Firstly, I just want to point out that I am not a fashion student by trade. Actually, I studied Chemistry, graduated with a 2:1 Masters Honours and I am also a Business Analyst. However, I have always been a big fan of shirts, but never liked the idea of the typical shirt collar and the excessive material around the neckline/chest area.
One evening, I was casually watching an episode of Gok’s Fashion Fix and he was cutting up clothing to explore new styles. Whilst watching the show I thought, I love everything about my shirts, I just wish I could change the neckline. So that’s exactly what I did. I cut up one of my shirts from T.M. Lewin and from there, I drew out a few designs, spoke to a few friends and the Fancy Neck range was born.
Since that point, I’ve now developed an entire range of Fancy Neck shirts, all characterised by their unique necklines. I believe my range of shirts are perfect for professional businesswomen who want to look stylish and classy whilst also enabling them to inject that personal touch to their look. Ultimately, I wanted to move away from the stuffy, uninspired, men’s style female work shirt and create something unique, fashionable, feminine and daring, whilst maintaining that all important element of conformity for the workplace.
When I was thinking about the look and feel for the range, I wanted the designs to be trendy, but something that wouldn’t date. It needed to be comfortable and practical, but also stylish. I’ve designed the range with the female consumer in mind and tailored to make them feel fantastic. Fancy Neck has got an edge, as it allows women to be unique in their clothing, yet remain entirely professional in the workplace.
The range consists of 16 different styles, sleeved and short-sleeved, plain and striped and are produced using the highest quality 100% cotton. I’m glad that I spent the time and effort to really research my suppliers to ensure that I have achieved the best quality for the range. That was really important. I’ve also intentionally aimed my shirts at the higher end of the market, as I’ve designed them for professional businesswomen, so I’m not directly competing with the mainstream high-street brands.
I’m also really proud to have got this far without any major bank investment or angel funding. All the money invested in the company has either come from my own pocket or from my family, who are supporting me in driving Fancy Neck forward.
Currently, I am trading exclusively via my e-commerce site – www.fancyneck.com - and this works well for me. I may consider branching into stores if the right opportunity presents itself, but trading online suits my lifestyle and enables me to run my business from home whilst also maintaining full commitment to my role as a buisness analyst. Social media is also working really well for building a brand following and Fancy Neck has an active presence on both Facebook and Twitter.
I guess the only real problem with having a fashion business is that the creative ideas never stop! I’ve got so many new styles and designs in the pipeline and I am looking forward to rolling these out over the coming months. I’ve even sent some of my shirts to a few celebrities who have said they absolutely love them and I’m keeping my eyes peeled to see if I spot them out and about wearing them! It’s really exciting and I am loving every minute of the journey so far.
My advice to anyone thinking of starting a business is just to go for it! What have you got to lose? I never thought a year ago, sat on my sofa, cutting up my shirt with a pair of scissors, that I’d be here now with a fully fledged fashion business. I think my experience shows that literally, anything is possible. If you have the passion to drive to make it a success, you will!
For more information on Fancy Neck visit www.fancyneck.com, or follow on Twitter at @fancyneckdot.com