Sara Simmonds is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder of Bespoke Your World - an Instagram luxury shopping platform where worldwide designers and their exclusive collections meet the world's most sophisticated shoppers. Sara's success within the luxury retail industry comes after many years of experience as a buyer for several international retailers, hard earned skills, and acquired taste. She won Grazia's O2 Fashion Entrepreneurship award for her work in the fair trade and luxury retail industry.
What is the concept behind Bespoke Your World?
Bespoke Your World is an Instagram luxury shopping network that targets and also creates the world's most influential luxury shoppers who can purchase unique collections from all over the world. Our clients buy and experience the clothes, shoes, and accessories through Instagram and also by attending private events. Bespoke Your World is also a brand that prides itself on supporting designers and providing them with all the necessary tools to grow their business and reach a wider luxury audience.
As a professional, I am the number one in the field of product development and luxury buying. Through my company, I've created a place where three of my all time passions meet and combine in such a way that it provides people with the full luxury shopping experience consultancy services. Those three passions are the unique brands that I curate from every corner of the world, the consumers who constantly search for something different that will last them a lifetime and became clients of BYW and also the ability to apply my product development expertise and work towards creating a revolution of taste and awareness.
When did you start the business?
I've been working on it for a while but I officially launched Bespoke Your World in April 2016 and we have over 23.000 Instagram followers already and many clients that love the product.
What prompted you to start the business and how did you come up with the idea?
Before Bespoke Your World I had the first fair trade luxury brand called Sharkah Chakra through which I gained a lot of insight into how the industry works but I have also been a luxury buyer for over 17 years. I realised that nowadays shoppers have it all yet there is a gap in the market and I've created y own niche. There are plenty of shops and ways to buy clothing, from something quite cheap to really high end, expensive stuff. There is some sort of saturation of the same product over and over again. In my opinion, is about how we can deliver excitement and something fresh that our clients will appreciate. We are all more and more aware of our own individual self and the things that set us apart and make us unique. I wanted to do that through clothing as no one wants to look the same in a world that is filled with much of the same product, hence BYW.
How do you curate the pieces you decide to sell?
Being a buyer by nature, I've learnt how to look at customer profiles. When we were testing, we created many of these profiles and until we found the right one that works hand in hand with our concept. What I discovered is that the pieces most sought were the ones which offer something different than what is already out there. On top of that, these pieces have to timeless, something that will not go out of style once the trends change, it will be something that you can keep forever.
What does it take curate this pieces: skill, taste or experience?
I always say to my team than when I was younger I just started working as a buyer, I did not have the skill nor did I have much of the experience. That comes with time if you keep an open attitude. But the taste is everything, however, without the right skills or experience it won't mean much. So it's definitely all of them.
Did you face and challenges and how did you overcome these?
Every day is a challenge in one way or another but the mindset of an entrepreneur is to never give up and keep going. Like everyone, I had to overcome my limiting beliefs in terms of what I can achieve and own my vulnerabilities. I am part of the Entrepreneurs Organisation and that's been very inspiring because everyone there is motivation and we support each other. I also meditate every day, take longs walks with my dog and try to live in the moment.
Who are your mentors, the people who you look up to?
One would be my father. The other who has been a dear friend and a mentor over my career is Robert Bensoussan, Jimmy Choos' ex-CEO. He's taught me a lot and mentored me big time.
In your opinion, how important is networking when starting a business?
Super important! It's the key to success as you need to find like-minded people who can inspire you and share their experience with you. We are in a collaborative culture this day so it's all about that. Personally, I would even call it connecting. You can start a relationship online with someone and by taking it in real life it can bring you more business, growth, and success. You never know.
What advice do you have for people who are interested in starting a business via Instagram?
Remember that it's all about amazing, fun, bright content. The biggest advice I'd like to pass on is that I believe we are at crossroads and there are so many people out there doing it for but there is something missing - build a genuine connection with others, look real, talk real, stay true to yourself and people will reciprocate.
If you want to get in touch with Sara, click here to email her
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