Make a Success of your Start-Up: Interview with bespoke tailor, Pip Howeson


If 2014 is the year you’ve set yourself to finally launch your dream business then this interview is for you. If not, then I’m sure you will find it inspiring anyway.

I first met Pip Howeson back in 2009 when she was the Marketing Manager to a top Fashion Designer. It was evident back then that she wanted more from her career. Since then, she has worked hard to launch her very own bespoke tailoring company, Pip Howeson, and is going from strength to strength with people such as Stephen Fry opting for her coats.

I talked to Pip about her incredible and ongoing success, and asked her what helped her along the way.

Interview with Pip Howeson

What has been your career path up till now?

I always knew I wanted to design coats and doodled them from a young age. It took a few forks in the road and some dead ends, but I got there. The benefit of the twists and turns is that I have learnt a lot along the way, made friends and essential contacts, and picked up some tips on how to do and not to do things.

Did you always want to have your own business?

Yes, definitely. I come from a line of people who hate working for other people!

What helped you take the leap and leave employment for self-employment?

Great support; I did a course called 'The School for Creative Start Ups' that made the whole thing seem far more real, and I had the support of a team of other young entrepreneurs. I also got a small loan and wrote a solid business plan.

What advice would you give to those in their 20s/30s who want to set up their own business?

  1. Go on a course and get some knowledge of the basics i.e. profit and loss, marketing etc.
  2. Write a business plan then be prepared to change it.
  3. Know your competition.
  4. Keep hold of your own point of view.

Were there people who discouraged you along the way? If so, how did you learn not to listen to the doubters?

Yes, there were. I think once you have done the research, you know better than anyone else if it has a chance. Surround yourself with positive people!

How does life compare now to what you were doing before?

I used to work pretty hard but that’s nothing compared to now. I work every minute of the day; if it’s not physically working, it’s thinking about fabric, photo shoots, the website, a particular piece etc. It’s great! It’s my business after all.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in setting up your own business and how did you overcome that challenge?

Money. I needed some capital to excel the business. I got a start-up loan, and also got some investors onboard. Although this was initially nerve-racking, it is the best thing that has happened; not only do I have the support from my investors but also their advice.

What have you learnt along the way?

So so much but I think the most important thing is to just do it and enjoy it!

Thank you for your words of wisdom, Pip. All the best for 2014.

Alice Stapleton

About Alice

Alice coaches those who want to change career but don’t know what they want to do instead. She offers Career Coaching designed to help graduates, early to mid-level career-changers, and parents returning to work gain a clear vision of what career is right for them, and how to achieve it. She is also an accredited Coach Supervisor, and host of The Career Change Diaries podcast.