Josie Beckett - whereisjosienow.com
While studying Journalism at Cardiff University, Josie Beckett began to make clothes for herself in order to escape the confines of the High Street. “People would approach me and would ask where I had bought them, so I saw an opportunity,” Josie explains. During her time at Uni, Josie founded the company whereareyounow? Josie Ltd, providing an alternative to High Street Fashion. Josie’s company is, in her words, “a quirky, young womenswear label produced in the UK, using vintage or hard to find fabrics and trimmings.” Over the last 3 years it has become a great success.
From making all the products herself and trading on stalls such as Spitalfields, Josie soon moved on to even bigger things. “It was there that Topshop scouts spotted me and offered me a concession in their flagship store. With this increased demand, I had to find a way to manufacture in bulk – and fast”, Josie says. Her original designs were soon spotted by many other retailers, and the business continued to grow. In February 2010, whereisjosienow? appeared at one of the world’s biggest fashion events, London Fashion Week. “Being sponsored to show at London Fashion Week was a huge confidence boost – especially having never studied fashion”, Josie remarks.
Luckily for Josie, funds weren’t always an issue. “The first £10 spent on fabrics generated £120 of sales”, she explains. However, the KEF Scholarship was still a great help for Josie, having applied on the recommendation of Student Enterprise. “It was amazing. It allowed me to concentrate all my efforts on getting the label out there rather than worrying how about to afford rent and bills etc”, Josie says.
The current financial climate has proved to be a challenge for Josie. “Its not fantastic news for any small business, and the changing face of British retail is a constant squeeze on any independent company. We are always trying to find new ways to make profit”, Josie explains.
Josie is currently creating extra profit by selling to stores in Tokyo, and creating five consecutive collections for ASOS.com. She has also received scholarships from London College of Fashion. Josie admits that her biggest personal success was earning the money to buy her flat, calling it her “proudest moment!”
Despite her success, Josie is keen to emphasise that running a business is not always easy, and that “staffing, production issues, suppliers letting you down, deadlines etc” can be a daily struggle. Her advice to others hoping to make it in business is to avoid delaying. “Do it as soon as you possibly can”, Josie urges. “I see so many people who have been employed for five years and now find it very difficult to take the leap into self-employment.”
Find out more about Josie and her clothing range at: www.whereisjosienow.com