We caught up with Jessica Thomas, owner of new online fashion boutique Overmybody.com. Read on to find out why the online boutique aims to make Australian and US brands more accessible for UK women. Jessica also gives great tips on starting your own e-commerce brand and who to rely on most for support.
Where did the idea for your brand Overmybody.com come from?
I became frustrated with the Fashion E-commerce offering currently available in the UK. When online shopping I found my options would end up being limited to expensive designer products, or items from Australian or American sites, which would cost an arm and a leg to get to London because of customs and shipping charges, and of course take longer to get here. I knew from speaking to others that I wasn’t the only one frustrated by this.
Tell us a bit about your brand?
OverMyBody.com brings together the cream of Australian and US designers as well as unique Brit brands. We’ve bought together only the most unique and affordable, hard to get, international brands so they can now all be found on one Europe based site. There are just so many amazing and affordable Antipodean and US labels which British women shouldn’t have to miss out on.
What past experience did you use to launch your brand?
My mother had a women’s designer clothing store for 15 years and I used to help out with the buying and scouting for new brands from a young age, so fashion has always been a strong interest. I went on to work as a journalist and then PR – experience which has been invaluable in terms of marketing the site. I also gained experience in web design and build, back at university which has also ended up being really useful.
How did you make the jump from writing about crime to your own fashion e-commerce business?
After three years of working as a newspaper reporter I became disenchanted with the industry, so made the jump into PR. I started out working on a mixture of medical and consumer accounts, before finally ending up working on accounts such as Durex and E45. I always had at the back of my mind that I wanted to work for myself and I knew the agency world wasn’t where I wanted to stay forever. I saw an opening in the e-commerce market, found an investor and just went for it.
Do you have any tips for people looking to start their own e-commerce business?
I think it’s really important that you find the right suppliers in terms of the web design, build and online marketing. There are a lot of companies out there who, if you’re not careful, will take advantage of any gaps in your knowledge and happily rip you off. Doing your research and speaking to a lot of people – especially those who have nothing to gain from you – is absolutely vital before committing and handing over any money.
Was it hard to get into the industry? Did anything make it easier/harder? I think anybody can start their own website, so long as you have the finances, the time and the drive. I think the one thing that is often underrated though is having the support of family and friends. As well as having their emotional backing and encouragement over what is quite a stressful period, being able to call upon their expertise and experience at the early stages can save you a significant amount of money.