On the up · 14 November 2016

Style PB founder Natalie Dale: “Stop dreaming and start doing”

natalie-dale
Natalie Dale: “Starting a business feels like a rollercoaster ride everyday”

After taking up running in earnest several years ago, entrepreneur Natalie Dale struggled to find good quality sportswear that was durable, affordable and stylish.

The keen sportswoman set up online platform Style PB in 2014, as a way for women to shop for activewear without having to compromise on style.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

I’m Natalie Dale and I’m the founder of Style PB. I’m a qualified yoga teacher who spends her life running and cycling around London in leggings, and who decided to turn her love for sportswear into a business.

Style PB is a leading online store for women’s stylish sportswear brands from around the world.

(2) How long have you been around for?

Style PB turned two years-old in September this year, I can’t quite believe where the time has gone.

(3) How do you make money?

By selling very stylish leggings! I am an online retailer so I buy in selected stock from designer brands and then sell this on to my customers via our online store and pop-up shops.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?

Style PB is unique because we are passionate about women and exercise. We focus on buying products that we know our Style PB women will love.

We make sure all our pieces perform for whatever exercise you are practising whilst looking stylish. We also love to champion women in sport and truly believe that exercise can have a positive on women’s lives.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

Getting independent designers to believe in Style PB and trust that I would represent their brand appropriately on my website.

I started approaching the brands from the beginning when all I had to show them was myself and my concept. Luckily they believed in Style PB and now I’m the one being approached by multi-national brands to stock them. 

(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

There have been so many lovely moments I have wanted to celebrate but my best moments are always when I get an email from a customer telling me they love Style PB and then I know I have achieved what I set out to do. Being approached by Under Armour – America’s second largest sportswear company – was also an epic achievement.

(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?

How long have you got? Starting a business from scratch often feels like a rollercoaster ride everyday with numerous ups and downs.

One set back was not being able to stock a brand I loved at the beginning, because the brand’s minimum order was bigger than my whole year’s budget! I’m still working on getting them on board though.

(8) In five years’ time, I will be…

Sat in an amazing office in my sportswear, surrounded by a fantastic team selling some of the best sportswear to the most incredible Style PB customers out there. I also hope to have incorporated a charity element to Style PB by that time as I am hugely passionate about getting more girls in to sport and having better representation and equal wages for women in sport.

(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out? 

To steal a quote from Nike, just do it! You can sit for hours writing a business plan and dreaming but just get out there and start ‘doing’. So many people want to start a business but only a handful do. And when you do, keep going, because it will be really tough but it will be worth it.

(10) Who are your business heroes and why?

Sarah Curran, who started the online store My Wardrobe. I loved that website and spent far too much money on it. I heard her talk at an event, and her advice was to do one thing a day that scares you, it’s a great piece of advice as it encourages you to push yourself. I was also lucky enough to work for Mary Portas as well, who is an incredibly inspirational woman.

Learning to bake at London’s only domestic bread-making school

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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