Today, Making It in the Nest, I have the lovely Ali from Age of Reason.
I met Ali at a My Swish event last month, and I have been aching to get this post out there, just been waiting for Ali’s fabulous new collection to be ready!
Age of Reason is a UK accessories label, who pride themselves on making beautiful silk scarves in England. Using playful prints and gorgeous fabrics, they take influence from punk, cinema, literature, music and the streets of Britain.
Why and when did you first decide to open a shop/start a business?
I grew up in a passionately creative family so I don’ t think there was ever any question of me doing some sort of design one day. I also know how hard it is to survive the creative industries, which might have put me off, but seeing your own intentions translated into material things is very rewarding.
Why did you choose the name of your shop/business?
Age of Reason implies a genesis, a new beginning, a calm within chaos, the eye of the storm. A creative culmination of my many past lives, it represents a way of sharing visual ideas and experiences, in a way that people can enjoy and wear.
Where did you first decide to start selling your products/service, and why did you decide on that method?
I decided to go the wholesale route first selling to shops like Coco de Mer, Whistles, Start London and Matches. I chose retailers with fantastic reputations for excellence so that my brand would grow up in a good environment. Shifting to my own online retail arm of the business is easier too now that I’ve made the costings work for wholesale.
Where do you find that most of your buyers hear about you?
Most people hear about us online or by word of mouth.
What do you enjoy most about running your own shop/business?
I enjoy the whole thing from designing to dealing with customers and seeing them wear the scarves. The best thing is seeing the scarves go out into the world and take on a life as part of someone else’s look. Seeing hard work pay off is very satisfying.
What is the least enjoyable thing?
Once a supplier asked me if this was my hobby and if I was doing it for “pin money” that really got on my nerves. Women have been in business for centuries and it’s jut incredible to me that someone would ask anyone that.
What is your favourite item that you have in your shop right now?
Difficult to say, but I’m very excited about our Jubilee pug scarf. It says GOD SAVE THE QUEEN, and features a pug dog in a crown on a Union Jack backdrop. I’m also really excited about the Londoners Scarf for the Tate, which was a collaboration with illustrator Badaude.
Is there anything you would do differently if you started the whole process again?
I don’t have any regrets. I might not have started the business when my daughter was 9 months old if I’d thought about it more!
Do you have any advice for those following in your footsteps?
I think the best way to start a business is feel your way and trust your instincts.
Fabulous advice from a lady who has created a gorgeous business. Take heed!
PS: If you fancy being involved on my Making It feature, drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org. Would love to hear from you!