Business start-up loans, mentoring and support

Angela Knowles combines a dress-making hobby and retail management experience to launch a fashion boutique and on-site tailoring studio with help from the Newable Start Up team

Retail management graduate with over 15 years in retail and 8 years’ store-management experience from brands like Fortnum and Mason, Jaeger, Aquascutum and Whistles, opens a fashion boutique with finance and mentoring from Newable. Angela got her passion for fashion and dress-making from her mother-a fashion college teacher and a few years ago started creating bespoke designs in her free time, using predominantly African Wax Print fabrications.

The Idea for the Business

Earlier this year, she returned to work after maternity leave, and few months later realised that retail management no longer satisfies her, as she was not working to her full potential. Within a month, Angela has found the best location for her boutique- near the old market on Roman road in trendy Shoreditch, but she needed finance to obtain the lease, refurbish it and purchase fabrics for her clothes, so Angela applied for a Start UP loan and mentoring from Newable. “At this moment I thought; if it goes somewhere then it is meant to be and if not I will put it on the shelf and continue with my retail career” Angela recollects.

How Newable helped

Having worked with a mentor on the business plan Angela’s idea crystallised perfectly so she went to the panel meeting nervous, but completely prepared in terms of her cash-flow forecast and where she wanted to be in 3-years’ time. “I think because I am very passionate about what I do and have been doing for so long it has become a part of my life. So, at the meeting I tried to convey the emotional message and showcase my commitment, as well as revealing the commercial viability of my business” she says.

Baruch or Blessed

With her invaluable experience in visual merchandising, knowing what contributes to a great customer shopping experience and finance from Newable, she converted the place into a high-end fashion boutique, which opened doors at the end of June. Angela says “what makes our boutique different is that if a customer likes one style, but wants in a different fabric, I can make it. Having the finished product on the shop-floor gives the customers confidence in the quality and finishing that I produce and to have this made to the customers’ requirements makes it even more desirable”. The boutique offers other complimentary brands, in order to provide the customer a wider range of products like jewellery or jeans, but is unique in offering the service and benefits of made-to-measure on-site tailoring. Angela is currently managing the boutique on her own, but she will need to hire additional staff soon, as many customers are ordering tailor-made clothes and she has even taken the first order for a wedding dress for 2015. “Now I have an opportunity to follow my passion for fashion, sewing and retail, and have a better work-life balance. I can bring my daughter to the store if I had to and still do what I love” Angela says.

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Angela Knowles combines a dress-making hobby and retail management experience to launch a fashion boutique and on-site tailoring studio with help from GLE Start Up team

Now I have an opportunity to follow my passion for fashion, sewing and retail, and have a better work-life balance. I can bring my daughter to the store if I had to and still do what I love.

Angela Knowles, Baruch Boutique

Newable Start-Up Loans

Newable Business Loans Ltd t/a Newable is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 700160).
Newable Business Loans Ltd t/a Newable assess client applications and then refer these for the disbursement and collection of the Start-Up Loan to The Enterprise Fund Ltd t/a Business Finance Solutions (BFS) (FCA Interim Permission Number: 523077)
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