Business name / website address?

TAE boutique – www.thealexedit.com

Business’s mission?
To offer busy women a personal edit of my favourite fashion and accessories from small brands. It’s really an extension of what I did when I was a journalist, when as well as interviewing and writing features, I would often source fashion and accessories for the pages I edited.

Where are you based?
I am based at home in West Sussex. I’m lucky enough to have a small outside stockroom, so at least my stock isn’t piled up in my bedroom!

Where are your clients based?
As an online business, they are based all over the UK, although I have also had customers in Ireland, Dubai, Australia and the US.

Where are you now in the lifecycle of your business?
I’m at the end of my first year, so it’s still early stages, especially as I’ve never worked in retail before. It’s been an exciting, but huge learning curve.

Where do you plan to be in five years time?
I would love to be doing the same, but on a larger scale and to become a go-to shop for women looking for beautiful, unique accessories for themselves or their friends. I would also love to launch my own range of products, so watch this space!

What motivated you to start your business?
I freelanced as a journalist and copywriter for years, and whilst I did have my own schedule, ultimately there was still someone I had to report to. I also had to pitch for work (which can be soul-destroying) and work to often unrealistic deadlines. I wanted to be in more control of my time and do something that I completely loved. It’s still hard work, but I love every minute and am really proud of how successful the shop has been in a relatively short space of time.

What have been your most difficult challenges so far?
Probably finding how competitive it can be. There are a couple of suppliers that I was working with who stopped working with me, because a larger client demanded it. That was tough. I’ve also found that people copy each other, so I’ve spent time sourcing products, which then appear on a competitor’s website within weeks. That can be frustrating – although in the grand scheme of things not too bad! I’ve also done a few fairs, which have been AWFUL! At the last one I did, I was there for 8 hours and literally sold one woollen tassel. It can really knock your confidence.

What have been your biggest wins and most satisfying highs?
Every time my phone pings to tell me someone has bought something is a massive high! I also love it when customers email me or tag me on Instagram to tell me how much they love one of my products.

How do you let off steam/relax?
I need to get better at this! However, when I can manage it, I love to go running. I go with friends most weekends and however tough the run has been, mentally it always makes me feel better. I also love trash TV! Come on Love Island!

What are the most valuable tools you use to communicate with your clients?
Instagram is by far my biggest marketing tool and a great way to connect with customers. Secondly, its email.

What’s your personal motto?
This, like all things, will pass. It’s not necessarily associated to business, but life in general. It’s good to remember that even when you’re having the darkest times, they will pass. Equally, treasure every moment of happiness as it can be fleeting.

Pick one person (male or female) who has inspired you most on your journey?
She’s not in retail, but my old boss Tasmina Perry has always been a huge inspiration. She trained as a lawyer, changed careers to become a journalist and an Editor (which is how I met her) and is now a hugely successful author. She is an incredibly inspiring person and makes you feel like you could rule the work.

Pick one person who would be your dream business or life mentor?
Natalie Massanet would be pretty awesome.

Why is being part of a membership organisation like The Goddess Formula (ie. creating a likeminded business support community) important to you?
When you work for yourself, it can be lonely. It’s fantastic to be part of a supportive community who understand the highs and lows of setting up in business. Lucy (one of the founders of the Goddess Formula) is incredibly inspirational and makes you feel like you can do it, even when you’re feeling like you most definitely can’t. Just to see what she’s done and how she’s giving back to the business community is incredible.

check out TAE Boutique