Us students are always looking for ways to make money. With our student loans causing us crippling debt for the foreseeable future, we are all already stricken with money worries and financial uncertainty.
We caught up with Exeter University student; Kate Ward, who has recently set up her own online clothing brand. Motivated by her lack of money and her love for textiles and design, Kate has created the immensely successful business named “ShimmyShine Clothing” that sells festival style clothes for girls.
Having gained over 52,000 followers on Instagram in just over a year, Kate’s initially small and local Instagram business has erupted into a nationwide success. Kate is earning herself an incredible wage by selling the clothes that she designs, hand-makes and advertises on her Instagram page.
Intrigued and inspired by her accomplishments, we wanted to uncover the secret to her success and find out how she turned a passion for fashion into an incredible online clothing empire.
Describe your brand in three words.
“If I could describe my brand in 3 words, I would say; unique, funky and sassy.”
What inspired you to start your own business?
“If I’m being honest, I was motivated by money. As a student money is tough so I was kind of desperate and wanted to earn money doing something more worthwhile than working in retail or hospitality. Also, I have always been talented with regards to textiles and design but never used the skill. I noticed there was a gap in the market for festival clothes on a budget and I saw it as an opportunity to provide people with styles that differ from big brands.”
What is your favourite thing about running a business?
“My favourite thing is being in control of my own money. When I work hard I can push sales higher and I can control the amount I earn. I also like how I can control when I work, for example; if I have a lot of Uni work I can focus on that and just run my business in the evenings. It’s also extremely rewarding to see customer photos and especially when I get nice messages from customers praising my work. All the hard work is worth it when people are loving what you are doing.”
What are some difficulties you have faced with running your own business?
“Being such a small business, I only have one pair of hands so it can be very stressful at times as I manage the whole process through my social media accounts. So, speaking to customers, buying materials, cutting and making the clothes, posting and packing are the biggest difficulties I face. The brand is now getting bigger and bigger and I struggle with the workload. I am also at Uni full time so time is split 50/50!
When I have exams and course work due at specific times of the years it effects the business negatively as I can’t devote myself to it.”
What was the biggest factor that helped you build ShimmyShine into the phenomenon that it is today?
“I know that social media is 100% responsible for the success of my business. Instagram following is so important as that is where my target consumers are based. You want to make sure that everyone is wearing your clothes and that it is the newest, best brand around that will drive in customers from everywhere. I ask that people who buy my brand also promote it on their Instagram pages, therefore I am reaching a larger consumer market by my brand being constantly shared on a variety of pages.”
What are the ultimate goals for the future of your business?
“When I complete Uni next summer, I will be working on the business full time. I want to become as big as brands such as Pretty Little Thing or Missguided, whereby every single girl knows the name ShimmyShine and it is recognised as the go-to site for festival clothes. I will continue to promote my brand and increase my Instagram following, but I also want to more networking, for example; going to big fashion events and festivals with my brand. my long-term aim is to be so big that I have employers who help me build my business and professionalise it more.”
If, like us, you LOVE the vibrant colours and unique style of ShimmyShine clothing and want to get your hands on some funky garments, visit the website: www.shimmyshine.co.uk