Josie Beckett: Rising Star

From a market stall in Spitalfields to supplying Top Shop and internet-based retailer ASOS, Josie Beckett talks about the unexpected success of her label Whereareyounow?

What made you start up?

It all happened by accident. I’ve always designed my own clothes, and strangers had started to approach me to see where they were from. I then began to be commissioned to make clothes. After that, I came to London and set up my own stall at Spitalfields Market, where I was spotted by Top Shop. My line is now in three of their shops, including the flagship branch on Oxford Street.

Where did you get the funding?

I started off with £10 to buy clothes from a charity shop. I’m lucky that the business has always been self-funding. However, I did get a scholarship from my university for £500 a month for nine months. This meant I could focus on the business rather than having to spend my time looking for work.

How have you developed the brand?

The idea behind my label is to remind people of where all their fabrics are from. The clothes have tickets on them that look like old-fashioned passports, which my customers seem to like. There is also an ethical point behind the brand, in terms of thinking about where your clothes are from and shopping responsibly. However, so far I haven’t done any actual marketing.

Did it matter not having a business background?

No. I think it’s really important to appreciate that there’s no set way of doing things. For a long time I felt like a cowboy, but there’s nothing wrong with fitting the business to your personality, and learning through trial and error.

Where do you see it going next?

We are currently redesigning the website, and after Christmas I want to start selling online, which will eventually include custom-built facilities where shoppers can design their own styles. I’m also looking to develop the business overseas.

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Female Entrepreneurs

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