Hard work and determination paid off for this young fashion designer.
Rebecca Griffiths, 26, who lives in Preston, knew she wanted to work within the fashion industry from a young age.
Her interest in fashion had sparked from an art project she did on bridal design at the age of 14.
Since then, she made it her mission to ensure all her further education and study would be strictly in fashion and went on to study for a diploma in art and design, followed by an undergraduate degree in fashion with business enterprise at the University of Central Lancashire.
During her time at university, she was given the opportunity for work experience at retail giant River Island.
She says: “One of my tutors at university had e-mailed me about the opportunity and I just went for it.
“There was an interview process which I was initially quite nervous about but when I got there I had such a lovely time.
“As I left the interview room and made my way to Piccadilly station, I had already received the phone call and I got the internship.”
During her placement at River Island, Rebecca designed her own garments which were later sold in store, one of which became a top seller and was produced in three different colours.
Rebecca says: “It was hard but so rewarding at the same time. I think it’s important to stay motivated and dedicated to your work no matter what the circumstances as this is what will help you in the end.”
Following her work experience at River Island, Rebecca packed her portfolio and went searching for job opportunities around the North West, knocking on the doors of different boutiques and bridal shops.
Finally, her determination paid off as she bagged herself a job at Lancaster bridal boutique, Butterfly Bridal.
She says: “Working at a bridal shop can be stressful at times but it is also a very laid back atmosphere which makes it enjoyable.
“It is vital to get work experience to get a better insight into what the fashion industry is really about.”
Business was always at the forefront of Rebecca’s mind. She loved fashion but was already aware she would need a business head to survive and become a successful business owner.
At this point in her life, Rebecca was doing well but knew she wanted to make it on her own.
She wanted her own brand but it was only after graduation she realised she would never be able to fund it herself. She wanted to find out more about the ins and outs of the business side of fashion and enquired about shadowing the managing director at an individual boutique called Pretty Disturbia, in Manchester.
She says: “It was a really unique niche market. The garments in the boutique were pretty but with a bit of a twist.
“I loved my time there as I was given a lot of responsibility which gave me more of an insight into the business.
“I knew this is what I needed to gain the skills I would need for my own future business.”
After working at various boutiques and as a garment technologist, Rebecca found herself at a crossroads.
She recalls: “It was at this point that I realised I would not be able to do both.
“Working for somebody and at the same time working on my own business was proving quite difficult and I knew something had to give.
“I decided that if I was to pursue my dream in fashion, I would have to give up my day job.
“Quitting my job was the easy bit because after that I had a huge task ahead of me which was trying to find funding for my business plan.
“I was aware at this point of what it takes to build a business from scratch and how much revenue was needed. It was safe to say I would not have been able to provide this myself and so I got on a mission to find a way around this or find an investor.”
Rebecca began by contacting big businesses and carrying her portfolio around to major companies to try and make her dream into a reality.
She says: “Persistence is the key to getting what you want out of life.
“The light at the end of the tunnel came when I applied to Start Up Britain which is funding from business entrepreneur James Caan of Dragon’s Den fame.
“I had applied for the grant and when I received the phone call to say I’d got it, I was so overwhelmed. I didn’t know how to react.
“It was only when I went down to the offices to sign the documents that I got really emotional and started crying.
“My hard work and dedication was not wasted and my dream was finally being realised.”
In 2013, Rebecca set up a studio and workshop in Preston, employing a team of machinists, seamstresses and garment cutters.
“By the time her studio was up and running, Rebecca had already built herself a small client base and her first official dress design was a bridal garment inspired by Audrey Hepburn.
She says: “The first bespoke wedding dress I’d made was for a friend of a friend.
“I get most my clients simply from word of mouth.”
News travelled fast and Rebecca’s clients kept rolling in. Her business hit the ground running simply from recommendations of her services and designs. Her work life has been a whirlwind ever since.
She says: “The other day, somebody I had met at a networking event passed my number on to a client who wanted me to create bespoke sportswear.
“The experience you gain doing random jobs is priceless and I’m constantly wanting to learn new skills.”
Much of Rebecca’s inspirations come from magazines such as Vogue, Another and Harpers Bazaar but her most used inspiration is nature itself.
She explains: “The world around us is such an exciting place to be in that you can get inspiration from absolutely anywhere and everywhere.
“I want my designs to be unique and focused on each individual customer. It’s important to know exactly what they want.”
Rebecca now has an impressive client base which includes wholesale clients as well as high-end boutiques.
She aims to provide a bespoke tailoring service which is moulded and adapted by the customer’s individual requirements.
If you are interested in booking a garment consultation, contact Rebecca at: firstname.lastname@example.org (Studio visits in Preston are by appointment only)