Bethany is a powerhouse in business and founder of Ando Stores.
During a successful career as head of marketing she decided to leave the corporate world to set up Ando Stores, and what a decision it was. A firm favourite with so many families for stocking the best outfitting and special pieces. She’s now a dear friend and stockist of Claude & Co.
We couldn’t resist asking her a few questions on how she does it.
Click to shop our Claude & Co x Ando Overalls
WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
As naff as life quotes are, you’ll have to forgive me for borrowing this one (as a tired Mama it said it better than I could!)…
“May your limits be unknown, and your efforts be your own”.
I feel like this is a pretty good mantra when approaching a new business. Firstly, from the beginning, know where you want to take your business and have a clear focus to drive towards that goal. Even if it feels unobtainable, scary and a leap beyond your comfort zone (it invariably will), try not to limit your ambitions by your own and others’ expectations of you.
I launched my business when on maternity leave and so often was referred to by that catch-all-title, Mumpreneur. While I appreciate it has many positive undercurrents, in terms of how creative, productive and generally epic mothers can be, whilst simultaneously keeping a small person alive and entertained, for me it always felt a bit jarring. Firstly, it felt a bit like boxing all businesses run by mothers, as cottage businesses. And secondly, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a man, who’s a recent dad and runs a start-up, be called “Dadpreneur”? Usually they’re just allowed to be called “Entrepreneur”! So often people are underestimated, labelled in a certain way and subsequently stifled. Your limits are unknown. Believe in yourself and you can do it.
Then secondly, be true to your vision and not someone else’s. Make sure your efforts really are all your own. Even if you are launching into a cluttered space, being authentic, pioneering or original will carve you a space and will get your business noticed and supported.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF CLOTHING FROM CHILDHOOD?
I’ve loved clothes from a tiny age, seeing them as a nice creative outlet and form of expression. My mum loves to recall my outright refusal to wear traditional Clark’s shoes in early primary school, insisting on loafers instead (classic youngest-of-four antics).
As lovely and victorious as the loafers felt, one of my earliest favourites was definitely an oversize, charcoal grey, wool dress - complete with white polka dots, puff sleeves and statement anglaise-trim super collar! Everything to a 3 year old.
Also, I’d probably wear it now with some sliders.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE IN THE CLAUDE & CO COLLECTION AND WHY?
Our Ando x Claude, Milking It Overalls. As a business, it’s such an amazing experience to be able to collaborate and work with other businesses you admire. That and an unwavering love for oversize overalls. The baseball-neck collar gives them such a distinctive look, and seeing the little Ando illustrations intertwined with Claude’s iconic Milking It letters is, quite frankly, a sparker of joy.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB/BUSINESS?
I love the challenge of running and growing a business. It’s a bit of a hackneyed one, but it’s true that no one day is really the same as another - there’s always new things to learn, navigate, troubleshoot, explore and develop.
There’s now a very small team of people working for ANDO and I’m so proud to be able to offer modern, flexible and part time working that fits with people’s lives. While it’s hard to let go when it’s your baby, it’s just amazing to see other people as enthusiastic for your little business, as you are.