engage magazine issue 003 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'07 - Page 68

68 INTERVIEW New Start–up New Start–up Pamela Joseph is the owner/designer of Pamela Joseph Ltd, a lingerie collection for ladies ranging from 30F to 38M bra size which she established in September 2003. So, Pamela, what inspired you to set up your business? How did it all begin? I was always complaining to my partner about the range of lingerie on the market for women like myself (women with a larger bust). I found that I was faced with a limited range of bras which were the same fabric but different colours – and were so expensive. I complained so much that one day my partner suggested I start my own label. I thought about it and thought I’d give it go and began researching this line of business. I first started to go down the path of making made to measure bras for customens, but realised that my market would be limited because bra-fitting should be carried out at least three times during the bra-making process. I was then advised to go to the Lingerie Exhibition in Paris which takes place in January. This was an eye-opener and I found out that out of the 300+ exhibitors that had stands at the event, there were less than a handful that I would be competing with. From this point I found a manufacturer and a plethora of fabrics that I could use for my range.I already had a pattern designer who converted my ideas into real patterns. I did try to keep my manufacturing in the UK but it wasn’t cost-effective even though the quality was to the highest standard. So all that was left was to get samples made and get the orders rolling in! So what would you say were the main challenges or obstacles that you faced in the early stages of setting up the business? Getting people in the lingerie business to speak to me! It appears to be a very hard field to get into and because of this many people keep their knowledge very close to their chest – excuse the pun. My advice to anyone trying to enter this field – or generally really - would be to change your approach when seeking information. If you are a supplier of a product, go and see one of your competitors and pretend to be interested in buying their products! Learn from them what you need to know. Also, although not necessarily an obstacle, because my current line of work and career background were not in the fashion industry I have really had to learn everything from personal experience. engage talks to her about her business, any challenges she faced in the start-up phase and asks her what advice she would give to others who are thinking of going into business or are in the early stages of setting up on their own. engage | uk ISSUE THREE 2007