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EDITOR’S LETTER Ever since I can remember, my dad would get up in the early hours of the morning and come back late at night because he was working. As an owner of several businesses throughout his life, which he started from scratch, and someone who repeatedly tells me stories of how things were in his day, I have an attitude instilled in me that you don’t work hard for nothing, and an appreciation for the lifestyle he has earned through his hard work and ultimately shared with me. I was academic at a young age, with art merely being a hobby, so I assumed my career would be in an academic field; my parents had dreams of Oxford and Cambridge. However, I lost my way in my teens when friends came first and learning came second; I buckled under the pressure of going to a grammar school and I struggled to understand the logic in studying such a breadth of topics when I only really had interest in one: art. I moved on to an art foundation where I loved having a choice of creative subjects and the freedom to move within those. It was during this period that I started buying magazines such as Vogue and Love, and I fell in love with fashion photography and layout. I chose a degree which incorporated these elements, knowing I’d always want to make a magazine of my own. Pepper magazine was born out of months of reading about graduate unemployment and soaring student debt in the media; enough was enough. I thought about what I’d want from a new magazine: I’d want inspirational fashion that wasn’t out of my student price range, the inside scoop on business owners and working women, and relevant, clear career advice. This issue of Pepper features young businesswomen whose entrepreneurial stories have pushed me further in the creation of this magazine, and I hope will inspire you also to turn your ambitions into reality.


INSTAPICKS Pepper’s pick of Instagram snaps from Hayley Rubery, blogger of Frock Me I’m Famous. @frockmeimfamous





Claudia Rose Meller from The DIY Style Blog shows us how to get plastic fantastic with a perspex embellished clutch to add a modern twist to any outfit - you can always insert a zipped fabric pouch if you’d prefer to keep the contents to yourself.

Find more DIY tutorials from Claudia at facebook/TheDIYStyleBlog





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You need: • • • • • • • •

Acetate or thin Perspex approx. 30cm square Paper Glue Scissors Marker pen Magnetic bag clasp Push studs approx 1cm square Gems/beads/stones to decorate

1. Using an envelope as a guide, make a template for your bag out of paper. To check the shape works, fold in the flaps, making sure there is enough overlap to secure when you move onto the acetate. 2. Cut the envelope shape out of your acetate. 3. Work out where the folds in your bag will be by gently bending the acetate into shape. Score lightly and fold into place. 4. Push the tabs of a metal stud through both layers of the acetate to secure the bottom corner or your bag. Repeat on the other corner. 5. When you are happy with the positioning, secure the studs on the inside of the bag. You might want to use the end of a pen for this as they are quite tough on your nails! 6. Measure and secure your clasp in the centre of the top flap. Magnetic clasps vary but will come with instructions. 7. Use strong glue to fix on your embellishment. You should be able to disguise the back of the clasp with this.



MELISSA LEE Melissa Lee graduated from Northbrook College in 2011 with a BA in Fashion Design. Take inspiration from her graduate collection by adding a pop of colour to a military palette, combine softly tailored pieces with oversized jackets for the perfect balance between masculine and feminine, and finish with metallic accessories for a high-tech edge.


Images used with permission of Melissa Lee


REWORK I T Lyzi Unwin, blogger from Being Little, shows us that shirts don’t have to be boring - add broderie anglaise or lace to a pocket or cuff for a feminine update on a traditional garment.

You need: • • • •

Scissors Pins Needle and thread Some trimmings for your shirt (lace/broderie anglaise)

POCKET 1. Measure the width of your pocket. 2. Add a couple of centimetres, and cut your trimming to that length. 3. Pin the ends over so that you can see no frayed edges. 4. Position on your pocket to make sure you cover it entirely. 5. Pin in place, and sew around all the edges using a matching thread. Be careful not to sew the pocket to the shirt, you still want it to be useable!

CUFF 6. Fold the sleeve in half and measure the cuff. 7. Double this figure, add a couple of centimetres, and cut the lace to this length. 8. Pin the lace to the cuff, and make a small slit where the button and buttonhole is. Tuck the extra lace over at the end to create a clean edge. 9. Sew around all the edges using a matching thread, taking extra care around the button and buttonhole.

Visit Lyzi's blog at



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G -DAY Laura Carrick, founder of In Flow International, a company which specialises in spa business training and mentoring, shares her advice on post-graduation attitude.

“You’ve graduated - you’re inspired, you’re motivated, you want to put your stamp on the world or change it in your own particular way, but where to start? There are so many opportunities and options, but perhaps not as many job opportunities that give you the freedom to use your creativity as much as you would like. At least, that was my experience. I left college ready to take all my skills and learning into the workplace and yet I was still only allowed to do certain tasks and roles. Everyone wants you to be educated but experience still counts for more, so how do you quickly work your way up and be noticed? These following tips are things that I wish someone had told me when I was starting out. I had to figure them out for myself, but I have never regretted it. People often comment that they can’t believe how much experience and knowledge I have at my age; I just got involved and was interested in everything to do with my industry. It doesn’t matter where you are at right now, what matters is that you know where you are going and who you want to be. Even if you don’t know that right now, just make sure you find a way to stay inspired, find a mentor or role model and study how they made their success. Experts and seemingly ‘over-night successes’ all put in the time that no one saw, the accepted norm is that it takes 10,000 hours to be an ‘over-night success’, so my advice is get started or practising as soon as possible. As the Spanish Proverb says, ‘Tomorrow always looks busy’. Why wait? The world needs more inspired leaders, it may as well be you.”



Be seen, be involved & be heard of: this is a time when you want people to be talking about you in a positive

way. The more involved you get in tasks or social activities in your business or industry the better. Building a solid network of contacts will lead to success in the future. No one you meet should ever be discounted as irrelevant - it’s true when they say, “you never know when you might need them” or someone they are connected to. Network and meet the right people.


Be passion led: no matter what your roles and activities are right now, even though they may seem menial,

remember to apply your passion for your industry into every task or project you undertake. You may think it won’t be seen, but it puts you head and shoulders above the competition. It’s the difference between wanting to be there instead of feeling as though you have to be for the experience.


Have a bigger picture vision: know where you want to be in one, two and five years’ time and remind yourself daily

if necessary, on your way to work or to a sales meeting. No situation lasts forever, but if you know why you are doing what you are doing today because it feeds into your bigger picture, that sense of purpose will drive you daily and keep you inspired and motivated.


Be a leading learner: never stop learning as personal and professional development will carry you further through

your career. You can never know enough. Think of this following quote from business guru, Robin Sharma, who says “Doubling your learning will triple your income”. Invest at least one hour every day to learn something new.


KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE TIME Never hear the clock ticking again with these tips on how to manage your time, no Bernard’s Watch involved.




Multitasking feels productive and efficient: it is not. Many tests with children, students and older adults all show that doing one thing at a time gets things done quicker, more accurately, and with greater creative flair. Forget multitasking – embrace focus. MC

To Do lists are a good way to store a reminder of everything you’d like to get done, but they are a poor way to manage your time. A To Day list is more valuable. This is a list of the things that you will do today. End each day by writing tomorrow’s To Day list. MC

The concept of achieving any goal is quite simple: pick the goal, make choices in line with it, and follow through. Our goals often go unrealized because we don’t like to wait and we don’t like to work. Commit to both, then you can really accomplish your goals. ALA

TAKE CONTROL Overwhelm is an emotion; not a status. You can feel overwhelmed by trivial things on your worst day, but be untroubled by mountains of things on your best. So deal with overwhelm by taking control. Spend ten minutes writing down everything that is on your plate. Now delete everything that does not really matter and put a bracket around everything that can wait for 24 hours. You will feel better already. Now highlight all of the little things and do as many as you can in the next 20 minutes. Then spend 45 minutes on one big thing and take a break. Repeat as necessary. MC



Correcting mistakes later (more than) duplicates the time. MM

Make your working environment easier: put things you need all the time close by you, organise your computer, create macros and learn keyboard shortcuts. MM

Tips courtesy of: mike clayton, author of ‘The Yes/No Book’ and ‘Brilliant Time Management’; Martin Manser, author of ‘Collins Business Secrets: Time Management’ and ‘Teach Yourself Successful Project Management In A Week’; AMY LYNN ANDREWS, author of ‘Tell Your Time’


President Eisenhower’s advice remains valuable today: “distinguish between what is important and what is merely urgent.” If you focus on the wrong one, you will never achieve anything of true innovation and lasting value. MC


PROTECT ‘YOU TIME’ Know what time of day and day of week you work best – protect that time: use that time for difficult tasks that you don’t want to do. MM


The ultimate time management technique is saying “no”. If you can make wise choices about when to say “yes” and when to say “no”, then “no” need not be negative: it can be positive. Don’t just say “no”: make a Noble Objection. MC

DO THE MATHS It’s common sense, but if you want to manage your time, the sum total hours of your daily activities should be less than twenty-four. Make a list of your regular activities and the time it takes to complete them. If the total is greater than 24, you have to let things go. ALA



Don’t put things off: tackle something even if you don’t feel like it. If you wait until you feel motivated, you will wait for ever. MM

If you already have too much on your plate, rearranging is not going to solve your problem. You absolutely must pare down first. ALA

Alice began blogging about street culture at 16 years old, and just two years later she’s turned her blog into a magazine that you can pick up in most WHSmith shops around the country.

What’s your background?

I fe lt li k e s ome on e had to have t h e g ut s to pu t s ome thin g ou t t h e r e fo r the gir l s w ho w e r e i n t e r e st e d in the Un d e r gr ou nd ARTS s c e ne

Before founding TLG, I had no experience in publishing. I was in fifth year at school and was simply determined to do something for women which was different to all the other gossip, beauty and style magazines. I’ve very much learned as I have gone along. I did take a six month work experience period at the end of last year with another publishing company based in Glasgow which taught me a lot about the sales side of the business. Have you always been creatively or business-minded? Yes, for a long time I wanted to start a streetwear company but after a series of events it became apparent that the magazine would come first. I used to wind up everyone in my business studies class as well as I was always able to get the top marks in any exam we did; I wasn’t academic but business studies just came naturally to me. How did TLG come about? Well something that really annoys me about today’s modern media culture is that there are certain creative scenes which are engineered to be very much ‘for men’ or ‘for women’. As someone who grew up around the graffiti scene and was introduced to house, techno, electronic and hip hop music from a young age, this always annoyed me as I couldn’t understand why women weren’t as welcome in these scenes as men were. As a young girl, I wasn’t overly interested in shopping, make-up and your stereotypical girly activities and I could never understand why the media had this engineered idea of what girls were supposed to be interested in. You only have to walk into a WHSmith store today and stand at the women’s magazine shelf to see that. I felt like someone had to have the guts to put something out there for the girls who were interested in these scenes and to conquer the biggest challenge, which is to keep it credible and not to make it cheesy! So many people have tried to start magazines for women about typical ‘boy activities’ like graffiti and/


or extreme sports and they make the language so cheesy to try and be down with the kids and that doesn’t work either. A magazine with good quality, intelligent editorial which isn’t patronising or cheesy is what I believe women who are interested in these creative scenes really need. How did you transform TLG from an idea to a credible published magazine? Well back in 2010/2011 I had started a blog, which was based along the same theme as the magazine – a street culture blog for women – but at that time lots of bloggers were popping up all over the internet and I really thought that my concept needed to be noticed over and above everything else that I felt was generic on the internet. So I decided to print my ‘blog’ instead and that sure as hell got people’s attention! I got in touch with some UK-based print companies, got on the phone to potential advertisers and sourced a distributor with a good contact in WHSmith. What’s been your high point in creating your own magazine? Seeing the magazine in WHSmith, having the opportunity to meet and work with many successful artists and watching the company grow. And your low point? There hasn’t been one yet! Who/what is your biggest inspiration? The record labels Numbrs and Luckyme…those guys are doing it for Glasgow and have really put Scotland on the map creatively! What’s next for TLG magazine? There are a couple of interesting streetwear collaborations in the pipeline and we will be looking into exporting into America and Japan, and our iPad app has just been released.


Jemma, 22, and Catherine, 23, grew the bones of their business while in their final year of university. A year on, they run their clothing brand, Dirty Saint, full time from an office in West Sussex. Lara Spiller investigates the reasons to their success and their attitudes towards work and study.


LARA/ What prompted you to start a business together?

J/ We bought a large stock of studs and created studded

CATHERINE/ We got a competition brief that was set by

customised clothing and then we made dip-dyed clothing

Graduate Fashion Week while we were in our final year of

last summer. There was some on Tumblr, but it wasn’t really

our Fashion Media and Promotion degree, and we thought it

around, and now our biggest seller is our dip-dye jumpers,

would be a good idea to enter as it would look good on our

they’re our most viewed item on our website.

CVs. The prize was to win space at GFW for a pop-up shop.

C/ And our t-shirts too. Even now, it’s a really popular

We’d already done some research and I’d found a product

product, it hasn’t dropped even though we started selling

that I knew was going to be successful, which wasn’t at the

it over six months ago. It’s good to have a staple product

time, and I knew where I could get it from; it was basically

because if people are buying that it means your income is

camo(flage) and army. I had spoken to Jemma about it initially

consistent, and it gives you the opportunity to experiment

and then we saw the brief and we thought it could fit in really

with new things. If anything stops selling, we’ll customise it

well with that and be our starting place.

and try and sell it in a different way because we don’t want

JEMMA/ We decided to do it two weeks before everything was

anything to go to waste. We give a percentage of what we earn

due in at uni. We didn’t really see it as a business, did we?

to charity and if there’s anything we can’t sell we’ll donate it

C/ No, we just wanted to make a bit of money for summer,

to charity or the homeless.

and just have fun.

J/ With a lot of the army jackets we bought, there was a

J/ We didn’t win the competition. Elle sponsored someone

hole in the cuff or there was a button missing, and we gave

who was established for six months, and had done a lookbook

it straight to the homeless as they appreciate that it’s really

and magazine to go with her company, and we weren’t at

durable and protective. Anything like that, we’ll donate

that stage at all.

because it’s not much of an expense and it’s rewarding to do it.

C/ At that time, we only had ideas and didn’t have anything

C/ The fact that we work for ourselves means we can donate

made, we were just going to make it if we won. So we made

to charity and we have time to volunteer; I’ve applied to

the product we had proposed and tried putting it on eBay.

volunteer for one day a week, whereas if I was working full-

J/ We were one of only two sellers at the time who were

time there’d be no way I’d be able to do that.

selling that product.

L/ How do you know which product is going to be a hit? Do

C/ We stopped selling it when the trend had massively hit.

you know that through trend research?

J/ It was still at quite a peak but everyone started buying the

J/ I think I unconsciously research all the time, I’m such a

same product so we decided to move on.

keen blogger.

C/ When we took our product off eBay, there were over

L/ So you don’t go through fashion magazines or analyse

a hundred people selling the same product, when at the

catwalk trends?

beginning there were two. We realised that was what we

J/ No, I look at blogs and what other people are

needed to be doing every time we refreshed our stock; buying

photographing on the street.

product that wasn’t widely available yet.

C/ We do historical research too, we look at a lot of films.

L/ So what did you move on to after that?

J/ I’m a huge film buff. At the moment, I’m watching every

C/ We started making our own stuff, we just figured that

eighties and nineties film I can think of and it’s amazing how

although some of our stuff isn’t considered ‘on trend’

much research you can get from those.

or fashionable, people are always looking for something

C/ I don’t research as much as Jemma.


J/ We’re such a good partnership because we like doing

different things. Catherine’s really good at customer service.

C/ I won’t buy something unless it’s the best, I’m extremely

C/ I think Jemma’s more of the creative person and I’m

picky. We’ve learnt to be selective; when we first started,

more of the business person, regarding customer service and

we went to suppliers and we’d walk in like kids walking into a

organising. I rely more on my own sense of what I think would

new school, we were so awkward.

be a good product, especially when we buy vintage; I pick

J/ Now we’ve grown in confidence because we realised that

things that I think I would have liked or that I can imagine

we’ve got the advantage as we’ve got the money.

would be popular.

L/ What is your buying process?

J/ Vintage is quite individual. We went to a supplier the other

C/ We find our suppliers through word-of-mouth, research,

day and they thought we wouldn’t like a product, but when

the internet. We’ve spent money on visiting suppliers and it

we saw it we loved it because it’s the unusual things that

hasn’t worked out, but we’d rather spend the money so we

catch our eye.

know rather than miss out on an amazing product.

C/ Some of our stuff is a bit of a risk but we always sell things

It’s important to us to be friendly; forming relationships with

quite quickly; the most mental stuff is what goes the fastest.

different people so we can go to them again. I think rapport is

I think that’s our plan to stand out: stocking unusual things,

the most important thing in business to be honest, everyone

because the more colour you have, the more choice you have,

we deal with we want to form a relationship with. I don’t

the more you stand out and the more likely people are going

expect to be best friends, but I expect to get on and have

to click on it online just out of interest’s sake.

mutual respect. I want them to know that we’re not walk-

L/ Have you assigned yourselves specific roles within the

overs and we won’t take a product if there’s anything wrong


with it. I’ll try to quality check everything to make sure there’s

J/ I basically do most of the online stuff and Catherine

no damage, otherwise it’s money down the drain.

answers all our emails, resolves problems and provides

L/ Whats your day-to-day routine?

customer service, but we share most of the responsibilities;

C/ We work 9-5.

if we’re doing a photoshoot and I’m photographing, Catherine

L/ Monday to Friday?

will be there to help with styling.

C/ We basically work all the time.

C/ Jemma mostly does female styling, and I do male styling

J/ Over the weekend, we’ll answer emails, we’ll answer

because I did that at uni.

questions constantly.

J/ If we meet suppliers we always go together.

C/ I answer emails within an hour, if not sooner.



It’s annoying if you leave someone waiting if they’re upset

J/ I think overall Dirty Saint represents being really

about something, we want to sort it out straight away or let

individual, as all our pieces are unique.

them know that we care and are trying to sort it out.

C/ Every one is hand-made so they all look different.

J/ On a typical day, we’ll come in, get the orders printed

J/ All of our jumpers, tie-dyes, dip-dyes, every single one is

out, pack and ship them, which can take up to half a day,

individual. Every tie-dye is photographed so the customer

depending on how many. At the moment, we’re doing a lot of

knows exactly what they’re getting.

our own dyeing, such as dip-dye and tie-dye. We’re constantly

C/ Also, I think our prices are pretty good. A lot of companies

thinking of new things to do.

are charging so much, but I think our prices are fair,

C/ We’ve had t-shirts and jumpers made, so we design, create

considering it’s hand-made. Our t-shirts sell so well because

logos, make sure the sizes are right. We’re always looking to

their price is quite low, they’re so much cheaper than so

make or develop new products because we want our brand to

many other places. Now we know how much things actually

be fresh, we don’t want it to go stagnant. With vintage,

cost, when we go to some high-street shops it’s actually quite

we try to upload new images every week. We’re always looking

disturbing what they’re charging.

for new people to buy from who can give us a good price.

J/ Urban Outfitters sell the exact same jacket as we were

We source our stock from all over the world, trying to get

buying but we sold it for under half the price.

better products at a better price.

C/ That’s the main reason I think we became successful in the

J/ That’s a big part of our day - research.

first place. It was scary because we were selling this product

L/ What would you say the Dirty Saint brand represents?

that was in such high demand, we didn’t know what we were

J/ I think it represents individuality.

going to do next.

C/ It’s quite a fun brand; it’s not taking itself too seriously. We

J/ But it just naturally evolved. We were quite lucky. At the

definitely don’t take it too seriously. To us, it’s fun and we just

moment, we stock a lot of vintage, which I never thought we’d

want it to be a success.

do because there’s so many vintage outlets already. I think

J/ When we get good feedback, that’s the best part.

it’s popular with our customers because we’re very specific

L/ You have a lot of really nice comments on your Facebook page.

with what we choose, we handpick everything and we like

C/ That’s the thing, we’re so shocked because a lot of brands

signature eighties and nineties items.

get negative comments and we’ve never had one on our Facebook.

L/ How did you come up with your brand name?

J/ We ship every day so our products are delivered really

J/ We had to rush to come up with the name because we

quickly. If you look at our feedback on ASOS or eBay,

needed one in our marketing report for Graduate Fashion

everyone’s really pleased.

Week. We knew we wanted to use a crucifix in our first logo

C/ If someone isn’t satisfied, we’ll offer them a substitute or

because that was quite trendy and it related to the grungy

part-refund. Whatever the issue is, customer service is vital in

nature of our product. That’s why we used the word ‘saint’

maintaining customer loyalty.

too. I think we asked our families and they were coming up with loads of words and we just put them together. C/ At the time, we loved it but as we carried on we weren’t so sure anymore, we thought it would be hard to sell something with ‘Dirty Saint’ on the front of it, but a lot of our t-shirts have sold out. J/ And our hats: we make beanies with ‘dirty’ on the front and ‘saint’ on the back. Our customers love the name. C/ If you type in ‘Dirty Saint’ on Google it’s in the first five hits. I think it’s a plus having a double-barrelled name. L/ What age is your target consumer? J/ It’s 13-17 years old according to our Facebook analytics, however I think our vintage sells to any age. A lot of the vintage we buy is around a size 10, so I think that limits our customers as it’s smaller than the UK average size. C/ We go up to a size 14 in all our own branded items but a lot of vintage is small. A size 12 in vintage is probably a size 8 or 10 now. It’s either small or absolutely huge! J/ With jackets, kids want them really baggy so big sizes can work to our advantage. C/ We show a lot of men’s clothes styled on women, which means if you are bigger you can definitely fit it. We give a general overview of the size but we use the term ‘oversized’ so it could fit a range of sizes. L/ How did you gather a following for your brand? J/ It was Tumblr. I had my own before with a lot of followers so that was quite lucky. We did a photo shoot then put it on my Tumblr. One of our pictures of our top seller has


thousands of reblogs, because it was the same Urban Outfitters product, it just spread. Our branded stuff has got more reblogs than what that has now so that’s really good. We’ve transferred it all on to our own Tumblr so we’ve got our own separate followers, but at first it was a good base to get our brand heard about. C/ I think there’s more we could do on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve only just started an Instagram, which is something we probably should have started in the beginning. We get likes every single day on our Facebook page, even though we don’t

We p ut in £ 200 Each at t h e beginning a nd we got it back in t h e first week. we’re v ery lucky to h av e been in p ro fit as a business fro m t h e sta rt.

really promote it. It’s so nice when people like us on Facebook and we see they’re wearing our clothes in their profile picture, and they’re so enthusiastic about our products. J/ On our website we can track where our traffic comes from

do it ourselves but we don’t have time. When we do dye stuff

so I look at that every day and a lot of it comes from Tumblr,

ourselves it’s more to experiment for effects.

we hardly get anything from Facebook.

J/ It’s just us two in the office in the day which is really fun

L/ Is that because Tumblr’s more popular with that age range?

and relaxing.

J/ I think it is but I also think it’s because you can share an

C/ There are days when we’re stressed and have loads to do

image, and people promote stuff they like all the time on

but it’s completely different to our work experiences. I started

Tumblr. I think with Facebook, people are more specific about

an internship and got offered a job when I left university so

what they put on their profile, whereas Tumblr is a blog and

I was working but was in two minds; I’d started this business

it’s quite anonymous.

which was going well but I’m quite a nervous person and

C/ We don’t have anything of us wearing our brand on our

was anxious about not having the security of working for a

Facebook or Tumblr, we like to remain quite anonymous.

company. I didn’t take the job and I’m so glad I didn’t because

If you maybe saw who was behind a brand, the fantasy of it

I hated it there. We don’t disagree on anything either. If one

might go.

of us doesn’t like something someone picks out we don’t get

L/ Do you think you might get judged because of how young

offended, we trust each other’s judgement. We don’t argue.

you are in business?

J/ There are times when we worry about getting packages out

C/ I don’t think we would.

on time as snow can slow down deliveries and we’ll get people

J/ Not from our buyers.

questioning where their order is. Usually, they’re delivered in

C/ From our point of view, when you’re 13 years old, you look

two days so people expect that now but we state it’s seven

up at people in their 20s and envy what they’re wearing.

day delivery.

I don’t think it would affect our brand but I just prefer a bit of

C/ The stress of running our own business doesn’t compare to


the stress we experienced as interns though. When I went to

J/ Catherine’s quite private, whereas I’ve already got Tumblr

London, there were aspects I loved and I loved working for a

so people know who I am but I don’t really mind.

fashion magazine and meeting people, but I don’t like London

L/ How did you finance the business when starting up?

at all, I like the countryside. I hated living there, I couldn’t

Did you have to take out a business loan?

wait to come home. So we’re doing a really fun fashion job but

J/ We actually both put in £200 each at the beginning and we

we don’t have to live somewhere we don’t want to.

got it back in the first week. We’re very lucky to have been in

J/ When I interned, I was travelling from Worthing, which

profit as a business from the start.

took an hour and half on the train so it was really long days,

C/ Everything we’ve ever bought since then is bought out of

I didn’t have a life and I was so tired.

our profit. We’ve never taken a loan, we don’t owe anything to

C/ I can imagine relationships become strained too, whereas

anyone, we get paid a good wage every month and we can buy

now we can spend more time with our friends and families.

stock whenever we need to.

L/ As you said, your work experience put things in perspective

L/ Do you manage your own finances?

for you in regards to starting up your own business, but do

J/ No, we have an accountant. We don’t have the time, it

you think it benefited you in any way?

would be a waste when we could be researching and making

J/ Definitely, it made me really confident. I know London

money so it’s not worth it. That’s one thing we pay quite a lot

so well and can navigate my way around, which I think is

of money for, a good accountant, because it’s panic-free then.

really valuable. During work experience, introducing myself

C/ At the moment we’re doing well and it’s really busy but

was really nerve-wracking for me as every day I had to

around Christmas time it was extremely quiet. I think our

socialise with big companies and meet important people so

products are a bit of a risk for parents to buy their children, so

that experience has been really valuable going into business,

when it’s quiet like that we do worry as it’s our main income,

because it’s made me far more confident dealing with suppliers.

but when we look at how much we’ve made overall and how

C/ I interned at Dazed and Confused magazine twice and I

far we’ve come in our first year it gives us reassurance.

found it extremely interesting, I found the people to be really

L/ Are you two the only permanent employees?

nice which was quite surprising for me, I thought it would be

C/ We’re the only two full-time employees but we employ

intimidating and everyone would be really arrogant but it was

models and we have someone who dyes for us. We used to

the nicest place I’ve ever interned. Look magazine was



we’re grown adults, and this is your own life, you have to take

I d o n ’ t w or r y for a s e con d t h at we won’t s u cc e e d b e cau s e I t h i n k i t ’s al l a me n tal ity. If yo u m ental ly thin k you ’l l s ucc e e d the n you w il l ; i f yo u’ r e n ot con fid e nt the n n o - o n e wil l tak e you s e r iou s ly.

things on yourself as it’s not their responsibility. I found in third year I got quite a lot of support because I was anxious but I went with my instincts in the end despite asking for opinions. You need to trust your judgement, and ultimately what you put in is what you get out. J/ I think if you work really hard to get the grades you want to get, it proves to yourself what you can do. C/ We always say if we can put as much hard work into our business as we did into getting first-class degrees, we will be as successful with this as we were then. I don’t worry for a second that we won’t succeed because I think it’s all a mentality. If you mentally think you’ll succeed then you will because it’s all about confidence; if you’re not confident then no-one will take you seriously. Sometimes when it’s a bit


really nice as well. Interning at Dazed and Confused made

slow, we do panic. Because it’s our first year we’re not used

me push the boundaries of what my own imagination was up

to all the different months and what happens sales-wise.

to at the time while I was creating my own magazine for my

Obviously we can do research, but for our own product we

final major project at uni. But I also felt like I had horrendous

don’t know when there’s going to be highs and lows so it’s sort

stress on my shoulders and felt like if something went wrong

of an experiment for us to see what happens from month to

it was my responsibility. I think I learnt to just let things go

month. Once we’ve had the whole year we’ll know what to

over my head. Don’t take things to heart - people get stressed,

expect next year, so our confidence will grow in that respect.

that’s life, and if someone takes it out on you, don’t let it

After your final year, when you realise what you’ve done and

affect you because the chances are they won’t even remember

all the work you’ve put in, it’s such an indescribable feeling of

they’ve done it. For the 20th year anniversary shoot, I was in

achievement. I know that I couldn’t have done any better and

charge of picking quite a lot of the clothes for it. I went to the

that’s what matters; knowing that you’ve tried your best and

vintage clothes areas to pick what I felt fit the brief, and a lot

not having any regrets.

of the stuff I picked was used, which gave me confidence in

L/ Do you wish you’d chosen a more specific degree?

my own styling ability.

C/ While I was studying I wished that I had, but when you

J/ For me, I didn’t want to get into the bubble of London. I go

go to a company they’ll start you right at the bottom and

up to London quite a lot to do trend research and I actually

they’ll teach you what you need to know. It’s like doing an

think Brighton is really unique and individual in comparison.

apprenticeship, they’ll build you up to do things how they

C/ It’s actually quite ahead, when I go up to London and see

want them done. If you learn something too in-depth, then

what people are wearing, it’s stuff that people were wearing

you go to a job and they ask you to do something different to

down here a year ago. I also think people change when they go

the way you’ve learnt, it’s harder to relearn than it is to start

to London because you have to be a bit harder, your skin has

from the beginning.

to a bit thicker, which in some ways is good and in other ways

J/ I loved doing my degree, I loved the challenge.

is not. I just didn’t want to get sucked in to that life and change.

C/ We really supported each other the whole way through

J/ I found that the people I worked with, the city was their

because we were in exactly the same headspace.

life; they were in their late thirties, and not one of them was

L/ What advice would you give yourself if you were just

married and a lot of them didn’t have relationships.

starting your degree now?

My relationship and friends are really important, I’d rather be

J/ Six months before I started my degree, I was at the teenage

happy than have lots of money and live in the city.

breakdown stage where I felt like I didn’t know what to do

C/ We like nice views, the sea and cups of tea!

with my life. I was going to specialise in photography but I’m

L/ Do you think your degree has benefited your business?

so glad I didn’t. I chose a broad degree so that I had the option

C/ Without a doubt.

afterwards to go down different avenues. I wish someone had

J/ There’s no way I’d be doing this without my degree.

said to me that it doesn’t matter that you don’t know what

C/ I’d never done fashion or art before I came to uni, so for me

you want to do, just follow your heart.

it’s been a life-changer. I’d always seen myself in an academic

C/ Our course was perfect for us as we can do everything

job and from doing my degree I’ve learnt so much, I know

we need to do for our business with the skills we learnt.

so much more about me and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been

Sometimes you have to take a risk; I always loved fashion but

after doing my degree.

I’d always focused on academic subjects. Doing what I wanted

J/ I think I was always creative. I did photography and video

to do paid off so much. I think there’s a stigma surrounding

before I went to uni, but I’d have never had the confidence to

fashion-related courses but it’s such a huge industry and you

do what we’ve just done without that degree. Feedback from

can work all over the world. One thing I learnt from work

my final major project made me really confident.

experience though which is to bear in mind is that fashion

C/ I think with any degree, wherever you are, it’s what you

isn’t like other jobs where you move up the ranks, you’ll

make of it. You can’t rely on teachers to be there behind you,

usually start at the bottom and stay there until someone

supporting you every step of the way. At the end of the day,

in a higher position leaves, unless you move to a different

company. Whereas with your own business you have the opportunity to grow and grow, which will mean our profit will increase. L/ Have you come across any negatives or obstacles in building your own business? J/ Yes, with postage. As our product is quite affordable, we don’t make any money on our postage, our customers pay what it’s worth. A lot of people said they’d never got their package, which meant they we had to send a new one or refund them, but it turned out they were actually being dishonest. Now we send everything by recorded delivery and we’ve had no one say they haven’t received their item whereas it used to be two or three people a week. C/ We had to put the postage price up, which was worrying as we weren’t sure if it would put people off buying our items but it hasn’t. So we lost quite a bit of money on that in the beginning. Also, we’ve had products made that have gone wrong and no one’s willing to accept responsibility, so we’ve been left with a product that isn’t what we asked for. We’d try to get in contact with them but their customer service was appalling, so we realised it would be wasting time and emotion if we tried to pursue it. We learnt to get rid of the product, move on and never go back to those suppliers again. L/ Do you still see yourselves in business in ten years time? J/ Yes, now it’s made me always want to work for myself. There are ups and downs but I forget the bad things as it’s so rewarding coming into work and it being a relaxing atmosphere, and I’m self-assured that I know what I’m doing. C/ After seven months of spending every single day together, we don’t have any disagreements, so I think we could go on for years and still be the same. It’s easy, it’s fun and we don’t wind each other up, so it could definitely carry on. L/ Would you say that this is your dream job?

When you’re on your way up, people love to help you, but

C/ Yes, definitely. It’s only the beginning and we just want to

when you’re on your way down, if you’re a horrible person,

grow, but at the moment it’s going the right way.

people won’t care about you. If you’re always nice to people

L/ What do you think is the key to your success?

and things go wrong, you’re going to have more people who

C/ Teamwork and mutual respect.

will have your back than if you were horrible. Also, believe in

J/ Being different: we looked at everyone selling that

your idea but don’t put too much money into it as you don’t

particular jacket and most people photographed it on the

know what’s going to happen. Start small, give it a go and if

floor or hanging, but we did a photo shoot with young kids

it doesn’t work out, you’ve tried, then move onto your next

and made it grungy. At the time, it was only selling to ex-army

venture. It’s better to learn from mistakes when you’re young

men so we were really different and it made us stand out.

and that don’t cost you too much money, as it will allow you

C/ Also taking risks; we believe in our product and we know

to grow later.

it will sell. It’s not to everyone’s taste but we know what our

J/ Don’t go and buy tens of thousands of product because it

customers like. The most important thing about being a stylist

works out cheaper. If you buy from China you usually have

or buyer is not picking what you like, but picking what you

to buy in bulk, but spend that little bit extra for less product

think other people will like. When you’re younger, you have a

and see if it sells. You don’t have to make tonnes of money

very different style, you’re more experimental and fun.

at the beginning; see if you have a market first then reinvest

L/ What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur?

your profit - that way, if it doesn’t work out, you won’t lose too

J/ Be yourself, be creative and go with your beliefs.

much of your own money.

C/ With business, you shouldn’t let it overcome you and become you. Don’t let success make you arrogant; stay true to yourself and be grounded. We hope that we’ll stay down-toearth and approachable. J/ One day we hope to have interns and we wouldn’t want our interns to feel nervous, we’d want them to feel excited to work for us.

Illustration by Lara Spiller

C/ I would never want us to get a bad reputation through

Images used with permission of Dirty Saint

treating interns badly because we know what it’s like.



Finding a gap in the market is one thing, creating an identity for your brand is another. Clive Spring, from creative brand agency Yoohoo, breaks branding down into five sections.


1. Research First of all you need to know who you’re selling to: “It’s essential to define what your target market is who are they, what age are they, where do they come from?”. Sometimes it can be obvious but other times it can require more thought. Also think about what your customers want; can you identify a gap in the market? “There’s no point in having a product and selling it to a marketplace that don’t want what you’re offering”. Identify your competition and compare yourselves to them; it’s important to try and do something different that your competitors don’t do to give yourself a competitive advantage. You should also be aware of trends and how they can affect your business: “Trends come and go so it’s not a very good idea to base a brand or business on trends alone, unless you’re planning on being temporary”. Incorporate projection into your research; think about what your barriers are to your success and failure and how you can overcome them.

3. Design / identity “Your logo design needs to back up your strategy,” says Clive. Think about whether you want it to portray an upmarket or downmarket brand. Colour is really important as you need to consider the symbolic meanings when selecting, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box and do something different. Typefaces follow the same rule, but ensure they’re legible and reflect your brand; using typefaces well can often ensure your brand is recognisable before seeing the logo. Sound can also be a powerful tool in your identity as it can provoke emotion in your consumer. Lastly, the style of your images should reflect your values, and ensure your brand follows a theme or concept: what’s the visual style of it?

2. Strategy / goals You should always have goals in place when starting a business. Think about where you want your business to be placed in the market: “do you want to be in the top five or top ten? Or are you happy serving a niche?”. Think about vision, values and culture: “Do you want to do things in an ecological way? Does something about your brand have a culture behind it? Or do you want to create a culture?”. Place yourself in the customer’s shoes by thinking about where they shop, and how you can exploit these outlets. Although it can be easy to be safe, don’t be afraid to disrupt the market. Clive gives the example of Apple iTunes, who completely changed the way we buy and listen to music, making a lot of companies go out of business because they couldn’t keep up. Clarify your route to market by planning how you will market your business and with what budget, and don’t forget your message; you need to be clear about your advantages.

4. Touchpoints How will your brand reach your target market? Touchpoints include advertising, blogs, billboards, websites, packaging, emails, publications, word of mouth, social media, etc. Think about how you can make them do more: can you add a QR code to swingtags to take your customer to your website?

5. Managing assets Your brand needs to abide by standards or guidelines, which you can define by creating a brand book of rules to ensure consistency: dictate what fonts should be used, what the minimum spacing around your logo should be, what grid your layouts should abide by. Who is your brand manager? Is it you or are you going to appoint someone in charge of managing the brand to make sure it’s used in the right way and people have the right assets? “Some companies build whole websites based around their brand standards, which employees can access to download various assets”. It’s vital that your staff are thoroughly trained to know what your brand stands for; “Even the cleaner needs to know the company they’re working for as they will talk about you to other people," says Clive. Reputation and rumour are aspects of your business that you should assert a level of control over: “With social media it’s very easy for a brand to get trashed overnight, so you need to keep your ear to the ground and know what’s being said about your company. If you don’t know what’s being said, you can’t do anything to counteract it”. Finally, go back to stage one: research. Use research and feedback from your customers to identify their needs and ensure you stay ahead in the marketplace.

Maria Allen, 23 year old graphic design graduate from Brighton University, began her business from her parents’ kitchen table in 2008. She’s now sold 15,000 pieces of jewellery to date and is an Ambassador for the Government Start Up Loans Scheme. Here’s how she did it. What came first, your love of jewellery or your desire to create your own business? I have always liked jewellery and have always been looking out for unusual pieces when on holiday or in antique shops. I wouldn’t say that I had always known that I was going to run my own business, but I knew that I wanted to do something creative, and what I do now is a great combination of creativity and also business. What prompted you to start Maria Allen Jewellery? I was making and selling jewellery while studying at

I rem em ber t h e t h o ugh t o f h av ing to find a jo b aft er m y degree q uit e daunt ing so I feel v ery lucky to h av e been able to creat e m y o wn drea m jo b fo r m yself aft erwa rds.

university. It was just for myself and friends at first but then lots of people started taking an interest in it so I opened an Etsy shop and started selling at craft shows. I really enjoyed

Would you have done anything differently during your

running the (small!) business that I was creating and tried

studies if given the chance again?

to grow it in all of the spare time I had. From the very first thing I sold, I was amazed and really happy that I had made something that someone wanted to buy. It gave me a buzz and I wanted to make more. I started to wholesale my collections which meant I was receiving large orders from shops, and at this point, around the time of my second year of university, I realised that my very small business could potentially support me full time after university. I was at university lectures in the day and then sending out invoices to shops selling my jewellery in the evenings. Before that, I remember the thought of having to find a job after my degree quite daunting so I feel very lucky to have been able to create my own dream job for myself afterwards.

challenge for me and at one stage I thought of leaving it to focus on my business, but I decided in the end that I really wanted to finish the degree that I had started. I’m glad that I did and that I now have a set of design skills that I can always utilise if I want to. To what do you owe your success? I have found something that I love doing. I am also very lucky that I have had a fantastic close network of people who have supported me. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt during the

How did your degree benefit your business?

process of setting up your own business?

It taught me design, layout and photography skills, which

Starting up and running your own business is absolutely

I am able to use in the design and branding side of my business. I was also involved with the University of Brighton’s entrepreneurship network, Beepurple. I attended many of their sessions in my time at university, which covered all aspects of business, and I’ve met some great, like-minded


Starting up a business while at university was a huge

possible and really rewarding. Don’t expect it to be easy, and it’s not for everyone, but the more you put in, the more you get out. How did you financially support your business when

people who have been really inspiring. They also have

starting up?

Innovation Awards running every year and between my first

Winning the Innovation Award helped me with my cash flow

and second year I entered and won an award and a £1000

and at times I borrowed money from my parents, which I

prize, which was fantastic for my business.

would pay back within a month.

How did you gather a client base?

The business is now based in a studio and I have a small team

Almost all of it has been through word of mouth, press

of people who help me run it. We have two main parts of the

features and social media. Do you employ other people and how did you go about

business now, online and wholesale, which can be bought from my stockists in the UK and worldwide.

this process?

What’s been the highlight of Maria Allen Jewellery so far?

At first it was me doing everything but now I have a small

There have been many! Having sold over 15,000 pieces of

team helping me. The team grew to about seven during the rush last Christmas, and at the moment I have a full time worker, an admin helper and several people helping with the assembly. I am actually just looking for a studio assistant to help me manage and process our online orders. I have already

jewellery to date is one of them. Seeing my jewellery at the Tate gift shops was amazing, as well as seeing one of my necklaces published in Stylist magazine and speaking on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The World Tonight’ Show. Also moving into my studio, employing staff and being asked to become an

received over 70 applications!

Ambassador for the Government Start Up Loans Scheme

What would you say are the positives and negatives of


(encouraging people aged 18-30 to start up their own

having your own business? Being your own boss is the best part – I love the freedom

What are your aspirations for your business?

of being able to choose what I do, when I do it and what

I would love to grow the business, possibly branch out into

direction I want the business to go in. One of my favourite

some new types of products, work on more projects and

quotes is ‘choose a job you love, and you will never have to

collaborations and also encourage and help other people set

work a day in your life’. I really enjoy what I do. The most

up their own businesses.

difficult part for me has been time management and trying to work on every aspect of the business myself, which is difficult,

What advice would you give other young people wanting

especially in the beginning. I am now learning to get skilled

to start their own businesses?

people in to work on specific aspects of the business which

I’d say don’t be afraid to try out your ideas, or approach

frees up my time to focus on the creative side.

new people or shops. If you make a mistake, the worst that

What are the basic requirements you think you need to be successful in business?

can happen is that they say no! On a practical note, open a separate bank account for your business and keep records of all your income and expenditure as early as possible. I wasn’t

Above all, a good idea that you are passionate about, as it will

very organised with this in the beginning and it ended up

take over your life! Also motivation, hard work and resilience.

being really difficult to sort out. Be as creative as possible on a budget with your marketing and promotion. Find friends,

Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur?

family members that can help you in specific aspects of your

No, I don’t think of myself as that. I see myself as someone

business - making, web design, graphic design, photography,

with a vision who is determined to make it happen. How has the brand evolved since its launch in 2008?

PR. Get as much advice and information as you can from talking to other people, reading books, magazines, articles and going to training and networking events.

I started it from my parents’ kitchen in my spare time whilst

All images from:

studying, doing every part of the business myself.


Heather Falconer, 25, created Spindle magazine for her final major project and has been running it ever since. She's learnt a lot since the early days, when she found herself faced with 10,000 magazines delivered to her front door. Pepper catches up with her since her move from Brighton to London. When did you first become interested in fashion? I’ve always been interested in it. My parents wanted me to study English but I liked the creative side of fashion, and wanted to do something that incorporated it with publishing and English. What ambitions did you have growing up? I changed what I wanted to do all the time. Coming from a small town, I always wanted something better for myself. I knew I wanted a career in the media industry, but I didn’t know what. Which work experiences benefited you the most? Doing all of them was so valuable as it really gave me an insight into the industry. Working for Fused magazine, which is a Birmingham-based music magazine, and Amelia’s magazine, both gave me an insight into smaller publications and how they’re run, and working for bigger publications such as Tank, Maxim and Condé Nast Traveller gave me an insight into working for a publishing house, which is where I got knowledge from to start Spindle. How would you describe your experience at university? I felt like I learnt more during the internships. When I was there, there was only eight of us on the course so it was real one-to-one tuition which was great, but the downside was it was quite far out, and I think a lot of institutions need to have people teaching who are in the industry and know what’s currently going on, apart from guest lecturers. My degree did benefit my creation of Spindle magazine though because I had to do a final major project which was Spindle. If I hadn’t done that project then Spindle would have never come about. Did you know that Spindle was going to continue after graduation?


Towards the end of the summer after I graduated, I received an email from my old graphic design lecturer saying that he wanted to design a magazine that was inspired by what I created for my final major project. We talked about it, decided to keep the name the same as I had already started plugging

I was working unpaid for a company doing graphic design,

it on social media, and within a week I went back to Brighton

living back in the Midlands, and I’d done so many internships

to start the magazine with my lecturer. He slowly filtered out

and thought that if I interned a lot throughout uni then when

and the new team came on board so it was a series of events

I graduated I’d get a job, but that just wasn’t the case.

that led on to the creation of Spindle.

How did you promote the magazine and generate interest?

illustrators, whereas now I have an editor who commissions

Social networking – Facebook and Twitter. I got the graphic

all of the writers, and a sub-editor who groups everything.

design job because the company liked the design of Spindle.

I have meetings with all the main editors and talk through

As a free magazine, how does Spindle make profit?

everything and then we discuss layouts and which illustrators

At the moment, we’re not in print. We did the first three issues free and put a cover price on the fourth issue, but we’re going back into print at the end of the year. We didn’t have advertising in the first issue but we have since. It’s online at the moment because at the stage we were at we found that we’d changed from a free magazine to a paid-for magazine, and distribution was an issue. We wanted to strip back what we were doing, really focus online and get more followers and readers that way. We also bring the magazine alive

what the themes are going to be for each issue. Sarah designs to use. My role has changed in the sense that I still oversee the fashion side of things but I won't style all the shoots, I oversee all of the business side of things more. Was it difficult giving up control in certain areas to other people? With Sarah, she’s been there from the start so she understood my vision. She could put anything together and it would be Spindle. Everyone that’s on board really understands the ethos

through events.

of Spindle which is why they’re part of the team.

How do you make Spindle stand out in the market?

Do you have any role models?

It’s the only magazine that promotes fashion, music and art,

No-one in specific, I think I’m just really determined and

and it crosses over to events. Also there’s no boundaries: illustrators can work with stylists, we get musician illustrators, etc.

I’ve been brought up with the philosophy that if you work hard, you’ll do really well. Describe your typical day.

Why did you choose to transfer to London?

Every day’s different. I’ll come into the studio, check my

It was more for my job as a freelance stylist, as well as

emails, have a meeting with Mary about advertising, check

Spindle. I felt like I could only go so far with Spindle in Brighton so it was time to move on to another city and build

what articles we’ve got going on, check Spindle’s Twitter. At the moment we do weekly events, so I do some promotion

it up here, and there’s so much going on in London.

for that, I’ll see what response we’re getting on Facebook. I'll

Who is your core team made up of? And did they move

It really varies.

with you? They all slowly moved here or lived here anyway. Sarah Ferrari is our creative director who I met to discuss featuring her in Spindle. We ended up designing Issue One together and then she stayed our designer ever since, designing everything from the website to the magazine to the media packs, and commissioning illustrators, working on events with our live artists and overseeing photoshoots. Mary is our marketing and advertising manager, Lizzie is our shopping editor, Charlie is

liaise with PRs about what shoots we’re doing at the moment.

How involved are you with the photos and articles that appear on each page of the magazine? I oversee everything now so with the articles, the writers pitch to our commissioning editor Amy, who then comes to me with all the ideas and we’ll say what we like and what we don’t like and put some other suggestions on board, as well as check out the writers’ previous work to make sure they’re up to the standard of the magazine. When it comes to photo shoots,

our music editor and Kitty is our online editor.

we’ve got our photography editors Vic and Darren who joined

How has the magazine evolved since university?

It’s great to get other peoples’ eye on work.

The style of it has changed because I designed the dummy version at uni but Sarah does it now so it’s better designed. Content-wise, it’s more varied: online, we have reviews and

us in the past three months, so they deal with commissions.

Where would you like to see Spindle in five years? I want it to be known as a brand that promotes emerging

listings. I think the standard of it is higher.

talent across music, art and fashion. I still want it to be a free

Was there a big learning curve?

the whole ethos of it from the beginning was that it was free.

Getting 10,000 magazines delivered to my front door without thinking about distribution was probably the biggest…! I had to put them into storage. Everything else was planned –

magazine. I didn’t like having a cover price on Issue Four as

Any parting words of advice to young people who want to break into the magazine industry?

the launch party, the goody bags - but the magazines were the

Do as many internships as possible and do a range, look into

only thing I didn’t think about. There was a knock at the door

publishing houses too. Intern at smaller magazines as you’ll

and there were two lorries!

learn a lot at those compared to bigger ones.

How has your role changed since starting the magazine? When the magazine started, I was a lot more hands-on, I’d write articles, style all the shoots and commission


SHOUT ABOUT IT Starting up a business? It may as well be non-existant if no-one knows about it. We have the best marketing tips for you from Claire Mitchell, founder of The Girls Mean Business, to ensure your business is heard about.

Fill in your social media profiles. Remember that your Facebook Page or Twitter account might be the first experience someone has of your business. You need to fill out the ‘about’ section, location, opening hours (if appropriate) and website links along with a synopsis of what you do.

Take a look at your website with fresh eyes. Is it aimed at your ideal customer? Is it likely to attract the right type of people, who value what you do and are willing to pay the right price? Do the images and words speak to your ideal customer? Are you speaking to them in their language and making them feel that they are in exactly the right place?


SEO your website – make sure that you have the key terms in there that people will be searching for if they are looking for a product or service like yours. Spend 10 minutes writing down words and phrases that you think (or know) your ideal customers will be searching for – then compare those phrases and words to your website content. How does it measure up? Don’t pack your website full of keywords so that it sounds unnatural – just make sure you do include some of the search terms you know your ideal clients are using.

Google yourself. Do you know what your customers are saying about you online? Then, respond to your customers. Also Google your business but WITHOUT using your name OR your company name. Search for what you offer, as if you were a customer, and see where your business appears in the search list.

Pick something that you’ve been dithering over, waiting to get it perfect before you release it into the big wide world – a product, a service, a marketing idea – and get it finished. In 10 minutes. Today. It can’t bring you any business if it’s not out there. Refine it as you go but just get it done for now.

Think about how you can link your business marketing to seasonal events – it will give you lots of reasons to write out to your customers with timely marketing messages. How can you tie in your marketing to Christmas, New Year, Easter, Spring, School holidays, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Hanuka, Thanksgiving, etc?

What do you actually want from your business? What’s your business vision? Do you have one? What do you want your business to look like in 5 years? 10 years? If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Do you know what success looks like to you? If not, how will you know whether you’ve achieved it? Spend 10 minutes thinking about what you want from your business, long term.

Pick up the phone: The phone is the cheapest marketing tool you have. Don’t waste it on cold calling. Use it to phone leads or contacts, rather than just email them. In a world swamped with electronic communication, this is a great way to stand out. Spend 10 minutes calling someone who will help you move your business forward!

Ask for testimonials & use them! Spend 10 minutes sending out polite requests for testimonials from existing clients. Good testimonials are perfect for your web page and promotional items.

Write a press release - write your own press release and submit it to the appropriate channels. If what you’re doing is particularly newsworthy, send it to local media. Also submit your press release to the free services online. There are lots of good press release templates online so spend 10 minutes finding the right one for you and another 10 minutes writing the bones of your release. (see next page)

For the full e-book of tips, ‘55 Fabulous “10 Minute” Marketing Tips for Women Business Owners’, visit


GET IN THE PRESS Having a great idea and a smooth-running business is the perfect start, but how do you create hype around it? Ann Bird, media trainer and journalist for numerous national tabloid newspapers, gives Pepper the tips and tricks for ensuring the word is spread about your business.


Superlatives and originality: something that is new, the biggest or the only company that can provide

customers with the service or product you’re offering will instantly generate interest through the competitive nature.

Writing a press release to send to a publication should be one of the first points of call for free advertising. Not only

Triumph over tragedy: this will create a sense of accomplishment and uplift the reader. Generating a

are you providing content for them, but they’re increasing

positive emotion in your reader will shed your business in a

the number of people your business reaches through the

good light.

distribution of their publication. Make it easy for the journalist who’s going to put your business in the paper – write your press


Achievement: showing off awards and prizes will give credibility to your business. Gaining recognition

release with a journalistic style. Consider the headline carefully

from awarding bodies will encourage readers and potential

and put it in the subject field of the email so the recipient

customers to have the same belief in you.

understands exactly what the purpose of your contact is. Using the present tense gives an active and immediate sense to your story, for example, “Red Management wins Best Business award”. Your press release should be no longer than a page of A4.

4 5

Milestones: anniversaries and milestones show your business is established and well-rounded. £££: the materialistic nature in each of us will be drawn to any information on money – whether that be losses

or wins. Obviously you don’t want to share the ins and outs of

Type it into a program that you can spellcheck, then copy and

your finances with everyone (save that for your accountant!)

paste it into the body of your email. Adding attachments puts

but if an external company is backing you with funding, that’s

up an unnecessary partition between your email and your

something to be proud of.

content. Picture an inverted triangle as you’re writing – the most important information should be at the top of your


A picture’s worth a thousand words: Using innovative and eye-catching imagery will encourage the reader to

press release, gradually filtering down into the less important

read the accompanying story that might otherwise

information. The journalist who is dealing with your story

seem mundane.

may have a word count so prioritising your content saves time for them. Don’t forget your ‘who, what, why, where, when, how’.


Celebrity: celebrity endorsement or appearances in relation to your brand will give it credibility. Just make

sure that if you do choose to connect your brand with a

If these six points are covered in your press release, it’s doubtful

celebrity, it’s associated with someone who might be a role

that you’ve missed anything out.

model for your customers. Connecting your brand with

Finally, make sure you send your press release well in advance: for a local newspaper, a couple of weeks ahead should suffice; for a daily newspaper, a week ahead; for a women’s monthly, up to six months ahead. Also notifying the press or radio about upcoming events can generate coverage.



the wrong public figure could be detrimental and cheapen your brand.


Events: social events will add an extra dimension to your business and create an extra touchpoint for your

customers to be involved with.




WEAR IT RIGHT When attending an interview for a job, there is a lot of pressure to stand out from the other candidates. Dressing right is the best way to make an impact. "The number one interview mistake is dressing incorrectly," says Gay Richardson, personal stylist and founder of Style Me Confident. "You only have four seconds to create a first impression, which is vital as 80% of people judge others on appearance alone. Dressing correctly increases your perceived value and gives others an indication as to what kind of person you are. For an interview, it's better to be overdressed than underdressed, so make sure you don't show too much skin or wear distracting jewellery. Avoid strapless or sleeveless tops and plunging necklines, and don't wear a skirt shorter than knee-length. Once you've landed the job, follow your leaders by dressing to similar rules, and remember that being fashionable is not the same as being appropriate. You can add colour, but use tones that flatter your skin tone and project your individual sense of style. Also bear in mind colour meanings; for example, blue can convey trust and order, and red indicates confidence and assertiveness. Finally, as long as you bear in mind the ABC of business dress, you won't go wrong: be Appropriate to your work environment; set Boundaries to what you wear - if in doubt, it's probably inappropriate; and be Consistent to establish trust and credibility.




YOUR JOB: Accountant / solicitor / bank manager YOUR WARDROBE: Formal, tailored, matching pieces, structured fabric. COMMUNICATES: Authority, ability, credibility

YOUR JOB: Retail store manager / interior designer, / fashion / architecture / PR / advertising YOUR WARDROBE: Semi-formal, softly tailored, up to date styles, colour and pattern, finer fabrics COMMUNICATES: Capability, receptiveness, creativeness




PEOPLE-ORIENTATED YOUR JOB: Nurse (non-uniform role) / social worker / teacher / estate agent YOUR WARDROBE: Informal, casually tailored, unmatched pieces, knits COMMUNICATES: Flexibility, approachableness, knowledge

CASUAL YOUR JOB: Early years teacher / anything sports-related / data input/computer-related / industrial work YOUR WARDROBE: Untailored, denim, khaki, corduroy COMMUNICATES: Informal, responsive, available


YOUR KEY ITEM: No collar



"Internships provide you with extremely valuable career-related work experience, which increases your employability in today’s competitive market. An internship gives you the chance to make contacts and network with professionals, which along with credible references greatly enhances your future career potential. They’re a great springboard for launching yourself into your desired career as many businesses now use internships as their main way of sourcing and hiring graduate talent. This means you can use your internship as a chance to present yourself to an employer in a way that no CV ever could. It’s a good idea to decide which career suits your professional and personal interests the most before potentially committing the next 20 years to it. Most internships last between three to six months giving you a great idea of what is involved in the role and industry. It’s an invaluable opportunity to be able to test drive your chosen career, discover how much you enjoy it and how you’ll cope with the demands and pressures of the role. During your time as an intern, you’ll receive on-the-job training and develop skills in niche areas whilst becoming more confident in talking about yourself and your abilities. This real-world experience becomes priceless when faced with difficult interview questions as you can draw on that experience to give examples and demonstrate key skills. You can get a lot out of an internship; the chance to contribute fresh ideas and knowledge, gain insight into the inner workings of a business and receive pay." - Laura Gordon, Intern Avenue

“Be punctual! No one likes someone that is late and first impressions really count, so always try to be 10-15 minutes early just in case you get lost. Secondly, be happy to help and go the extra mile in social approach and work responsibilities.”

“Be enthusiastic and confident, and complete tasks before deadlines. It gave me the chance to gain the same level of responsibility and trust as the staff. Never say no to attending social events such as after-work drinks. It’s is a fantastic chance to mingle with everyone especially as they’re all much more relaxed.”

“Don’t get involved in any office bitchiness and don’t be scared to introduce yourself to the top players and start conversations; it shows you’re keen and interested. Also making a round of tea doesn’t hurt!”

“Never leave a task incomplete, and make sure you show off your skills at any opportunity. Also, on my last day, I brought in a box of Krispy Kremes to win them round... extra brownie points on my reference!” “Always be willing to go the extra mile, whether that’s an extra task you take on or socialising after work, it could open up new opportunities and you never know who you will meet.”


“Always make sure you’re making your presence known, it’s so easy to be ‘just another intern’. Take the time to get to know the people you’re working for, I found making conversation first thing in the morning breaks the ice for the day and looks like you’re interested in more than extra inches on your CV. Make sure you leave a lasting impression as most of my internships have come off the back of a good recommendation.”

“Get involved and make yourself known as a part of the team, make a good impression and they will remember you. Work hard no matter how big or small the task as it will always get noticed.”

"Whatever size the task is, give it your all and show off what you can do, you never know how your efforts may be rewarded.”

“Don’t be afraid to contribute ideas, it could offer your employer a fresh view on things and demonstrate your initiative. You never know who it might impress.”


“Be confident, get to know people, work hard and always show initiative, but if you’re unsure about anything don’t be afraid to ask. Put yourself forward for added opportunities such as photo shoots as it is will give you a better perspective of different areas within the company, and the opportunity to meet more people.“

“Always go in with the attitude that ‘nothing is too much trouble’ and ‘no job is too big’. Never be afraid to ask questions and get involved with the team, nine times out of ten they have contacts in other companies, so if you make the right impression it will open doors for you or they may call you back again.”

“Complete deadlines professionally and quickly and go that extra mile to show initiative. Be friendly and interested in your work colleagues’ jobs - ask questions! Also get there early on your first day so you make a good impression.”

“Be yourself! Ask for extra jobs and take on anything that is thrown at you, even if you haven’t done it before, don’t be scared to ask and learn new things.”


creative applications : do ’s / don ’ ts Jackie Balchin, online marketing executive from TARGETjobs, shares her tips on creative applications to ensure you get noticed for all the right reasons. “Grabbing attention with your CV has never been more paramount. In this competitive environment, being creative with your approach is becoming more common. Adam Pacitti rose to media fame when he spent £500 on a billboard in an attempt to land himself a job. Although it can be tempting to try to be unconventional, there are reasons why not to be. First of all, creative applications are speculative applications. If the company you aimed the application at replies with ‘you might like to apply to the vacancies on our jobs page’, this will either show that you haven’t done your research or that you think you’re above the company’s rules. Even a high profile creative application does not necessarily end in a job offer. Jamie Varon started, which went viral, leading to an interview with Twitter, but she wasn’t offered a job. You should also bear in mind that hyping yourself up that much leads to high expectations from the company you are applying to; you need to be ready to fulfil those expectations.”

1. 2. 3. 4.

TARGET When putting together your creative application ensure you know who you need to aim it at. Who has the power to hire you? A scattergun approach is the wrong way to go: employers want to know that you’ve done your research and want to work for them in particular rather than any creative agency.

CONCEPT It obviously pays to be as creative and unique as possible. This does not mean you need to go all gimmicky and wacky however. Your creativity could simply be reflected in the layout and style of your CV. Have you considered laying out your CV as an infographic, for example?

BUDGET Stay within your limits but make the overall application look polished and professional. You may need to scale down your idea, which will force you to be even more creative, but that could be a great example of how you tackled a difficult task with limited resources when you get to your interview.

APPROACH Don’t stalk the employer. Don’t send gifts or freebies. Going over the top can put them on the defensive. Finally, make sure that you’re not skimping on vital information. Keep contact details and the dates you are available to start, and make sure your skills and experience are clearly signposted.


FIRST AID FOR YOUR CV When sending your CV to a company, bear in mind what will appeal to them. Applying to creative companies will allow you to be more flexible in terms of design, but follow these tips from Graduate Fasttrack as a guideline.

Employers want to be able to read CVs quickly - generally speaking, they’ll be looking for the following:

What you want to do and your reason for looking? (Is it relevant to the job? Are you focused?) Your academics (are there any gaps?); are your qualifications good enough? What work experience have you had? – is it relevant? Do you have good English? (Spelling mistakes / grammar errors) Have you made the effort to make your CV look good? What sort of person are you? Are you a cultural fit? (They will be looking at your interests, hobbies and achievements) Additional skills – Languages etc?

Most employers make snap judgements very quickly – it’s VERY important that your CV looks good. remember these simple tips:

Use the same font throughout. Don’t vary the font size to much (two or three different sizes maximum) Go easy on Bold and Italics function. Don’t make your CV too wordy (often less is more). The best CVs are concise - two pages maximum. Often one page can be enough.


CV Order

Contact Details (maybe add a link to your Linkedin profile if you have one)

Profile (keep it short and punchy) two to four sentences maximum. Should include: What you are looking to get into and why (e.g. Sales and Recruitment etc.) Main skills and traits you possess (e.g. Creatively minded, self-motivated, great communication skills) Why you’re now looking for work? (e.g. Just back from travelling or just finished uni)

Academic Qualifications: Order chronologically, most recent qualifications at the top - Degree, A levels, GCSE Keep it clean and concise (you don’t need to list all your GCSE subjects) Remember dates; employers will be looking for gaps.

Additional Skills / Qualifications: Languages? etc.

Work Experience: Order chronologically, most recent jobs first. If you’ve had a lot of different jobs don’t worry about including all of them (pick the most relevant) Include: Job Title, Company and Dates (be exact on dates); then briefly describe your duties (one to two sentences maximum). For the most recent job you may want to include reason for leaving Make sure, if relevant, you include your key achievements (make it tangible)

Achievements: List any key achievements (keep short and concise) e.g. Head boy / Girl etc.

Interests and Hobbies: Again keep short and concise (don’t waffle)















DAYS WAYS to wear a white shirt









MAKE A S TAT E M E N T Add bold necklaces to monochrome shirts for instant impact in the office.















GRUNGE BUN Perfect for those days when your hair needs a wash but you don’t have the time, slightly greasy roots add to the effect and contrast to the neatness of the bun. Or lightly use BB Gel to recreate the texture at the roots. Use BB Hair Powder to add hold to the ends and smooth hair into a low bun using a brush. Finish with BB Classic Hairspray. Add a pop of bright lipstick to modernise the look.


NATURAL TOUSLE Effortless, easy and oh-so-pretty. Prep hair with BB Prep and BB Thickening Spray, then use a curling wand if you have straight hair to create waves, before lightly spraying with BB Surf Spray and gently brushing through. Fresh, dewy skin offsets the semi-matte waves perfectly; add definition to brows to give the face structure, and add touches of soft copper, rose and peach through eyes, cheeks and lips.


UNDONE SOPHISTICATION A modern take on a classic look. Layer BB Prep, add BB Styling Creme and brush though. Smooth BB Straight Blow Dry through the mid lengths to the ends of your hair before blowdrying. Use your fingers to pull hair into a low ponytail then twist hair under and pin it to create a knotted bun. Pull hairs around the face loose to soften the look. Finish with red lipstick and a slick of black eyeliner along the upper lashline for modern sophistication.

TWISTED Girly, with a twist of attitude. Begin with BB Prep, then use a curling wand to create defined curls. Select sections either side of your parting, twist upwards and pin at the back of your head. Finish with BB Holding Spray and BB Brilliantine. Apply a smoky brown eyeshadow to the upper and lower lashline and finish with a plum lip stain.

















WISHLIST Because there’s nothing wrong with a little material motivation.



With special thanks to: BRUCE SPILLER AIDA SPILLER HANNAH GOULDEN LAUREN TOOZE BECKY HOWIE And: Andrea Niles / Hayley Rubery / Sam Foot / Becky Harris / Rian Davies / Emily Tyson / Harri Keen / Jess Diplock / Casey Hatherly / Anna McIntyre / Pe-Jae Beresford Brooks / Gary Thompson / Bianca Donnelly / Yuki Sawada / Adrienne Rosen / Laura Gordon @ Intern Avenue / Jackie Balchin @ TARGETjobs / Gordon Bennell @ Graduate Fasttrack / Laura Carrick @ In Flow International / Claire Mitchell @ The Girls Mean Business / Claudia Rose Meller @ The DIY Style Blog / Lyzi Unwin @ Being Little / Clive Spring @ Yoohoo Creative / Ann Bird @ AB Business Training / Amy Lynn Andrews / Martin Manser / Mike Clayton / Gay Richardson @ Style Me Confident / Jemma and Catherine @ Dirty Saint / Heather Falconer @ Spindle / Alice Muir @ TLG / Maria Allen @ Maria Allen Jewellery / Ellen Parker / Jasmine Bowden / Brad Crescenzo / Alex Baillie / Annabelle Lowes / Harriet Lowes / Francesca Louise Hall / UK Fashion Intern / Young Female Entrepreneurs / David and Chris @ DPS Ltd printing

Pepper magazine  

Pepper magazine is a creative style & business publication for students, graduates and young entrepreneurs, containing inspirational workwea...

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