Presenting incredibly talented Charlotte Holmes, the creator of @saywhatyouc; SWYC is a beautiful collection of personalised jewellery and accessories. Charlotte is a true Mumspiration after her passion, determination and entrepreneurial spirit led her to start this fantastic fashion brand. Charlotte’s reasons for starting, echo why so many of us work for ourselves. Be prepared to be inspired, as Charlotte shares with us how she got started and her top tips on running a successful business.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Charlotte, a 36 year old mummy to my 2.5 year old daughter Teddie. My boyfriend is called Dom and we live in London.
I’ve always worked in the creative industry and left my job of 9 years to start SWYC whist on maternity leave
Tell us about Say What You C and what gave you the idea to start?
SWYC started just over 3 years ago, after a trip to Thailand in 2014. I loved the personalised necklaces and bought several from the Night Markets. When I returned home, there was lots of interest from my friends and I thought to myself “there is something in this”, so I began designing my own name tags. I started making them for friends and family and then it took off from there.
I found a factory to produce, sample and ship to the UK. A week after the first stock arrived, I found out I was pregnant, I was delighted. Becoming a mother made me more determined to make SWYC work as I wanted to bring up my daughter at home, plus it had always been my dream to work for myself.
In the beginning, I would work full-time and I would make necklaces in my spare time. Word started to spread and I soon started receiving orders daily.
Describe your typical day?
No two days are the same but roughly;
6am: Teddie is my alarm clock!
6:30 – 8:30: We will go down stairs, have breakfast and check emails, track deliveries and sign off any samples that have come in overnight. I’ll get Teddie and myself ready and the first stop is the Post Office to drop off orders.
9:30: Post office drop complete we then will go out in the morning to a class/playgroup/playdate and home for lunch while I fit in some orders. Teddie’s nap times also allow me to fit some more work in as we will be out in the afternoon. Once Teddie is in bed I will reply to all emails.
5:00 – 8:00pm: Wind down, tea, bath and bed time
8:30: Dom and I collapse on the sofa and start to unwind. I chew Dom’s ear off about new ideas I’ve had that day. I spend time going through my to do list, priorities for the next day and sorting out and packing new orders.
As the business is growing, Teddie goes to nursery 2 days a week which allows me to work 8-5 and get batches of orders out. We aim to deliver all orders within 5 days so this routine works well.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Definitely travel. I love visiting new places, we go to a lot of antique markets at the weekends which I love and of course Instagram – I am obsessed!
What is the best part of your job?
Being able to spend everyday with my daughter
What do you think it takes to be a Girl boss?
Determination, organisation and a sense of humour!
What would you say the most important thing is in running an online business? What has been the greatest lesson you have learnt?
You need to be super organised, a good multitasker and a good communicator. People are nervous buying from lesser known brands online and often need reassurance their order is going to arrive. People want answers quickly otherwise they can go on Twitter, Instagram etc and make a comment which can in turn make potential customers nervous so you need to be quick.
At the moment I am struggling with stock – there isn’t enough of it!
A great situation to be in but we have lost sales as we haven’t been able to deliver quick enough so the lesson here is – slow down and do a stock take once a week!
How do you find the balance between running a successful business and happiness?
They come hand in hand – every time I receive an order I literally get butterflies – sounds ridiculous I know but I still can’t quite believe how far we have come and how the brand has and is growing. The business allows me to provide for my family and we get to do nice things together. I am thankful every day for that.
What are your fashion predictions for AW17/SS18/AW18?
Camo print, star print, monochrome – relaxed styling and personalisation of course!
Who are your Girl Boss Inspirations?
The girls at A Style Album! Louise and Emma discovered my jewellery on Instagram and featured them on their style blog – this catapulted my brands awareness and I will be forever grateful to them – they literally changed my life.
After work, how do you find time to relax?
Working from home means I never really “finish”, customers usually email after they finish work so evenings are often spent replying to these enquiries and also tying up any express orders that have come in that day. I find lighting a candle once Teddie is in bed marks the start of my wind down for the day.
What are your top five tips for starting a successful fashion brand?
- Stay focused
- Keep calm
- Do one thing at a time
- Just do it!
- Don’t give up!
Thank you Charlotte for such an inspiring interview. If you would like to find out more about Charlotte and her fantastic designs, head to: