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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Start Up Loan helps Swimwear Designer Sarah Reader Swim to Success

Designer Sarah Reader applied for a Start Up Loan to help her set up her new swimwear label Project 104. Sarah had become frustrated that she couldn't find  any swimwear she liked in the marketplace, at an affordable price.

A graduate in fashion design at Ravensbourne, she decided to combine her design skills with her professional swimming background, and fill this gap in the market .

She decided to design a swimwear collection that was an affordable alternative to the mass produced offer on the high street. The Project 104 ‘s USP is that it offers the first limited edition, individually numbered fashion swimwear made entirely in the UK. She is passionate about ethical sourcing and supporting UK manufacturing, so keep production in the UK was a key element of her business proposition.

She heard about the Start Up Loan scheme via delivery partner Fashion Angel who is the only partner specialising in supporting fashion industry entrepreneurs. Sarah says ” The pre-loan support I received was highly beneficial in assisting me to think through and gain a better understanding of my business direction and goals.”
The process helped her identify the brand's target customer as 18-35 fashion conscious women who want a unique quality product that they won't find others wearing.

The Start Up Loan was used to finance the development of the first collection named   “My Body, My Shrine”, make up some stock to sell, and to set up the Project 104 e commerce site, which was launched in May 2013.

Project 104 S/S 13 Collection
Project 104 S/S Collection

Sarah’s advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs ” Plan, plan, plan! If you don't spend enough time planning and researching you’re constantly chasing your tail and achieving nothing”. Having a clear idea of what you’re going to do with key milestones, helps you achieve your goals step by step. Keeping track of your finances is also essential.  Designing is only part of the business, if you don’t understand and control the money going in and have a clear handle on your costs and profit margins, then your creativity doesn't have a chance of being a viable business.”

She goes on to say “Thanks to Fashion Angel I have channelled my creative ambitions into what I believe to be my business future. The initial Start Up Loan funding has enabled me to invest in creating a supply chain for my products that would be impossible to do otherwise as banks aren't interested in helping a start up business without security.”

Her plans are for the brand to supply international stockists as well as selling direct to the consumer via the Project 104 website. Since the launch they have secured both national and international stockists, so she is well on her way to making her dream a reality…..


See how a Start Up Loan and FREE mentoring from Fashion Angel can help make your business dream happen.

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