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Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Alison Lowe MBE

Alison Lowe MBE has been recognised as one of the leading supporters of new generation talent in the creative industries. She is a dynamic and results-oriented entrepreneur and educator, renowned for her practical, realistic approach to running a creative business having foundered several of her own businesses. Awarded an MBE for Services to the Fashion Industry in HRH The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2017, Alison was also nominated and awarded as one of the Maserati 100 for 2016 for the support she gives the next generation of creative entrepreneurs. Moving away from her own businesses following a period of succession planning, Alison is now focused on education and career building for next generation of creatives and entrepreneurs and has joined the University of East London where she has developed a new MBA Fashion Entrepreneurship programme. Her published works include the Amazon No.1 bestseller, How to Start Your Own Fashion Label and the academic textbook “Fashion Brand Management’.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

I come from an entrepreneurial background and had created several different businesses from a recruitment agency, bookshop, and logistics business before founding my passion business Felicities, an incubator agency for creative businesses in 2003. Felicities supports start up and small enterprises to grow their business with clear brand and marketing strategies and messaging. We can help a brand navigate URL to IRL, through the development of curated content and tangible experiences, which help them to interact and build long-lasting, memorable and emotional connections with their consumers. I am lucky to have a passionate team of creative thinkers, marketing strategists, producers and experts, with years of experience in helping brands connect with their audiences and we are renowned for our no-nonsense approach of honest, practical advice

How did the idea come to you for the company?

I had been working on a consultancy project with some emerging creative businesses and identified that though they were all incredibly talented in their creative areas, such as fashion, design, photography and art, they lacked business knowledge, market understanding and the ability to run the business side of their brands. I did some research into the support available to them and spotted a gap in the market, which led me to open the Felicities agency.

How did you achieve awareness?

I am a great believable in research – too many people start a business with an assumption that they are unique in what they are delivering. I did 18 months research into the market before starting the agency, including visiting brands, potential competitors and running focus groups to see if there really was a need.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

I bootstrapped the business, which is how I have approached starting all my businesses. For the agency this is a simple approach as there isn’t a need for a large amount of upfront capital to purchase goods or machinery etc. Instead I grew the business steadily over the past 20 years, starting from home, then taking on offices , showroom and staff as we grew.

What are the key successes?

I think for Felicities our key success is having a great reputation for delivering exactly what we promised. We have also had great successes through seeing the businesses and brands we work with thrive and grow in often difficult market places.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

As with every business there have been huge changes over the past 20 years, from the rise of new technologies, social media, and the need to adapt to changing economical and environmental challenges and we have survived these by being future facing and being flexible and ready to pivot to meet any changes in the market.

What are your plans now/for the future?

The agency will continue to be run by my daughters whilst I now focus on supporting and advising next generation talent through education and growing new creative industry programmes with University of East London.

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

My biggest piece of advice would be to go for it and don’t be afraid to start,  but find your supporters, mentors and allies that will help you, as no one should try and do it totally on their own.

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

The biggest tip I can give, is know your customer and your market and don’t make presumptions. If you don’t have detailed knowledge on your customer, where they are, what they want and what they need, then you won’t make sales. And without sales you don’t have a business, just a very expensive hobby.

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?

My father was my greatest inspiration, as he was the first person in the family to start a business. I admire the many young creatives I have been lucky to support and watch them live their dream. I also greatly admire Simon Sinek for his direct and inspirational approach to leadership, Bethenny Frankel for her outspoken and driven approach to business and Javier Goyeneche who founded the inspirational purpose driven fashion brand Ecoalf for creating a truly sustaoinable and ethical fashion brand.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” – Chris Grosser

What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?  

Instagram – @alisonlowembe

Facebook –  Alison Lowe MBE,

LinkedIn. – Alison Lowe MBE

Website – www.felicities.co.uk