Name, title & company name?
Alicya Sinclair, Founder & Creative Director, Sinclair London.
In a few words, tell us what your business does?
Sinclair London is an emerging luxury fashion house bringing Savile Row to the women’s wardrobe. We ultimately design, manufacture and sell fine tailoring and work wear for professional women. As a small luxury brand, we’re not trying to change the world, we simply dress the women who do.
When did you get involved in the setup of the business and what made you finally take the plunge?
I was lucky enough to know very early on in my life what I wanted to do. I was nine when I attempted to set up my first company, AK Clothing, which was a casualwear brand for 18-24 year olds.
I decided soon after, that it’d be worth my while to gain some more experience before my next venture. I went on to work for a number of fashion brands, did lots of networking and got some sound business and strategic advice before I officially took the plunge three years ago. I’ve never looked back since.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I love the flexible lifestyle that comes with owning your own business. I really do feel like I’m living the dream, being able to travel, meet new people, learn about new cultures and experience all of this through my line of work. It’s the perfect combination of business and pleasure.
And the worst?
When you have a team, big or small, you are ultimately responsible for their income. Knowing that everything rides on the decisions I make and the business I bring in, can be quite daunting. I’m therefore always trying to find innovative ways to drive business and keep cash flow circulating.
Why did you choose KPMG Small Business Accounting?
When my accountant got a new job that meant relocating to Brazil, I had to find a replacement and quickly. My online research hadn’t presented any firms that looked after fashion or creative businesses, so when I first visited the Small Business Accounting website and was greeted with fashion industry related images, I knew it would be a good fit.
I also loved the fact that through the industry networking events that KPMG run, I would be able to connect with my peers. Such opportunities for relationship building are really valuable for a small business owner.
How have KPMG Small Business Accounting and your dedicated KPMG accountant helped you?
My accountant has guided me throughout the handover process and kept me up to date with what’s been happening. What I also value is the insight I get regarding new policies that I should be aware of and the efficiency in helping to get me up, running and compliant.
What are two industry specific challenges your business is facing?
Cash flow and growth are really big challenges for small businesses in the sector. Making sure you have multiple streams of income in such a seasonal industry is vital to survival.
I’ve also found growth to be a bit of a catch 22. In order to grow any fashion business, you need to have a vested interest in marketing. However, as a small business what we don’t have is a substantial marketing budget and therefore struggle to get the presence we need to grow. It’s something we’re trying to find a smart workaround for.
What one thing do you think the Government could do to help small businesses?
I think the government is doing a good job for businesses like mine. There are a number of funded initiatives for emerging fashion brands, which have allowed us to showcase our pieces to potential buyers. I think the only area for improvement would be making information about such schemes more readily available. I had to do a lot of research to find any information.
If you could give one piece of advice to small business owners, what would it be?
My number one piece of advice would be to develop multiple revenue streams through a mix of different products and services.
What’s next for your business?
We’re moving more into the manufacturing space and have been focused on producing tailored uniforms for some really great brands. My long term strategy will be focused around re-investing in marketing and product placements to win new contracts in that space.
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