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Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Tanya Patel

Tanya Patel is the visionary founder and CEO founder of fashion brand Chapter.London, a London fashion brand that makes stylish yet sustainable fashion.

After working in the corporate sector for M&S and Arcadia group, Tanya first founded Lily and Ribbon (a maternity brand) and then went on to develop fashion brand Chapter.London. Chapter.London’s clothes are all made in the UK with sustainable practices and the brand now offers a return and repair scheme. After just one year, the brand is stocked in Wolf and Badger, Silkfred and Debenhams.

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

I fell in love with clothing in my early childhood. I was eight years old when I went on a holiday to India with my mum. Back then my teacher had given me a project: to create a design inspired by this trip. So, I remember walking the streets of India and making prints on t-shirt. I was curious about the psychology of fashion: how clothes make you feel. My family was already in the textile industry. My uncle used to do the manufacturing for some big retailers in the UK and I was a lucky ten-year-old girl who was able to visit him and see what a garment factory looks like from the inside. Later in life I found myself in an interesting situation: academia was calling me, so I applied to study.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

I had completed my degree in business and had been working at M&S for 14 years with my former role being an international team. I felt that something was missing and I wanted to have a purpose of having my own business.

I started a maternity brand and still felt that I could stretch and learn from all the lessons from my maternity brand. I was able to start chapter.london almost putting myself in the customer’s shoes again from another angle.

How did you achieve awareness?

Email marketing and PR has really helped us with this, as well as working with influencers to grow on instagram.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

We are currently working on our funding strategy – watch this space.

What are the key successes?

We are a high growth business stocked in some of my favourite retailers i could only dream of! Wolf and Badger, Joules, Silkfred, Debenhams and some more in the coming months.

To be featured in Drapers Magazine as to ones to watch this year.

How we as a team are reviewing fashion and clothing from a different angle and how sustainability and the future of clothing is always at the forefront of what we do-such as launching our new return and repair scheme which will allow our customers to send back garments to us for a repair.

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

Starting a business during an unstable international and financial  time but as a team if we can get through this it gives us a great foundation to grow.

What are your plans now/for the future?

New collection  with further focus on sustainability, reviewing our international strategy as we have had some exciting retailers approach us to partner with and design to make women feel amazing.

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

I would share 3 things:

We have one life- if this is the journey you would like to take, take the first step.

If it was easy everyone would be doing it but always ask for help and fail fast if something doesn’t work but try a few different ways to make it work.

Surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

Strong self belief – there will be many no’s on the way but that one yes could change your life.

Have a plan but also pivot – always know the direction you want to go in but like life there will be some bumpy sides. Review, deep breath and pivot if required.

Take Risk – Take risk with the analysis at hand – it may not always work out but you’ll learn and then you can get back up and review/ try again

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

Pinky Lilani – Chairwomen of women of the future – always inspires me with her stories of inspiration and life experience

Indra Nooni and Leena Nair  – Women who i aspire to and who are the CEO’s to PepsiCo and Chanel.

Sara Blakley –  Founder of Spanx – her story is phenomenal of how she got her products in some of the most sought after  department stores in the world

Richard Branson – agility in different industries and facing learning difficulties at school but still rising above this with grit and determination.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

‘Still I rise’

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