My story, Kiran Lall –
Fashion Designer

When I was little I would always be drawing in my sketch book and always had an interest in fashion and fabrics. My mum would have metres and metres of fabric for saris and I loved to play around with it, draping it around my friends and I would beg her to let me have a go on the sewing machine - it was probably then that I realised that fashion was the way forward for me.

But when I first went to university it was to do a joint honours degree in Advertising and Media Studies but I realised that my heart wasn’t in it and it just didn’t feel right. I decided I must follow my heart and have that creative outlet. So, having always had an interest in fashion and fabrics, I went to see the Head of Fashion and showed her my work. She took a bit of a chance with me because, apart from GCSE Art, I hadn’t any art qualifications. Nevertheless, she was happy to take me on and I picked up so much as I went along. If you are passionate about something, you will learn. And I’ve continued to learn, even now, after university.

I liked the idea of setting up a business and selling my own clothes, so after uni I contacted The Prince’s Trust. They directed me to Business Link and WENTA who were really helpful and showed me how to run a business and make it viable and helped me put together a detailed business plan and an application for funding. The Prince’s Trust gave me funding and I would suggest to anyone that they are the first port of call, because they were fantastic. I have access to a mentor through the Trust and I see him on a monthly basis or I can call him. He gives me valuable advice and helps me with the things that don’t come naturally to me – accounts and so on. It’s really valuable having someone there like that and a great way to start a business. I would probably have done it without their help, but it would definitely have been more difficult. The funding helped me buy sewing machines to make the clothes to start my business. You have to have the right tools for the job.

Originally my plan was to sell only online but I also sell to stores around the UK. Shops are a really good platform to make sales and generally I know the kind of shops that would sell my kind of clothes. I send an introductory email and then make contact with a phone call – it’s better to speak with people if you can. I’ve learnt that you really have to hound people and don’t take no for an answer. You have to annoy people! I’m learning this now, I didn’t understand this at first – business is different, you have to have a completely different head on; you have to go for it and push it and push and push it!

 

Kiran Lall

   
 

If it’s something you want, you really have to want it to work. It’s not something you can do not half heartedly, you have to put in the time and effort and it won’t happen overnight, and you have to work at it. There’s competition out there and it’s hard to make people notice you, so you must show people what you do is slightly different.

I’ve been running my business ‘Redrock Fashion’ nearly two years now and at the moment I have to supplement my income with part-time work at a bank. My aim is to go full time but for the moment that money pays my rent and bills and what I make from the business goes back into the business, helping to build it up and making it bigger and better each time. If I have a big order the money goes to buy more tools and there are lots of things I still want to purchase.

So what started as a hobby, making bits and pieces for people, has become my life; it’s constantly with me, I’m constantly thinking about it.

I would advise anyone thinking of setting up their own business to seek as much advice you can, there’s a lot that people aren’t aware of and so many opportunities available, it’s a shame that people aren’t making the most of them; so make the most of them!

Visit The Prince’s Trust website: www.princes-trust.org.uk/