30 September 2016
How British lifestyle label Toast went from strength to strength
Established in West Wales in 1997 by Jessica and Jamie Seaton, Toast is a British brand renowned for quality and style. The business has a huge online following and now has 11 physical shops throughout the UK. Jessica will be speaking about growing Toast from a small start-up to the successful business it is today at our upcoming Inspiring Entrepreneurs event on 18 October. Ahead of that we caught up with her to find out some of the secrets to her success.
What were you doing before you started Toast and what drove you to start your own business?
Toast is the second business Jamie and I started. The first designed, made and sold knitwear. We had been working on that business for 20 years and it was time for a change, a new challenge.
What steps did you take to it started?
The first thing we developed was the idea and that was to make modern, simple, easy pyjamas. After that came the question of 'how?' We were motivated by two priorities - firstly, how can we have an immediate connection with our customer, so that we stood or fell by their assessment of what we do; and, secondly, how could we reduce risk and make the most of existing resources. These two priorities drove a lot of early decisions.
What obstacles, if any, have you faced along the way?
So many! One of the earliest was getting funding early enough and underestimating how long that process would take. We thought everyone would share our view that the business was a sure-fire winner. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t necessarily agree. That naivety nearly sank us. But we did get there in the end and with a partner who has stood by us ever since.
If you had one piece of advice for anyone thinking of starting their own business – what would it be?
Do something you love. There will be so many hard times you'll need that passion to carry you through.
Take your chance to put your questions to Jessica and the panel at ‘Inspiring Entrepreneurs Marketing Maestros’ taking place on 18 October 2016 at the British Library. Get your ticket here.