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Pioneer of the Week: Pamela Sharpe from Miss Pandora

Community Manager

Pioneer of the Week: Pamela Sharpe from Miss Pandora

One founder. Twelve dresses per season. Hundreds of loyal customers. Welcome to Miss Pandora womenswear.

 

The brainchild of Leicester entrepreneur, Pamela Sharpe, @pams, the brand is proud of its fresh approach and like all the best businesses, was founded with a clear mission in mind. We caught up with Pamela to unashamedly talk shop.

 

Untitled design (28).pngHow did you start your business?

I come from a creative background in graphic design and owned a small lifestyle magazine. I wanted to venture into fashion, but was waiting for the right time to jump in. One day it just hit me, ‘It’s now or never!’ So I jumped right in and set up the business with under £500. We have come a long way as a brand and learnt so much.

 

Where do you work from?

I mostly work from home although we do have office space at the Friars Mill workspace complex in Leicester. 

 

There are many women’s fashion specialists. What sets Miss Pandora apart?

I noticed there was a lack of affordable, well-made classic styles that you can wear time and again. I am fairly conservatively dressed, but love to look elegant and stylish. For me personally there is nothing more disheartening than finding the perfect dress, only to discover it slashed to the hip, cut down to the belly button, or with cut outs in different places for good measure. So I wanted to create a brand that caters for women who want to look elegant in classic styles.

 

Secondly, I wanted the brand to represent body positivity. We celebrate women of all heights, shapes and sizes and will never airbrush or photoshop images to create unrealistic ideals and standards. We also support Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, donating £1 per dress sold.

 

Tell us two interesting facts about yourself.

Firstly, I have some unusual arm rotation. If I place my palm down, I can rotate the inside of my elbow all the way out - and almost back in again, making my fingers parallel with the inside of my elbow. I used to love freaking out my classmates with this party trick. They thought I was broken!

 

Secondly, I was a bit of a tomboy growing up. I used to wear cut off denim shorts, had wild hair and spent my days climbing all sorts of trees or reading books, sometimes up in a tree. I didn't really start dressing up until I was in my twenties and now am a shopping addict and owner of a fashion brand.

 

What do you wish you knew when you first started out in business?

When I set up my business I thought to myself, “I have this brilliant idea, I will buy some clothes from wholesale, get some models to wear them and take pictures, stick those images on a website and people will be falling over themselves trying to buy my stuff. Easy as one, two, three!”

 

It was not that easy at all. I have learnt a lot over the years and I really wish I had known back then that research and branding was very, very important for any start up.

 

How do you cope with challenges?

Like a majority of entrepreneurs, I have had a lot of no’s. That was hard to take at first as I took it personally. After all, Miss Pandora was my baby! Now I think it’s important to look at no’s as a challenge and fuel to get things done. It pays to think, “I’ll show you!” Running a business is tough, but I love what I do and feel I have truly found my calling.

 

What are your three top tips for succeeding in your industry?

  1. You need to know your customers, what they need and how you can fill that void for them.
  2. Branding and marketing is very important. Start as you mean to go on.
  3. You need to fully believe in and get behind your product. Be your biggest brand ambassador.

What would you like to ask the VOOM Pioneers community?

With our next collection, we would like to incorporate some prints and designs. What sort of prints do you think we could use in the collection? We are happy to work with local artists to really make the prints unique.

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