Shortly after becoming pregnant, Cherie Hodge had the idea for a luxury but affordable women’s activewear label. Not one to let something like a baby get in the way, she set up shop and is now running a successful business. She shares her entrepreneurial journey (and some tips)…
Owning my own fashion brand has been a lifelong dream; I was thinking about it from a very young age. After working full time in various marketing roles around London, I soon realised I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I decided that I wanted to carve my own journey, get creative and do things my way – challenging myself and setting my own goals.
Working out and living a healthy lifestyle has always been something I love to do; not only for the physical benefits but mentally too. Since suffering from depression through my late teens, working out has been a great form of escapism for me – it really helped me find my feet again. I believe being active is a lifestyle and not an end goal.
I came up with the idea for Cherie Bumble Activewear – a UK-based luxury women’s activewear label – shortly after I fell pregnant with my first child (who is now 20-months-old). I didn’t let motherhood stop me from fulfilling my dreams of becoming an entrepreneur; in fact it gave me more of a drive. Becoming a mother is so rewarding, but it can be extremely easy to lose all sense of identity as a person. Fortunately, my company has given me that something that is just for me, with goals to work towards.
If you want to be successful you have to have a burning passion for the business
Dealing with motherhood and leading a business isn’t exactly a breeze so things like having a daily routine are key. I fit my work around my son’s needs and when a routine is in place, we have a cohesive flow in our day-to-day life. It’s about being realistic with yourself and knowing what you can and can’t achieve each day. Time is precious and it needs to be spent wisely, so having a plan and writing down targets to achieve each day/week/month is so beneficial.
I have learnt many important lessons since starting my business that could probably apply to anybody starting a new business. Firstly, take time to do thorough research. The more information you gather together, the better understanding you will have as a whole. Secondly, which ties in with my first point; research deep into existing manufacturers to know exactly how they work and what they expect and will achieve for your brand.
You need to know your competition and the market inside out. Keeping on top of what they are doing will enable you to be clever and current. And always try to be ahead of your plans. Finally, don’t over order on stock for your first collection – find a manufacturer who will be willing to be flexible on minimum quantity orders (MQO).
My advice to budding entrepreneurs is if you want to be successful you have to have a burning passion for the business. You have to wake up each day and believe that what you do isn’t a job, it’s pleasure. You need to realise that starting a business is a journey and a lifestyle – not an end result. The markets are constantly changing and growing, therefore you and your business will be forever changing and growing too.