My ears and eyes are always wide open eager to meet inspiring and amazing women who do not conform to career or society norms. That intrigues me. When I came across Phoebe Gormley on the net, the brave young woman who set up Gormley & Gamble, London's first made-to-measure tailors exclusively for women, I could not resist suggesting her a date over coffee. I am pretty good at getting women to meet me, and it seams like they don't resist the intrigue to meet that Bitch too :-)
Phoebe and I meet at the very feminine The Anthologist Bar right in the city. I was blown away with her presence: stunning, model like in early twenties, barely any make up, big natural smile, stilettos and a smart well tailored jacket. Well she wore trousers too. But its not her appearance but her smart entrepreneurial intelligence that won me over! Read this ladies.....
Sandra: You are a very young entrepreneur - what's your story?
Phoebe: Last year when I was 19 on work experience in tailoring, a gaping hole in the market became obnoxiously obvious to all those working around it. Like so many others, I was disappointed with university being lack-luster, so I jumped head first into this ‘gaping hole’. Starting G&G on a shoe-string with nothing but high hopes, a willingness to try and nothing to lose.
Sandra: What motivated you to start your own business?
Phoebe: I was motivated to start G&G because A) I had come to a bit of a dead end in my education. I wanted something I could totally sink my teeth into and feel really passionate about and university just wasn't it. B) I knew I wanted to do something in clothing. I know and appreciate that people think it is frivolous, and yes, fashion can be, but style – not so much. If a two-dimensional image says a thousand words, a four-dimensional-you paints ten times that. Saying you don't care about the clothes you put on your back is synonymous with saying you don't care what anyone thinks about you. There would be no business in social media if that was the case.
Sandra: What inspired you to start this particular business?
Phoebe: A lack of sharp suits for women and an infuriating realisation that the best cloths, cuts and sizing were only available for men.
Sandra: What does your business stand for/moto?
Phoebe: Gormley & Gamble is named after my surname and the 'gamble' element is about going against the norm (quitting university) and believing that the biggest reward comes from the highest stake risk.
Our motto is ‘Ending London’s epidemic of substandard suits for women’ but I’m hoping that’s going to change in the next 3 years to include London, New York, Paris, and Tokyo.
Sandra: Who is your customer?
Phoebe: My customer is a driven career girl on her way to the top, who is smart enough to know that Chanel was right when she said ‘dress well and they remember the dress, dress impeccably and they remember the woman’.
Sandra: What is your USP, the message to women about your business?
Phoebe: For the first time, women can get tailor made suits that ACTUALLY fit them in two weeks with appointment only service wherever they want. No more Oxford Street, just sit back, relax and enjoy the complimentary champagne and macaroons. What else could a girl want from her tailor?
Sandra: What is your vision/goal?
Phoebe: My vision for my clients, is that when they stand up in front of all of those people to make the presentation they’ve been prepping for, they have the confidence of excellent tailoring behind them, to know they can hold their head high. When your first skin isn’t quite enough, your second skin, perfectly tailored to you, is the confidence boost everyone deserves.
Sandra: What motivates you to be successful?
Phoebe: 1. Walking through the city and passing women in badly-fitting suits, and knowing that all women deserve better. 2. “Clothes aren’t going to change the world, the women who wear them will” - Anne Klein. 3. A willingness to prove that it does pay off to break away from the herd.
Sandra: What are the biggest life lessons you have learned so far?
Phoebe: Push yourself. I thought I was busy before, I realise now how wrong I was! Now I am flat out, but it's immeasurably more satisfying than any other job I’ve done. As Tory Burch said “I think you can have it all. You just have to know it’s going to work”.
Sandra: What are the biggest business lessons you have learned so far?
Phoebe: Be brave. Anticipate that nothing is going to work first time round and be ok with that.
Sandra: What would you wish/advise to young people out there who are still at university and the ones who thinking about starting something on their own?
Phoebe: It's so hard for me to advise on this, I've been incredibly lucky in that my parents supported my move after they had approved my business plan. I think the best way to go about these things is to try to work it into your normal life, if you are really passionate about it, you will find time for it (and that's a great testament to see if you truly are set on it).
Share your business plan with everyone and anyone, give people the jist, get opinions and feedback and tailor your business plan accordingly. It's never going to be perfect, try to be open-minded in accepting it will change.
Sandra: What is your favourite kick ass music track?
Phoebe: That’s a tie between On top – Flume, good motivation for working my a** off, and New Dorp, New York – Subtract, I love the line ‘my girl’s got a city to run’, this is going to be the soundtrack in an upcoming video campaign.
Sandra: When not working, how do your spend your time on your own and with your friends?
Phoebe: On my own - Anything to relax me without looking at a screen! With friends - When my parents are home I love to go back and walk the dogs, good food (my mum is the best), good wine (thanks Dad), and great company, there is nothing quite like it. I am terrible at sport but love playing very bad tennis, I cycle to and from work everyday, yes, even in my suit and stilettoes. My favourite thing is a good bear hug, a good hug can snap me out of any bad mood. Otherwise, relaxing (reclining is mine and my best friend Immy’s favourite hobby), travelling, exploring, pampering, eating out, the usual hobbies of a twenty year old girl!
Sandra: Who are you most thankful for supporting your career and life choices?
Phoebe: Biologically, of course I wouldn’t be here without my parents. But realistically, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now if I didn’t have their support. Words cannot describe how grateful I will always be to them for starting me off young. They are my absolute rock, even when they are at home on the other side of the world. Cheers to you guys, just in case I don’t thank you enough, thank you again.
Oh, that was a tasty coffee date indeed!
Isn't time to treat ourselves to a well tailored suit for Christmas, ladies? I can smell a powerful New Year!
Chat to Phoebe @gormley_gamble and visit her website