5 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Victoria Windle and Emily Hutchison founded Kit Change to develop sustainable, inclusive activewear. Both previously worked in high street fashion but decided to start a business that reflected their values and would offer a more earth-friendly product in a sector that is traditionally very damaging to the earth due to the prevalence of man-made fabrics used. They also wanted to take back control of their working lives, after working for others for so long.
Vicky says “Emily worked at New Look after graduating from Manchester University. She then moved to Top Shop HQ as a buyer, before moving back to Derbyshire to support a family design and import business. I also graduated from Manchester with a degree in Textile Design and moved to Hong Kong to work after graduating. I went on to work in London for a fashion design software company before moving back to Hong Kong as a high street supplier Design Director for 11 years.” Emily adds, “We met after arriving in the same village, and quickly realised we had a lot in common – the business idea grew from there. It took 2 years of planning and product development, as well as a pandemic to put a spanner in the works in terms of the launch date, but with a strong partnership, and trust in each others’ knowledge and commitment, we launched in November 2020.”
After only 3 months of trading, Kit Change has been much more successful than imagined- featured already in The Daily Mail, BBCRadio6Music with Lauren Laverne, BBC Radio Derby, and various local and regional press. The goal is to develop a business both women can be truly proud of, that makes sustainable clothing for all bodies the norm, that creates a balanced and flexible working space for others, and eventually brings back some textile production to the UK.
What would you love to share with other women to encourage them to start their own business?
We started the business to take back control, to have the freedom to manage what our working lives would look like. If you are thinking about doing this, trust your knowledge, your contacts, your experience. Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen – don’t regret not trying, because it really won’t be the end of the world if it doesn’t work out. Keep talking to your friends and family about your ideas, team up with a trusted friend and maybe form a partnership – you will each bring something different to the business and it will only be positive. This all worked for us, and there is nothing to lose if you don’t try. We have both managed to fit this in alongside family commitments and children – they are not mutually exclusive! Don’t regret wasted opportunities, and realise that only you are in control of how your life turns out, too many women are fearful of putting themselves out there – but it can be done quietly and slowly if necessary. There is no shame in a business that isn’t making you a millionaire in a year if it does exactly what you wanted it to! Don’t wait for someone else to do it and then regret it from afar – be that person. If it makes you happier, in control of the hours you spend with your loved ones, or the amount of money you can spend on holidays……whatever it is, you are just as valid in making the leap as the next person.
What are your top 5 tips for entrepreneurial success?
Write down who and what you know, it’s amazing to see how much that actually is once in black and white.
Acknowledge your personal strengths and weaknesses, and adapt tasks you can cope with accordingly.
Use other people for their strengths if they are different to yours e.g. digital and social media or accounting – you cannot do everything well! We use other women who own businesses for such tasks. Supporting other female-led businesses is important to us.
Know your products /services inside out, including any bad points. You will not be blindsided if you really understand the positives and possible negatives of your business to an outsider.
Set aside time for specific tasks each week, regardless of whether this is something you like doing, or are even good at!
Who are the top 5 women who inspire you the most?
What is your favourite saying/Inspirational quote?
“Coach once told me that I ran like a girl, and I said that if he ran a little faster, he could too.” (unknown via The Female Lead)