Each month, we ask one of our industry peers, freelancers we work with or indie business owners we rate the all-important Claude's 4 Questions. Read on to find out this month's tips. Our guest for June is Abi - Claude & Co's founder, and the one responsible for all the wonderful things you see in our shop and beyond.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
I would suggest a couple of things. Check in with yourself: Are you 100% totally passionate, committed and excited about what it is you want to do? Will you keep going? If you answer YES, then do a business plan. It does not have to be set in stone, or even close - but it gives you something to work towards. My business plan from when I started Claude & Co is completely rubbish, but it did give me something to check back in on. I just Googled “how to write a business plan” - I suggest you follow some sort of guide, miss the sections you don’t understand, and add as many pretty pictures as you like. Go for it.
I’d also recommend reaching out to other people and friends in business...if you don’t have any, then go to some networking events (when that’s allowed again) and listen, learn and absorb. Some of the best advice I have been given happened at the most unexpected times.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF CLOTHING FROM CHILDHOOD?
This is quite tough for me, as fashion and clothing have always been a big interest. BUT some of my favourites, early days...I had some vertical stripe multi coloured (but muted) flares that I used to wear on bonfire night only. Quite the fashionista.
I also remember my first pair of tiny heels that I requested for my seventh birthday when being given the decision between those and horse riding lessons. I think that tells you a lot about my character! I remember having them by my bedside table and staring at them...a LOT. They were clear plastic with white flowers on them. Pretty snazzy.
In the teenage years - I grew up in the peak Emo era. I had a pair of jeans so wide they were two sewn together. They were eye catching (yes probably for all the wrong reasons) and they got so soggy in the rain at the bottom it was horrid. But I loved them!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE IN THE CLAUDE & CO COLLECTION AND WHY?
This is tricky because of course I’ve created all of them and they’re like family. BUT I think it has to be the oat milking it body, I remember bringing that design together and registering the trademark and thinking...this is really something so simple and so beautiful. Turns out it was, and I think it always will be. So it just has to be my favourite as I think it will be with me and Claude & Co for always.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB/BUSINESS?
Similar to Joana, flexibility was something that I always dreamed when having my own business and I love. Working without the endless corporate nonsense makes me happy. I was determined to create a worthy company in all aspects, and I am continuing to.
Saying that, I think the main thing is…’skies the limit’. There are days (months) where I just think I cannot work any more than I am, or fear sets in that this is all going to go away someday, but then the grit and passion kicks in harder and we strive forward. I’m fiercely determined and proud of this brand. I love that decisions are mine to make, and we can reach people really directly.
I also really love that we are creating something meaningful. I have worked so hard to ensure that the clothing is the best quality, long lasting, unisex, worthy and not throw away. Which I am proud of considering my entire fashion career before my own brand was basically built on fashion being fast and wasteful.