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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fashion Angel Hosts Networking Talk on Agents and Distributors with GCU London

On Wednesday 27th May, we hosted one of our infamous networking talks, focusing on working with Agents and Distributors, as a path to increasing sales. The event was held in the heart of Spitalfields at the GCU London British School of Fashion campus, and was the first in a series of talks we will be collaborating on.

The event was a sell out with around 60 attendees, including our Fashion Angel Business Club members,  both new and established fashion industry SMEs and GCU students & alumni .

Chaired by Fashion Angel founder Alison Lewy, the evening explored how to go about finding agent/distributors, what needs to be considered if taking this route, and the legal obligations you should be aware of.

The guest panel consisted of Daniel Morris, MD of accessory brand Pauls’ Boutique, Stephen Sidkin, Partner at Fox Williams LLP who specialise in fashion agency law and Bridget Boakye, Fashion Industry Sales & Branding Consultant.

Daniel Morris offered his advice on how to find a sales agent  “ You have to do the hard work, visit trade shows, look at who represents complimentary brands. For international agents, the UKTI and local Chambers of Commerce can be helpful in providing  contacts.”

Steven Sidkin also told the audience the importance of have a formal agreement or letter of exchange in place "Agreements must comply with the Commercial Agency Regulation 1993 act and it’s vital that your requirements and terms & conditions are in place to avoid complicated litigation if things don’t go to plan, or you want to exit the relationship."

Bridget Boakye also offered her advice on working with agents  “It’s all about building a good relationships and managing expectations – some brands take on agents too early on, and are not ready to support producing larger orders.”

The talk could have gone on all night but there was plenty of opportunity to ask the panel questions and also a chance to network afterwards with the delegates as well as the guest speakers.

Fashion Angel founder Alison Lewy said “ the event exceeded our expectations and feedback from attendees has been fantastic. We were so pleased to see the GCU students network with our community of fashion SMEs, and look forward to collaborating with GCU London on the next talks”

Our next event is the popular Getting it Made workshop, focusing on sourcing and managing production. Tickets available on our events page.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Decoded Fashion Summit - bringing the top fashion and tech innovators to London

Anyone interested in the ever increasing cross over between fashion and technology should be heading down to the next Decoded Fashion London summit taking place on May 20 - 21. Here you’ll discover the most disruptive tech from around the world impacting fashion today, to help you supercharge your strategy with the newest ideas in e-commerce, in-store, mobile, wearables & social.

This will be the third London edition, and if anything like the past two I've attended, it'll be a fascinating insight in to the world’s top fashion and retail decision makers, technology thinkers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and influencers. You'll get the chance to hear from the industry's innovators including: Amazon Fashion EU, John Lewis, Google, TOPSHOP, Harvey Nichols and more.

Start-ups & entrepreneurs can visit the Decoded Fashion Mentorship Hub - a key element of the event. The hub gives attendees access to inspirational, world-class fashion, retail and tech mentors, and the opportunity to build relationships with central figures from across the industry.

Over the two day summit, over 150 meetings will take place, giving start-ups, entrepreneurs a the opportunity to sign up for a limited number of face-to-face meetings with various executives from across the Fashion, Retail and Tech industries.

Each mentor will offer 10-minute sessions and provide candid feedback and advice to help move your company forward. For mentees these meetings are a unique opportunity to explore your messaging, value prop and even pricing with those who truly understand your target market. For mentors, it is a chance to find new talent, new partners and ideas that could innovate the industry.

With tech developments so important to our community of fashion entrepreneurs, we're hoping to see a lots of you there!

For more information, visit Decoded Fashion  or
book tickets here

Alison Lewy

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fashion Angel founder, Alison Lewy selected as one of the Maserati 100 List of Entrepreneurs

Fashion Angel's founder Alison Lewy, has been selected as one of The Maserati 100  - a definitive list celebrating Britain's most successful business leaders actively supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs.

This selection is in recognition of the continuing support she gives to 100's of fashion entrepreneurs via  mentoring, training and access to funding.

Alison said 'I've always felt passionately that it's important for business leaders share their expertise with the next generation . I am delighted to be selected for this prestigious award and thankful to both Maserati and the Centre for Entrepreneurs for celebrating and encouraging entrepreneurship in this way. I have always found mentoring designer-makers and fashion  brands rewarding and inspiring, and it's so exciting to see so many of the entrepreneurs we've worked with, start and grow in to successful enterprises'.

The Maserati 100 List is a collaboration between Maserati and the Centre for Entrepreneurs. This collaboration is characterised by shared values in terms of the positive impact entrepreneurs have on the economy and society as a whole.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Our Favourite Fashion Exhibitions for 2015

If you’re a fashion or accessory designer, this year's going to be a bumper one for you, with a plethora of fashion exhibitions opening at some of London's top museums.

Our favourites below, will give you an idea of what to look forward to:-

Thea Porter:70s Bohemian Chic 
Thea Porter was the original fashion bohemian – inspired by her Damascus upbringing , she was one the first designers to introduce striking Middle East prints to the UK market and built up a huge global fan base. This show, with over 150 exhibits,  charts her journey from London to Hollywood's high society
Fashion and Textile Museum
February 6 – May 3 2015

Shifting Patterns: Pacific Barkcloth Clothing
Sounds strange, but clothing and accessories out of barkcloth is a 5,000 year old tradition. This show features headdresses, clothing and masks from New Guinea to Easter Island and explores creative history of ancient civilisations
British Museum
February 5 – Aug 16 2015

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
This dazzling retrospective is an ode to one of London’s most extraordinary talents and will have over 200 exhibits on display – even more than the original 2011 New York sell out show.
V & A
March  14 – 19 2015

Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style
The severe rationing during the Second World War encouraged the make do and mend ethos. This exhibition explores the extraordinary creativity that flourished as a result, and takes a peak in to the wartime wardrobe.
Imperial War Museum
March 5 – Aug 31 2015

3D Print Show
3D printing is pushing fashion’s boundaries and is being used for anything from intricate couture gowns to personalised trainers. This exhibition, at the Old Truman Brewery, features a catwalk display of 3-D printed creations
3D Print Show
May 21-23

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
This exhibition explores the agony and ecstasy of extreme footwear and includes over 200 pairs ranging from gold-leaf sandals from ancient Egypt, Zaha Hadid architectural heels and Viviemene Westwood platforms that notoriously floored Naomi Cambell.
V & A 
June 13 2015 – Jan 13 2016

Riviera Style: Resort & Swimwear since 1900
From the English seaside to the Côte d’Azur and California, Riviera Style celebrates fashion at its most fun. With swimsuits and sarongs, brightly patterned beach cover-ups, boat neck Bretons and beach pyjamas, palazzo pants and playsuits, bikinis and burkinis, the exhibition features over 100 years of clothes for leisure.
Fashion and Textile Museum
22 May – 29 August 2015

If there are any others you think we should include, let us know.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Are you ready for London Fashion Week?

With the A/W 15 selling season upon us, many designers are in the last stages of preparation for exhibiting or showcasing their collections during  London Fashion Week, or showing internationally.

Exhibiting  is costly, and yet it's surprising how many brands don't make the most out of their investment.

Define your aims and expectations

As I explain in Chapter 7 of my Design Create Sell book, trade shows give you access to new national and international buyers and build brand awareness with stockists that wouldn't normally know about you.

Trade events offer opportunities to:-

  • Find new trade buyers
  • Find agents/distributors
  • Meet, press, bloggers, /stylists
  • See what your competitors are up to
  • Get inspiration and new ideas.

It's helpful to be clear about what you hope to achieve and why you are showing. The main 'Fashion Weeks' are often more about PR than actually taking orders. If it’s your first time exhibiting, don’t expect to recoup all your costs at your first event. Buyers often want to see you for a few seasons before having the confidence to order.

Set yourself measurable goals – eg 5 new stockists, re-orders from existing customers, 20 new leads.

Tips and Check-lists


  • Contact existing and new potential target customers – send them an invitation for the show and follow up with a call – try and get them to make an appointment to see you on the stand.
  • Use your social media platforms to promote where you are showing.  Post information, pictures and/or videos (perhaps a preview of a new product or video invitation to visit the stand).  The goal is to let people/prospects know the who, what, where, when and most importantly, the why they should visit you at the stand. 
  • Be constantly in touch with whoever is making your samples to make sure they are on schedule.
  • Plan carefully the sample collection you are taking with you to the show. Don’t make too many pieces as nothing looks worse than a cluttered stand – have some show-stoppers that will attract buyer/press/stylists – they may not be the pieces that sell but will attract attention. Ideally your collection should include entry/mid and high price points to attract a broad base of customers. 
  • Double check what is included in the stand package and order any extras. It’s often more expensive if you order on the day.
  • Make sure you've organised  the delivery of your samples/displays to the venue and ensure your samples are  insured on site, in storage and in transit
  • If exhibiting overseas, choose reliable freighters and shipping agents and check they have all the relevant customs / import documentation in place.

Stand Display

  • Don’t have a physical barrier between you and the buyer.
  • Keep your display simple and minimal.
  • Maximise space especially vertically.
  • Ensure you order enough lights.
  • Have some display above head height so it can be picked out over a crowd.
  • Keep the look of your stand consistent with your brand identity so that buyers recognise you at subsequent events.
  • Allow for a space to sit and write orders. 
  • Think about taking a computer display or tablet to show off your website/videos   and to give  access to your social media pages to allow users to “Like” the brand on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

Paperwork/Info to take with you

  • Order book.
  • Lookbook/marketing materials.
  • Line sheet/Wholesale price list.
  • Business cards.
  • Press packs.
  • Information on lead times and delivery dates/minimum orders.
  • You will be selling your products at wholesale price so it is customary to show prices exclusive of VAT. If showing abroad it is helpful to have prices in local currency eg euro or dollars. You may be asked for the Recommended Retail Price (RRP)which is the price the retailer will sell the product at including their mark up
  • Bulk prices for large orders.
  • Info on your trading terms eg pro-forma, 30% deposit - balance on delivery, or credit?
  • Notebook to record comments and enquiries  from / about (potential) buyers next to business card stapled to page as an aide memoir for follow up phone calls after the show.
  • Make daily notes on the day’s events and feedback from customers so you remember what you should take into consideration when planning next seasons collection and events.
  • Deadline for placing orders.
  • Stationery including plenty of pens, stapler, staples and sellotape.

Staffing the stand

  • Take water – it's often hot and dehydrating at exhibitions
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes
  • Brief all staff (as they may be temporary)so they are knowledgeable on the product and terms.
  • Staff should always smile be friendly but not overbearing – not stand at edge of stand and make a barrier.
  • Keep your stand clean, tidy and dust-free.
  • No eating on stands! Arrange someone to cover breaks.
  • Always, always ask for business cards from visitors.

 After the event

  • Follow up order confirmations and chasing new leads. Contact everyone you saw and thank them for coming. 
  • Continue to post pictures and video from the event.  Again social media can also assist with your follow up.  It provides the opportunity to present images, messages, video and other branded content in such a way that will allow potential customers to learn about the brand.
  • Produce a final budget working out expenditure versus sales – was it worth it.? Remember though, with a trade show you  can’t tell immediately as takes a while to generate orders. 

Finally - make sure you enjoy it. Let me know how you get on!

If you're facing issues with sourcing and production of your samples and production we've scheduled another session of our popular  Getting it Made workshop on September 10th.

By Alison Lewy

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Win Tickets to the Inspiring Entrepreneurs Event at the British Library on 22 September

We're excited to announce that our friends at the British Library have offered us 5 tickets to give away for the Inspiring Entrepreneurs event on 22 September to our Fashion Angel community.


All you have to do is email us at info@fashion-angel.co.uk with the following:-



This competition is open to businesses trading 12 months or over.

Tuesday 26th August 2014.

Winners will be notified by email by Friday 29th August 2014.

Of course if you don't win and still want attend, there are limited tickets available which you can 

This panel discussion will be followed by a drinks reception, where you will be able to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and other business owners.

Monday, July 28, 2014

New competition for Start Up Loan recipients to win £5000

An exciting competition has been launched by our partners The Start Up Loans Company, to find Start Up Loans recipients with amazing and inspiring stories. 

One lucky winner will be awarded £5,000 as well other fantastic prizes and invited to an exclusive awards ceremony at the  Lord Mayor’s office in London.  

If you've received a Start Up Loan through us, all you need to do to enter is answer some questions about your business. It’s a national competition that will identify winners and semi-finalists in every region.  

We're the only deliver partner that specialises in supporting fashion fashion businesses and we know some of you are doing really well, so  we're really hoping lots of our  beneficiaries will apply

One of the regional winners will then be awarded Start Up of the Year (based on their application form and the video pitch submitted).  

Submit your story,  for a chance to be crowned Start Up of the Year 2014! 

Competition closes on 1st September at 12pm

If you haven't applied for  a Start Up Loan yet, but need funding for your business and would like some FREE mentoring too,  go to our Fashion Angel Start Up Loan page for more details on how to apply

Friday, March 14, 2014

Opportunities for retail & tech entrepreneurs

There’s suddenly a lot happening to support retail/tech entrepreneurs, and we thought you’d like to know about five interesting initiatives we’ve come across:-

John Lewis has launched a new incubator hub with technology entrepreneur, Stuart Marks. JLab is seeking StartUps and SMEs  that have technology and/or ideas that could improve the John Lewis in-store or online shopping experience.

5 applicants will enter JLAB for 15 weeks, competing for investment and a chance to supply John Lewis. You are offered £12,500 investment for 4% of your company and receive mentoring, workspace and talks/workshops to help you develop the idea. At the end of the 15 weeks, one company will receive £100,000 investment.

Applications now open and close on 17 April: www.jlab.co.uk

House of Fraser is the latest store to open a dedicated pop up space for new brands . Pop at HOF is offering 10 businesses the opportunity to sell their products in its Oxford Street store. Brands will be offered space on the ground floor of the store for a minimum of 2 weeks and online for 12 months. Winners will also secure mentoring and support in topics from visual merchandising to logistics and branding.

Applications are open with a deadline date of 20th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd April with the PopUp commencing in May. Apply online at:  www.thegreatretailrevival.org

IDEA London is a partnership of Cisco, UCL and DC Thomson offering a workspace and accelerator for tech companies, including retail. Snap Fashion, founded by  26 year old, Jenny Griffiths is based there, and the support she has received is helping her reach a global audience, so you’d be in good company!

Apply online at: www.idea-london.co.uk

TrueStart is a new retail and consumer innovation hub for entrepreneurs in Victoria. They are looking for ‘motivated entrepreneurs with innovative product, service or business ideas that are targeted at disrupting any aspect of the retail and consumer landscape. This could be anything including a retail technology aimed at improving the retail supply chain, data analytics for retailers, e-commerce, a social shopping platform, advertising technology, or even a new brand or consumer product.’

Hub tenants receive office and retail space, access to mentors and investment and professional services. One of the first to be accepted on their accelerator programme is THEUNSEEN design consultancy that has pioneered the fusion of science and creativity to integrate biological, chemical and electronic elements into textiles. The programme is helping them create a unique brand and design house through its own distinctive luxury products, while also helping to develop a licensing business model that will unlock opportunities to partner with leading players in the consumer sector.

Applications now open at:  www.truestart.co.uk

Start Up Loans are a lifesaver if you need some seed funding to get your idea off the ground. A Start Up Loan offers low cost, flexible loan along with FREE business mentoring. To find our more go to our Start Up Loan page.

If you hear of any others please do let us know.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Start Up Loan recipient Charli Cohen launches new collection at London Fashion Week

We were delighted to catch up with some of our Start Up Loan recipients at London Fashion Week yesterday.

Luxe sportswear designer, Charli Cohen had an innovative approach to launching her eponymous label's new Autumn/Winter 14 collection.

Charli's Angels getting ready for the workout!

She staged a rooftop workout at the ME London hotel, as part of the Felicities showcase, to show off her designs in action! The London skyline was a stunning backdrop for the workout, and luckily the rain held off.
Charli Cohen A/W 14 Collection

Needless to say the Fashion Angel team didn't join in and were happy just to watch!

Charli made her business dream a reality with the help of a Fashion Angel Start Up Loan and the FREE mentoring support offered as part of the scheme.

To see the full collection go to  www.charli-cohen.com

For more information how Fashion Angel can help you launch your fashion brand, and the Start Up Loan scheme, go to our Start Up Loans page.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Interview with Sam Mcewen from Isolated Heroes

Last April designer Samantha Mcewen, founder of luxury streetwear brand Isolated Heroes, won our mentoring competition, sponsored by Asos Marketplace. The prize was an amazing six months of business mentoring with Fashion Angel, after being picked as a brand with heaps of potential.

We caught up with Samantha, to find out how the business has grown since the mentoring started.

How have you found the last six months of business mentoring?

It’s been brilliant. When you start your own business you don’t always know the ins and outs of everything you’re doing, you just start designing clothes and selling them. The mentoring has helped me to make Isolated Heroes a proper brand. I’ve learnt how to do costing sheets, manage my accounts and forecast, which has really turned the brand around.
What's the most important thing you've learnt?

Having confidence in what you’re doing, especially with costing items and figuring out how important all that is when it comes to designing things and putting them out there, is invaluable. This mentorship has helped me to look at things properly when making clothes, sourcing fabrics and pricing items for what they’re worth.
Limited Edition collection at www.isolated-heroes.com
You've recently started selling on ASOS.com - how have you found the experience?

This has definitely been the highlight of the last six months! It wouldn’t have happened without the mentoring from Fashion Angel. I sourced all of the products but Alison helped with the introduction to ASOS. The first order is live on the site now and we’re currently looking at the next buy which is great!

Find out about more on how our fashion business mentoring can help your business grow or email info@fashion-angel.co.uk for an info pack.