Getting to know you: Alice Hall, founder, Pink Boutique

What do you currently do? 

I’m founder and Creative Director of Pink Boutique, an online ladies fashion brand. We sell around 2000 items of glamorous, fast fashion each day.

What was the inspiration behind your business? 

I’m the classic ‘accidental entrepreneur’. I was really struggling to pay my bills and decided to buy a pack of dresses to sell online. When they sold, I bought two packs, and when they sold, I bought four. I kept doubling up and the rest is history!

Who do you admire? 

Of course, I admire big, successful entrepreneurs, but what inspires me most are the smaller start-ups who really know their brand. The girl next door who starts doing hair tutorials in her bedroom and amasses millions of followers – and suddenly is running her own business, being sponsored for what she does. These businesses keep their brand, buying and creative so tight, and that’s a tricky mission.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently? 

I wish I had known that it wasn’t the end of the world when little things went wrong. When you first start up in business, the postman not turning up to collect the parcels or the website going down for a little while feels like your world is going to end. I spent a lot of time trying to get past obstacles and, of course, that’s how you learn in business and it’s very important. But I took those obstacles very seriously and looking back, they weren’t important. I focus now on utilising my energy in positive ways and trying not to focus on barriers too much, as it’s not productive.

I also would have delegated different tasks much earlier. I’m sure lots of entrepreneurs can empathise with this one. Hanging onto certain tasks can be a hindrance.

What defines your way of doing business? 

Getting things done; pushing change through quickly to respond to a challenge or an opportunity. It’s a very fast-paced environment but that helps us stay energised and dynamic. I love change. Working to brief is a pre-requisite of working at Pink Boutique and I believe that if you can do that well, you’ll go very far in your career, especially in the creative industries. Understanding a brand and working to it is a fine art.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out? 

– Be determined and resourceful with your own time and skills. Use every minute, every hour that you can get to work on your business. If you don’t know how to do something; Google it, learn it, don’t use that as an excuse.

– From experience, the biggest barriers for start-ups are access to finance and time/work/family constraints. If you can do a test run in your business sector before you raise finance, you can be pretty sure you want to do it, and there’s a market. Lots of people have brilliant ideas but the market is capped for that niche. Think early on about how your business will be scaleable; as you may as well be mentally prepared if you get crazy growth like I did.