On the up · 8 August 2018

Rotten Roach founder has Kate Moss and Linsday Lohan wearing her collection

Marissa Montgomery started Rotten Roach as a passion project

In the world of fashion, there’s not much better than Kate Moss organically wearing your line. However, Rotten Roach founder Marissa Montgomery is used to celebs wearing her garms, with the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Rosie Huntington-Whitely copping her clothing.

One of the Forbes 30 under 30, Marissa Montgomery started the cult streetwear label, Rotten Roach, as a passion project but has progressed far enough to be stocked in Selfridges.

As part of our Women in Micro Business series, we caught up with the slogan t-shirt guru herself to find out why helping other female business founders is so important to her.

What challenges can women expect to face in business?

I face challenges every day being a small brand, regardless of my gender, whether it’s meeting the minimum factory order, having the manpower to ship out an entire season to Selfridges or convincing new stores to take a chance on a new brand.

I don’t think a man in the same position would have any different treatment – but being a small brand comes with its difficulties.  

Do you think there are enough women running their own businesses?

I know lots of amazing empowering women who are successfully running their own business but there is always room for more amazing women.  

What do you think are the advantages of having more women in business?

Having more women in business will teach the younger generations of women that there is always a place for them wherever or whenever they choose to pursue their career.

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Have you ever had any discriminative experiences because of being female?

I personally, feel so lucky and blessed to be able to say I haven’t – but I know that many women can’t say the same, so every day I am grateful for living in a time during which women are valued in the workforce just as much as men (for the most part).   

How do you handle knockbacks?

By allowing information to sink in for a few minutes in order to fully process before brainstorming solutions and ways to go forward. I love having a game plan. Focus on the positives and talk it out with people you respect, who can offer constructive advice from an objective standpoint.   

What advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business?

Make sure to respond to every email and always remember to say thank you. When you’re starting out you need as much help, advice and goodwill as possible.   

What can the business community do to help more women entrepreneurs?

I think a mentorship program that encourages women to share stories about their successes and failures would be great because we can all learn from each other and share our best tips. Nothing makes me happier than women supporting other women! 

How do you hope your business to develop in the future?

I want Rotten Roach to go worldwide so that I can reach an even greater customer base and share my passion and designs with anyone who is interested. Seeing my designs on people from all over the world would be an absolute dream. 

Who are your business heroes?

Some of my business heroes include: Nathalie Massanet, Sally Greene, and Gwyneth Paltrow. I love the way they all fearlessly and unapologetically pursue their dreams and don’t let anyone stand in their way.     

What are you reading at the moment?

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers and Another City, Not My Own by Dominick Dunne – I absolutely love having a book with me whilst on the go. That way I can read when on public transport or while waiting for an appointment.   

Which one song is always on your playlist?

I have Tom Petty, Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac songs constantly on shuffle.   

Where was your last holiday?

My last holiday was on the Greek island of Paros with my best friend. It was so beautiful and much needed relaxation after long weeks of working.   

When are you happiest?

I am happiest when I’m with my family, somewhere warm and beautiful doing something simple like playing cards or taking a leisurely walk. My family are so important to me and I never tire of spending time with them. 


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Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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