Business name / website address?
Finlows / www.finlows.com
To break the current trend of mass produced, disposable fashion, whereby nothing is made to last and people buy things to wear for a season before disposing of them. We design all of our products and have them made by master craftsmen. Our manufacturers are all family businesses that have primarily been established for at least 100 years, employing their traditional manufacturing techniques and using only the finest materials.
Where are you based?
I live in Leeds and run Finlows largely from my dining table, however, the stock and furniture live in Leicestershire & Cheshire depending on which family would like to lend us some space!
Where are your clients based?
We mainly sell at shows and events around the country, so our clients are principally based all over the UK with a few from further afield.We just sold our first pair to Australia!
Where are you now in the lifecycle of your business?
Finlows is still within it’s first year, so we are very much in the development stage. We are constantly adapting to customer feedback and creating new and exciting products every month. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster at times as there is lots to do, but I love it!
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
I want to grow Finlows into the go-to brand for high quality, classic products that last. Not just for boots and accessories, but for a whole range of lifestyle products.
What motivated you to start your business?
Before Finlows, I was always on the look out for boots that were high quality and fit my legs perfectly (I’m a bit of a giraffe). However, everything I tried on always seemed to be too large on the calf. With a need for slim fitting boots, a love of design, and spending most of my summers at horse and country shows, it wasn’t long before these came together and Finlows was born!
What have been your most difficult challenges so far?
Finding our manufacturers. When we set out with our designs, we were very clear about what we wanted and the quality we were looking for. This was no mean feat as we ended up interviewing an extremely long list of manufacturers before we found one who we thought we could work with!
What have been your biggest wins and most satisfying highs?
The first customer who came on the stand and tried the boots on. She was a woman who had never been able to find tall boots to fit her legs, and when she tried ours on they fit perfectly. Even though it was a hot day she wore them straight off the stand. Having someone love something you designed, and being able to give them something they never thought they could have, really is a fantastic feeling. I’m not sure anything can match it.
How do you let off steam/relax?
I design things, be it new products, pieces of furniture, or room interiors. Our current product range was designed well before Finlows was even an idea, with boots being dreamt up in the office and sketched out after a long day. Creating something is incredibly soothing and rewarding. On the days when creativity doesn’t quite cut it, I like to be outside. I’m lucky in that my parents live on a farm, so it’s a very easy escape and a complete change from my current life in the city.
What are the most valuable tools you use to communicate with your clients?
Face to face conversation. In this digital age where more and more is done online, nothing can beat talking to someone in person and letting them feel the products.
What’s your personal motto?
Live each day as if it’s your last, but leave a little in reserve in case it isn’t. Essentially make the most of every day and do everything you can, however, make sure you can still get up and start it all again tomorrow.
Pick one person (male or female) who has inspired you most on your journey?
My mother (Clea Phillipps) without a doubt. I have never met someone with more get-up-and-go. I don’t think there is a person alive who crams more into a day than her. She has always believed in me and supported me no matter the goal. Even when she is at her busiest, she always has time to help, in any way she can. She always puts her children first, no matter what. If I can achieve and do half of what she has, life will certainly be a success.
Pick one person who would be your dream business or life mentor?
I don’t think you can pick just one person as a mentor. It’s far better to listen to lots of different people, select the bits that work for you and apply them. Only by amalgamating lots of different experiences and views can you create something truly different.
Why is being part of a membership organisation like The Goddess Formula (ie. creating a likeminded business support community) important to you?
For anyone to achieve anything in life, they require support. Where better to gather that support than from like-minded people? Women are often their toughest critics, so having another woman support you really can make a huge difference to both you and your business. In trying to establish a new business, unless people are directly involved in/linked to your business, you are so wrapped up in trying to get things started that you often don’t get the chance to meet people. The Goddess Formula is a vital part of instigating those connections and bringing people together.