CASE STUDY: DAUGHTER OF JON
From having her bags sold in Topshop to being mentored by the directors of Ted Baker to securing the Vice President of wealth and investment management at Barclays as her financial adviser, Hedi started her handbag and accessories label, Daughter of Jon, with just an idea and a start up loan of £10k. She discloses her experience and vision to create something that lasts beyond her own life…
I’m ready to start my business
Over the last 10 years I worked in many fields in the fashion industry and I felt like I needed to get a wider perspective so I enrolled on a post-graduate program in culture management. Alongside my day job I ended up working on a dissertation about the history of the handbag as a cultural object.I realise now that I’ve kind of always envisioned myself in the position that I’m in now, with the direction I’m going and the way Daughter of Jon is evolving. But I guess I just hadn’t figured out how to get started or what it would look like to run your own business until I actually started doing it almost impulsively!Looking back I think getting experience in many fields and different types of jobs has helped me a lot now, so I’m happy I took my time to start a business! But I always felt like something was missing, that’s what in the end really pushed me to make the leap and start Daughter of Jon. It was, and is, a huge challenge but it’s absolutely worth it.
A twist of fate with Topshop
In my first year I was selling at various street markets and pop up markets in London to test my product, price range and to see who really my target audience is and what they look for. I’d recommend that to any designer.One day a buyer from Topshop saw me trading on my local street market on Chatsworth Road in Hackney and then approached me with an email. It was as simple as that. That was a massive step up for Daughter of Jon and I quickly figured out that I needed some advice and insights from professionals to help me on that exciting journey.
I contacted Disc who immediately helped me with the manufacturing process and London Small Business Centre with the business side and funding.My adviser at London Small Business Centre was Peter and he’s great at analysing your current state of your business and quickly understands where you can take it in the future and what steps need to be taken to get there.He helped me to come up with a solid business strategy and helped me secure funding against that strategy.On top of all this, what I highly appreciate about Peter is his positive energy. He makes you see that what you thought was difficult or even impossible is actually totally achievable and manageable and helps you get there.
London Small Business Centre offered me to pitch my company to Ted Baker and all of the sudden I had a great group of highly professional mentors around me which is worth so incredibly much!At the first meeting with Ted Baker they gave me great advice and pointed out to me what I’ve done well so far (always great to hear and where my weak spots in my business were and what I had to improve and seek out to be able to grow and continue my journey in an efficient way. I have a meeting with them in a couple of weeks again and I can’t wait to go there. It’s not just the highly valuable advice you get, but also the experience of an amazing office. It’s modern, fun, quirky and really relaxed. You have the feeling you’re in someone’s home in a way.
Putting advice into action
One of the suggestions Ricky Green, Global Wholesale Manager of Ted Baker, gave me was to get in touch with a good financial advisor. Nothing is more essential in a young business than managing your cash flow in an efficient way. I took his advice and I’ve found a great mentor, the vice president of wealth and investment manager from Barclays bank that will help me to figure out how to maintain a healthy cash flow and to get investors on board.Securing the mentor from Barclays was much easier than it might look like! I signed up for two courses at Community Links, one about business planning and the other one about running a marketing stall, pretty much the two ends of the spectrum! Community Links is supported by Barclays Bank and they also collaborate on a mentor program. So I simply asked them if they could put me in touch with Barclays to join the mentor program, which they did, and that’s how the connection came about.
The future of Daughter of Jon…
The plan is simple: I want to create something that lasts longer than me, and I’m planning on living a long life! At the moment I’m focusing on the UK market until I build a stable foundation here and only then I’ll expand.In terms of product range, I plan to continue offering mainly bags & accessories for women but I’ve done a few experiments with men accessories, which have been well received. So I’m not announcing anything yet, but I’ll probably focus on that side of the business a little more going forward…Team-wise, I have a few great people helping me with various aspects of the daily tasks but when it comes to running the business, at the moment Daughter of Jon is still pretty much a one woman show. Which can be stressful, but I think at the beginning it’s essential to be involved in as many facets of the business as possible to be able know how your company works inside out and then define your strengths and weaknesses are so you know what you need to look for in the people that will be joining your team.