Sinclair London is a luxury womenswear brand that aims to bring Savile Row to the modern professional women’s wardrobe. Alicya Sinclair founded the brand in 2013 having worked on Savile Row before and seen for herself the lack of options available to women.
With the firm belief that the market was there, Sinclair took the plunge – and her hunch has stood the test of time. The brand is now in four stores and her team has expanded to seven employees.
Sinclair is passionate about UK garment manufacturing, but setting up the business has not been without its struggles, and developing a business strategy to go up against a range of competitors in the industry has been a challenge. Here, Sinclair tells us how she has overcome these challenges, as part of our Problem Solvers series.
What does a typical client look like?
Our typical consumer is the modern day professional woman, who is very career driven. They are thriving as executives, managers and have a clear career goal of where they want to get to, who they want to be and off the back of that they want to make sure their image matches their ambition.
What challenges have you faced since starting the business?
Developing a product based brand is very capital intensive so in the beginning raising capital was challenging. As a product-based business investors tend to shy away, as there is no guaranteed return on investment. Especially in fashion developing a product takes times to get right and then when you do take it to market there is always elements that can be improved.
Another challenge was finding the right individuals with the right skills and understanding to join your team. Your team is everything, and you have to have the right people on board that understand the vision and also understand the industry.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I would say developing and implementing a new business strategy. We have had some recent development here at Sinclair and implementing it has taken some time. They are changes with huge results, and you have to be careful to balance the effort of that future thinking with not taking your eyes of the day-to-day.
At this stage, we need to bring in an additional person to handle some of the changes, but budgets are tight. Individuals who have an entrepreneurial mind-set, are proactive and are forward thinkers with an understanding of the industry and manufacturing are very rare to find.
How have you overcome this challenge?
We have been utilising our contacts and business relationships. I have found that the more we share with people about what we are looking to do, our connections often know someone who can point us in the right direction.
And I think, simply, perseverance is the aim of the game. Things don’t happen overnight so for us and the team I have to make sure they are kept motivated and inspired in order to see results.
How has KPMG Small Business Accounting helped you get to where you are today?
You can tell that KPMG genuinely care about the future of small to medium-sized businesses and are probably one of the few who are actively working towards a better economy.
The knowledge, and the software the team have provided have really helped to manage our cash flow – which has had an impact to our bottom line overall.
The wider support I receive from such a large organisation has been substantial. They provide an extensive knowledge centre through their guides and materials that they send to clients.
The events they run have not only helped me network and exchange ideas with other businesses, but have allowed me to build contacts and find potential new clients.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Business development! I do a lot of research and development, finding out what other companies are doing and keeping up to date of what is going on in the industry.
EY, McKinsey and KPMG tend to publish reports of the future of manufacturing, fashion, and the economy and it’s really important to be aware of what’s going on. But I like finding out what other companies are doing and why.
What advice would you give to any other businesses?
Develop your multiple streams of income into the business. We all have seasons in business when it’s really busy and then sometimes quiet. Developing services that contribute all year round mean that, no matter the season, cash keeps coming in.
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