I was born in Cambridge but I grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire, which is the north of the UK which is a little different from London. Where I live now. My entrepreneurial streak was always encouraged by my grandparents and father when I began working as a pot washer in a local cafe and set up a car-boot sale every weekend to earn extra money. I also set up a car cleaning business at 15 out of boredom when I moved to Kent for a year. I was always moving from place to place and school to school due to my fathers work contracts and I always found it took a lot of energy to keep making new friends again. Any way, I finished school, dropped out of a few courses at college then went on to do many different jobs alongside some part time commercial modelling. I had no degree, just a degree of early life or what it felt like I guess.
At that time, at 20 I was interested in pursuing a career as TV presenter so that is why I originally moved to London, it wasn't to work in fashion. However, I had this spark inside me that made me want to build my own empire, again not in fashion, not really in anything specific at that moment. So it wasn't until after something caught my eye on a car rally that I was booked to present on back in 2010, that I was really inspired to start a fashion label. I launched Critics Clothing in the late 2012 but it wasn't really until 2014 that it was popularised. The rest is history!
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Taking it back to 2014, knowing what direction I wanted to take Critics Clothing in and being sure about the strategy and the DNA of the brand was an obstacle I was once met with. It was a question of whether I was to turn it mainstream and on a fast fashion basis or keep it more elusive and less available to the mass market.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Not so much contention, as my entrepreneurial streak was always encouraged from a young age by my family. I have always done exactly what I wanted to do and been fiercely independent from a relatively young age. I have always had the support, however I think it was more of a point of concern on whether my choice was going to be rewarding and profitable enough to be a career.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Having a strong database/network and cult following of people dedicated to your business community.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
That things are not always as black and white as they may seem, sometimes the lines may be blurry and grey somewhere in-between.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
You have to build resilience, be persistent in going after what you truly want and keep it consistent.