Sarah Thompson, the Founder of Five Feathers, shares her tips and advice for those looking to break into the sector. Learn from your professional advice and use it for your own brand.
As generic advice, I would always encourage other aspiring entrepreneurs to follow a dream but to do it with their feet firmly grounded and their eyes open.
Being an entrepreneur is far from easy. Especially in the early stages of a business, it can be lonely, time-consuming and capital-intensive. These issues are often magnified when creating a product and it inevitably takes time before you begin to see the return on investment.
The yoga and boutique fitness wear space is no exception to this. Beyond the glossy lookbooks, it is a business like any other and especially, given the growth of the market, is becoming more crowded and competitive. This isn’t a reason to not engage with the space, but my advice would be to make sure that you get really clear on your specific target market, product and “edge” – what makes you unique.
Then – before you jump – do your homework on how that is going to become a reality. Break it down and get really honest with yourself about both the time and monetary costs. On the manufacturing and supply chain side of the business in particular, there are many barriers to entry, which need to be properly researched.
For many entrepreneurs that I have spoken to, as well as for myself, one of the toughest sides of starting a business is managing the psychology around it. Both of the key mechanisms that we typically rely upon to sanity-check how we are doing – namely manager reviews and financial rewards – are absent (at least in the early stages).
Your own mindset and ability to manage yourself and your energy are therefore extremely important (you should definitely think about doing some yoga!). Also, no matter how much you believe in what you are doing it can get tough, really tough, so you need to get the right support around you.
The most helpful thing to me throughout the process has been the unrelenting support of my closest friends and family and having an amazing business mentor who helps me keep perspective and see the bigger picture.