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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Tiffany London

A recent winner of her second Queen’s Award, Tiffany London from Tiffany Rose Maternity is our Wonder Woman this Wednesday for her phenomenal achievements within our industry.

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Our Wonder Woman Wednesday - Tiffany London
Our Wonder Woman Wednesday - Tiffany London

Tell me about your background.

Having grown up in the beautiful city of Bath, I took off to Paris when I was 19 years old on a rather nerve-racking adventure. With very little cash and equally as little French under my belt, I worked as a nanny, bar tender and English tutor to make ends meet and soak up a little of Parisian life. From that point I knew I wasn’t going to follow conventional further education and was prepared to work hard and try different things.

A year later I was in London where I enjoyed the diversity of many different careers including PR, marketing, event management and personal assistant roles for owners and MD’s of small family businesses as well as blue-chip investment banks.

This journey gave me an incredible understanding of how businesses operate on all levels, but it was probably my time working with renowned interior designer, Nina Campbell, that influenced my huge love for fabrics and textile design, which helped lead me (many years later) into fashion.

Read more: See the talented bridal designer Charlie Brear’s Wonder Woman Wednesday profile here.

How did you get into bridal?

Bridal was a bit of an accident to be honest. I created Tiffany Rose for pregnant mums - so they would feel confident and glamorous in beautiful occasion wear - perfect for parties, weddings or even lunch out with friends.

It wasn’t long before I learned that many of our customers were buying dresses to wear to their own wedding. It was a very exciting discovery as I felt I was on to something - a niche but growing market of women choosing to marry whilst they were expecting. So to test this idea, I launched a very small collection of traditional bridal dresses designed especially for pregnant women, and the rest is history.

We now offer over 60 ready-to-wear maternity bridal styles and also physical boutiques that we supply worldwide.

Read more: Hear why the reputable milliner Alexandra Harper was Bridal Buyer’s Wonder Woman.

What are your secrets to success?

  1. Just keep going

Every business owner will go through tough times - it’s part of the journey. But if you believe in what you’re doing then you just need to slog it out and you will reach the other side. Believe!

  1. Be passionate

With a start-up fund of only £600 on a credit card, I needed to learn new skills and basically run every aspect of the business myself. You can’t put yourself through this kind of hard graft (and give up your social life!) without having incredible passion for what you do.

I was also very lucky to have an awesome boyfriend (now husband) who would give up his hours in the evening to help me build our first website.

  1. When building a new business, start as low risk as possible to get proof of concept.

At the outset I decided not to seek venture capital funding or borrow from the bank. I felt given that I was new to fashion, I needed to grow the business organically with relatively low risk, which would allow me to learn along the way.

This also gave me flexibility to adjust my strategy over time - a great example of this was when I expanded into bridal wear, which I hadn’t previously planned. This approach saves you a heap of potentially wasted money as you learn new things about your business and your customer, so that you can shape and refine it as much as possible before investing further.

Read more: Bridal retailer Joanne Stott’s secrets to success.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

Winning two Queen’s Awards in 5 years is a pretty big achievement! We’re not quite sure how we can top that - but we won’t stop trying.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

There are so many parts: viewing the latest collections of fabrics is always very exciting and discovering a new, perfect print to put into the next range. I love the buzz and excitement on our photoshoot days, where we see the dresses come to life on pregnant models.

We have a fantastic creative team who are abundant with new ideas and I feel so privileged to be part of this. And then there’s also the excitement of discovering which new designs are best-sellers - and reading the incredible reviews from our lovely customers.

How does an employee catch your attention, or impress you?

We’re very lucky to have built up a formidable team at Tiffany Rose and Alie Street over the years. The common theme is commitment, passion, hard work and brilliant communication. They are also all very talented at what they do - and these are qualities I am always looking out for.

Read more: Learn how an employee catches bridal designer and previous Wonder Woman Diana Elizabeth’s attention.

What does your typical working day look like?

Up at 6.30am, feed and water kids, cats and chickens. Jump in the car - school run enroute to the office. My husband, Christian, has worked for Tiffany Rose for the last 8 years, and so we all leave the house together and are in the office for 9am.

Strong black coffee, catch-up meetings with different team members across the day. Drop into the design studio downstairs to chat through latest developments with our amazing pattern cutter and schedule the week’s meetings and fittings.

Check-in on the warehouse who are normally very busy that time of the morning with orders that came in overnight. Next, production meeting to go through stock levels, forecasts and new season planning.

I’ll often then answer some interview questions for our PR manager, maybe have a phonecall with our German PR and Distributor and later that day with our Global Trade Manager.

A lot of my role is management as well as design, which I absolutely love. I feel very happy to have such a driven and motivated team who I can rely on 100%.

Quick salad/rice lunch where I might catch up with Christian whose work is the complete opposite to mine - IT and finance.

Catch up on admin and squeeze in some last minute bits that I have put-off for too long, before then leaving at 3.30pm to collect the kids from school.

Years ago I would be so swamped with work I would carry on working all evening once the kids were home and tucked up - but now I am able to enjoy relaxing with Christian - watch a move, sit in the garden or meet up with a friend.

Read more: Check out our Wonder Woman profile of bridal designer Jacqui James to find out how she spends her working day.

5 Interesting Facts about Tiffany:

  1. I didn’t go to university and have no formal training in fashion. I am a grafter and have heaps of energy and passion.
  2. I am a patron of JDRF which raises money to find a cure and better treatments for Type 1 Diabetes.
  3. I was desperate to be a nurse when I left school and was offered a place at one of London’s best NHS hospitals. I was later turned down due to failing my health medical: I was suffering from some eczema on my hands at the time and was told no hospital would employ me.
  4. When I get the time I love to play the piano and compose random pieces. My inspiration is Michael Nyman’s soundtrack from ‘The Piano’.
  5. I’d love to run the marathon but I hate running and can’t seem to even consider training for it right now - but it’s on my bucket list. Maybe next year…

If you enjoyed reading about Tiffany’s entrepreneurial initiative when setting up her own business, you’ll love hearing about our previous Wonder Woman Nova Reid, who is working to increase diversity within our industry.

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