as my then business partner did every bad thing you could think of and as a young person in business back then knocked my confidence and trust levels in doing business with others again.
Many people reading your story will be inspired to start their own business in your industry. What advice would you give them?
While many will tell you to go with your passion I would say go with a good solid business idea instead of something that you can see potential in faster. I have noticed those rich and exciting people we aspire to be like will never tell you they made their money elsewhere and converted into a passion, they always make it seem like it started from their passion.
Who/what inspires you in business?
When I started I was a part of an entrepreneurial network called the Twenty Ten club. The women were older and took me in like a little sister; they offered me support and also gave me knowledge of their experiences which to this day is still priceless. They always say it but it is truly the key, find someone who has been through it already and see where you can correct the errors in relation to your business.
As you know statistics state that the average start -up businesses fail within their first year. What has kept you going to succeed beyond the first year and have a successful business?
I think the first year for me was exciting, I definitely had the times where I wanted to stop because my market was so niche and small. However that niche market has now become a global success, which keeps on growing every year. Having women that reach out to me daily and require advice or information from my experience that really keeps me going in all honesty.
From our collection of jewellery what's favourite piece and why?
I have my eye on those Rose Gold Spine earrings which I may have to treat myself to this year, I’m quite into rose Gold for some reason I feel it reminds me to be more feminine but also offers a sense of luxury which is very me on a good day.
What's next for you in 2017, what can we look forward to see?
This year I wanted to step out from under my Remi Ray London brand and show more of a softer honest side to the plus size world and launched the Body & Style Conversation Series – which in a nut shell is a series of events that uncovers and discusses areas in niche fashion from how to build confidence instead of saying put on a bikini and post a picture and you become instantly more confident. We talk about real life experiences as a bigger, taller, smaller woman in society like a network of sisters that shares solutions and help each to overcome.
How can we connect with you?