Jacynth Bassett, Founder & CEO of The Bias Cut, not only launched and runs the successful online boutique, but she is also considered a leading pioneer of style at every age; regularly writing, speaking and commenting on ageism. She has a timeless voice in fashion and age-inclusivity throughout all her work. Named by Global Health Ageing as an ‘Ageism-Fighting Trailblazer’, Jacynth Bassett launched e-commerce platform The Bias Cut in 2016 to create a destination that celebrated and championed women of all ages, with a view to ensure they feel represented and empowered.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
The Bias Cut is the first age-inclusive multi-label premium womenswear online shopping platform, leading the way for social changes and aiming to end ageism in the fashion industry.
Our mission is simple: to empower women of all ages to embrace and invest in the best versions of themselves today. From uniquely curating intergenerational independent designer collections, to using real women models and our tailored shopping filters, to our global award-winning community & campaign Ageism Is Never In Style ®, The Bias Cut unapologetically celebrates all ages, ensuring all women feel seen, confident and valued at last whatever their age.
Prior to starting The Bias Cut, I studied Law at the University of Cambridge. However, whilst studying I became increasingly aware of how women, like my mum, become alienated by fashion (and society) as they aged. I identified the gap and need to disrupt the Fashion industry’s perception of age by creating the first truly age inclusive online shopping platform that empowers women to embrace the best versions of themselves today. And with that, the idea for The Bias Cut was born.
So, on graduating, I pivoted away from law, and independently launched The Bias 2016 with just my minimal savings, and the aim to pioneer age inclusivity in fashion, and address the gendered-ageism that females face throughout their entire life, from youth to older age.
How did you achieve awareness?
As I had no prior experience in the fashion industry, no contacts, and no marketing budget, I had to think laterally on how to build awareness.
Building on my existing contacts and networking was key. I started with hosting pop up events and talks in city firms to build awareness and reached out to complimentary non-competitive brands such as beauty for collaborations. And I networked relentlessly – both in the industry, with bloggers, influencers and online communities, who were very welcoming and supportive of what I was doing.
Through this approach we were gradually able to build awareness and build our own following and community.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
Whilst I’ve always had big ambitions, it’s equally been very important to me to ensure funding and growth comes at the right time, so that we can continue to uphold and strengthen our business proposition and our core values.
With this in mind, we grew organically until the time was right. Last year we did small raise through our networks, and following its success we are focusing on a bigger raise through crowdfunding so that we can harness our achievements and become a truly community driven brand.
What are the key successes?
Given our grass roots, there have been many pivotal points and milestones throughout our journey; from working with industry heavy weights, to celebrity fans, to launching my own label, to receiving over 3.5m views of our Ageism Is Never In Style ® social media campaign ‘They say, We Say’.
Right now, we are particularly proud of having been awarded Highly Commended at the Drapers Fashion Awards for Diversity & Inclusion for our trailblazing work fighting ageism and pioneering age-inclusivity in fashion – especially when we were up against some of the UK’s biggest retail brands.
But ultimately, we measure our success on the happiness and growth of our customers and followers; to have thousands of customers across 25 countries is monumental to us, and every time we empower a woman to feel valued and beautiful through style is a success.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Certainly starting with just minimal savings, no contacts or experience in fashion was a challenge! But this, coupled with the fact we have been pioneers of anti-ageism / age-inclusivity in fashion has meant we have faced an uphill battle from the start.
Ageism is a topical issue now, but when I started the business, it was barely acknowledged. Brands didn’t want to be associated with us, the media weren’t interested, and no one wanted to talk openly about age. But we persevered, stayed true to our values, and remained committed to our mission. And, whilst there is still a long way to go, we are definitely seeing a shift, and to be at forefront of that is very exciting.
What are your plans now/for the future?
Right now, we are working on building on our successes and how we can continue our growth trajectory – whilst still conscious of the micro and macro economic uncertainty and difficulties.
Last month we re-launched my eponymous label Jacynth London – we started with a small capsule collection, and we are now working on plans to develop it into a full line.
We’ve also just launched our new season, so we’re excited to continue to unveil what we consider to be our best Spring/Summer collection yet. We’re currently working on some very exciting projects through our Ageism Is Never In Style ® campaign, including one with a charity which we can’t wait to unveil in the not so distant future!
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
There is no one ‘right way’ to be a successful entrepreneur. It can be very intimidating reading stories about people’s overnight successes, how they achieved X at a very young age, how they raised millions straight away, or how they wake up at 4am in the morning every day etc. That might be their journey and their experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to be successful – you have understand their experiences in context, plus there was probably a lot more challenges and hard grind behind the scenes!
Sure, be inspired by those stories, but don’t measure yourself against them. Set your own standards and path.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
For me, the two key ingredients for entrepreneurial success are standing by a strong set of values and having resilience. When times are tough, these are the two things that can ground and stabilise you and when times are good, they will spark growth, creativity and ingenuity.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
My mum – aside from being the inspiration behind my business, she has always been there for me in every way, whilst also balancing a highly successful career.
My grandma – her family was everything to her, but she also didn’t suffer fools gladly. She was described as ‘formidable’ in the best of ways.
Caryn Franklin MBE – as a commentator, activist and academic in fashion, Caryn spoke up against serious issues including sexual harassment and lack of diversity in the industry way before it was topical. Holding onto her mantra of ‘the power of one’ she preserved, continued to speak out, and continues to have a substantially positive impact on the industry.
Natalie Massenet – as the founder of Net A Porter, she revolutionised the fashion industry.
Josephine Baker – no explanation needed!!
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel
“Whilst everyone was looking for the rainbow, you danced in the rain” – I read it on a memorial bench in a park years ago, and it has always stayed with me.
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
The Successful Founder Magazine is the go to feature-rich magazine for founders on all stages of their entrepreneurship journey .