"We soon realised after a couple of months that we would have to quit the 9 to 5 to concentrate on getting the business off the ground"
-Hannah Calder-Bundy, Founder of Bundy & Webster
Can you give us a brief overview of what Bundy & Webster is?
Bundy & Webster is a women’s casualwear brand – all about those pieces that can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on what you have to do that day. We want to create beautifully made clothing that make a statement without being OTT yet still affordable and considered original in design. We use hand-drawn designs to keep us unique, and from concept to manufacturing, every collection is produced ethically here in the UK.
Tell me more about your careers before starting your business?
I (Hannah) did English Lit. at Manchester University and then went straight into a job in consumer PR. Suki’s background is working as a wardrobe/costume assistant on films and also in retail.
What inspired you to start Bundy & Webster?
We put it down to good timing! Suki was in between jobs and I was beginning to look around for something new to do. Suki had always spoken about doing her own thing, and I’d been championing the idea telling her just to go for it – and then one day it kind of clicked that we make a great team and we decided to do it together. We’re both huge fans of dressing-down and wanted to create the pieces that we always had a hard time searching out on the high street. We had a very similar vision in terms of what we were actually wanting to make.
How did you manage building it alongside your full time career?
It was definitely tricky, but we juggled both for a while as we were in planning stages of the business – but we soon realised after a couple of months that we would have to quit the 9 to 5 to concentrate on getting it off the ground. That didn’t mean we stopped with the second jobs though. Both of us took on shift work, which meant we could focus on B&W pretty much full time, which proved absolutely crucial to getting the business started.
What’s been the biggest highlight?
Our most recent Autumn/Winter collection was a huge highlight for us. It was our first solely womenswear range which is something we were developing for a while and we are so, so proud of it. The biggest ‘scream’ moment was probably when Ellie Goulding and Kylie Jenner wore our t-shirts – it’s amazing to see our clothes on celebs!
What’s been the biggest challenge?
I think the biggest challenge has been not having any previous fashion design experience! When we’re designing and coming up with ideas, it’s all in our heads and it’s not like we can quickly put pen to paper and see what’s working and what’s not (our drawing skills leave little to be desired!) Luckily we commission an incredible artist called Olivia Whitworth to bring our ideas to life for us, and she always gets exactly what we’re trying to do no matter how mad it might seem!
You’ve received some fantastic press and been featured in the likes of Closer and Look Magazine. What’s your secret?
We recently hired an amazing PR duo, who are helping us make waves in the press. The PR side of the business is a full time job, so it’s a really nice feeling to know that that’s being looked after by some fantastically capable ladies!
What advice would you give to other women who dream of starting their own business?
To go for it and make that dream a reality. Life really is too short to not do what you want to be doing, and we are so grateful every day to be doing something we love that we’ve built up from scratch ourselves. If it’s something that you’re passionate about then ensure you keep persevering until you get exactly where you want to be! We’re still very far from where we want to end up, but determination carries us forward and keeps us going and eventually we know we’ll get there.
What’s next for you?
We’ve got the design process of our Spring/Summer 15 collection well underway at the moment, which is really exciting. We’ve got a press day coming up at the end of November and some great pop-up shop spaces booked for December. We’re looking to begin pitching to some big retailers next year and we’d love to have a presence on the high street by the end of 2015 – that’s the aim anyway!
What’s your favourite quote?
‘There are no shortcuts to any places worth going’
A very inspirational woman told us this, and it’s proved so true. Starting the brand has not been an easy ride, but we know that ultimately, where we want to end up will make every challenge and hiccup absolutely worth it.
To discover more, pop on over to the Bundy & Webster website here
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