Each month Diversity Business Magazine asks a professional in their field to reveal the tips in life and career that have helped them get to where they are today. In our debut edition our featured entrepreneur, fashion designer, Ebony Bromfield, founder of the ELBo label reveals how being made redundant provided the push she needed to follow her dreams into the world of fashion and creative entrepreneurship. Here is what she has to say about taking those first steps.
Since entering into the fashion industry, what have you learnt about setting up a business or designing that you would like to share?
I’ve learnt that setting up a business takes a long time, much longer than I thought.
It has taught me to stick to my guns and continue to make my designs unique and individual but it has taught me to seek out what people want and what people who like this particular style are looking for and where they are looking for it.
I’ve learnt not to try to do everything, focus and narrow down my market. Not everyone is going to like my minimal and geometric style so I try to focus on the ones who do and use social media to get the right people looking at my work.
What is your favourite inspirational saying?
I don’t think I have a particular motto or quote I just always try to think positively , positivity is key and all that really matters is happiness. Surround yourself with it and believe in it. Also never ever regret anything or any decisions you’ve made.
Which designers do you admire and why?
I admire other new designers like myself, making it on their own and putting themselves out there. I’m just starting to understand how hard it really is and because design is so creative it’s so much more personal so it’s an even bigger risk.
How would you view the fashion industry in the UK today?
I think the fashion industry is terribly hard to crack! I have been told that it’s a “who you know” industry, not “what you know”. In terms of offers and opportunities, they are always out there it’s just knowing where to look. Most competitions or shows require a lot of money so it’s hard for designers with little or no cash and no backing to get started.
I went into business for myself because it was either that or intern for free for my first six months post-graduation. I believe this really needs to change but seems far away because it’s so hard to get into. If you don’t work for free there’s someone else who will. I think it is a great sector for creatives. It’s very competitive, and there are a lot of very talented designers that get overlooked or just can’t afford to intern first or get their work seen. There are a few organisations and on line sites that focus on supporting up and coming designers which help get your work seen these are great and offer new designers an opportunity that otherwise would n’t be possible.
Was there a point in your career when the penny dropped and everything became clear as to the way forward?
It was when I got made redundant from an office job in insurance claims and I was so happy because I knew that path was n’t what I was destined for. I’ve always been a creative person and the redundancy was exactly what I needed to get my head into gear and figure out exactly what I wanted to do.
What advice would you give other young hopefuls wanting to break into fashion?
Just keep going and focus on social media. It’s the way to get your work seen by the masses. Stick to your style and find yourself a niche market for it. It’s different every day and you can only learn it all as you go but it’s so rewarding because you will be doing the thing you love most.
What do you do to relax and recharge batteries?
I am always thinking and dreaming up new ideas for new projects and designs. I love photography and using my images for inspiration and playing around on photo shop. I find this relaxing. I also enjoy using down time to watch fashion shows and research what’s coming up in the fashion world.