1. The Triumph Women in Making mentors 2. Sophia Webster's a/w 2014 presentation
Today sees the launch of Triumphs second Women in Making campaign, an initiative that gives women an opportunity to pitch business ideas to a panel of mentors with the chance of winning a £10,000 prize as well as a years mentoring from the panel and the possibility of being stocked in Fenwick Bond St.
The line-up of industry experts on hand to offer advice? Designer Roksanda Ilincic, founder of Nails Inc Thea Green, Fenwick Bond Streets Womenswear and Lingerie Buying Manager Georgina Coulter, last years fund winner Lizzie McQuade, and shoe designer Sophia Webster. We caught up with Sophia on her shoot for the campaign to talk about her involvement.
Why did you want to take part in the project?
Its just really great for me to help another creative person start their business. When I started I had two really amazing mentors, Nicholas Kirkwood and his business partner Christopher Suarez. They made such a difference, it really helped to have somebody to put things into perspective and set goals and help along the way. Its difficult at the start because youre on your own, you havent got a team around you yet and it can be quite lonely as well.
Who or what are you hoping to find?
Someone whos really passionate and believes in themselves and their product whatever that may be, and also someone whos realistic. I could design the most amazing shoe in the world but if you cant make it and you cant sell it and its not at the right price then its just not going to work. You need to take into account all those different elements that will help your business to progress forward.
What advice would you give them?
To be open to taking on a different approach to things - criticism isnt a bad thing, it allows you to develop your product and make it even better. And not to be too precious about what youre doing which is tough.
Whos the woman that most inspires you?
My Grandma probably. Shes Czech, she was a refugee and came to England when she was a young girl and shes a really, really brave lady. Shes done so much in her life and she just doesnt stop , shes really really determined and shes really storong. Shes my biggest inspiration. She gets every newspaper, all the Sunday supplememtns she cuts them out and sends them to me, shes done it for years, its so sweet, I love it. Shes a cool, cool lady.
What shoes do you wear if youre not wearing your own?
Ive got a lot of Nicholas (Kirkwoods) shoes but if Im wearing heels then Ive got to wear my own really. If Im not its probably because Im wearing some Nikes or some Vans. Ive done an espadrille collection so Im going to live and die in them this summer, theyre really comfortable.
Would you like to expand the line in the future?
Long term definitely but for the moment were just doing what we can, growing gradually. Id love to do homeware, Id love to do jewellery, theres lots of different things. I want the empire but step by step.
When will you open a permanent store?
Not immediately but probably next year well open one in London.
Where do you get your glasses?
From General Eyewear in Camden, its a vintage store so everythings a one of a kind there. I have about four pairs from there. Its a really, really good place to get glasses.
Sophia Webster is part of the Triumph Women In Making Collective. Visit triumph.com/womeninmaking to register your business for the chance to win a £10,000 bursary fund, be stocked in Fenwick Bond St and take part in the makers campaign.