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10 Questions with Louisa Rogers

Enrolling onto PNE Enterprise's 'Start Your Own Business Course' in 2015, Newcastle university student Louisa Rogers was determined to learn more about the world of business. After completing the course in 2016, she took the leap into self-employment and launched her own business: online vintage platform Trendlistr.

Based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne but with a global reach, Louisa's business model is based on offering a sustainable and long-lasting approach to clothing and encouraging others to reevalute the concept of 'fast fashion'. Her business has been featured as one of Bdaily's and WIRED Magazine's emerging North East start-ups to know, and in 2018, Louisa was shortlisted for the Federal of Small Business Young Entrepreneur of the Year (North East).

In this interview, we asked Louisa about Trendlistr, the inspiration behind her business, and what's next for the online vintage platform.

1. How would you sum up your business?
Trendlistr is an online destination for trend-led vintage fashion and we also create capsule collections and luxury upcycled one-of-a-kind garments inspired by the best prints and cuts of the 20th century. 
2. How did you come up with your business idea?
I started selling vintage clothing when I was at Universtiy and noticed that it was quite a niche market. I was lucky in that doing this coincided with the increasing popularity of street style and 'mixing and matching' different styles, cuts and eras. Trendlistr's aim is to democratise vintage and reimagine it for the digital generation. 
3. What challenges did you face when setting up your business?
It's always difficult when you choose to grow organically. Everything needs to be bootstrapped, and in fashion everything is about the brand which can be difficult to bolster without a healthy budget behind it. You have to be creative about how produce and present the items to make them appealing to people! 
4. What support did you receive in the start-up stage?
I went to a couple of workshops organised by PNE when I was first 'powering up!' - the first one was about finances and bookkeeping (which I desperately needed!) and the second was a longer term course about how to set out and plan your business from all angles (from brainstorming to sales projections!)
5. How do you differentiate your business from others?
Trendlistr has a different approach to vintage - in that we contextualise it for 2018. We try and keep our collections relevant to the trends on the catwalk at the moment and we encourage people to experiment with integrating vintage into their wardrobes (rather than just imitate head to toe 'era' looks). 
6. Which other entrepreneur(s) inspires you and why?
It might be a bit of a cringe-inducing example but I really admire Bethenny Frankel, who worked hard as a personal chef, founded a brand, stuck to her guns and ended up selling to a company that had initially not wanted to invest in her vision. 
7. What has been your biggest business achievement so far?
I have to say that being listed as one of the startups to watch in the North East in Wired Magazine was a highlight of mine! I'm also in the process of moving to a larger, upgraded studio which has really reinvigorated me to keep progressing! 
8. Trendlistr was listed as one of Bdaily's Five Emerging North East Start-ups to Watch. What's next for your business?
We will be opening up a quirky showroom in central Newcastle soon - it will be nice to have a physical presence where customers can come and try on pieces, be styled, be inspired etc. I also have a capsule collection of lingerie which we produced in collaboration with Effie Butterworth Lingerie based in York which repurposes luxury vintage silks.
9. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don't pay attention to what others are doing - very rarely are two businesses that similar that you should be going down the same path as your peers. Follow your gut instinct and know that there is no problem with taking things slowly. It's taken me a solid year to build my confidence in terms of the day-to-day running of Trendlistr and I'm still learning. For the year ahead, I'm looking forward to experimenting!
10. Finally, what colour socks are you wearing? 
I'm wearing bright red woolly socks at the moment... because it's snowing outside if you can believe that!
Keep up to date with Louisa and Trendlistr by following her on Twitter or Instagram


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