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Career

Supportive Sunday: By Rotation

Happy Sunday! Sunday is now my favourite part of the week because of Supportive Sunday. Today’s feature is the true definition of an Internet friendship because well – we actually met on Instagram! We realised we had a lot in common (here’s to being raised in Singapore but settling in London!). For today’s Supportive Sunday, we have Eshita Kabra-Davies, apparent intern but also the founder and CEO of By Rotation.

I first found out about By Rotation when Eshita reached out on Instagram and since then, I’ve watched them grow from a mere 25 rentals to now even having Stacey Dooley’s wardrobe available to rent! By Rotation is the UK’s leading peer-to-peer fashion rental platform. Think of it as the Airbnb of luxury fashion. Eshita and ByRotation have had amazing press, with features in Vogue, BBC, Forbes, Refinery29, Glamour, to name a few.

How does it work” you ask? Well, it’s exactly like looking for an Airbnb property to rent on holiday. You hop on the app, put in the dates you need it for, size you’re looking for, and request for it. If the owner agrees to your request, you borrow it and return it cleaned. On the app, you’re even told the Impact Scale of your environmental positive savings from renting rather than buying! Snazzy.

I think it’s really important during this time to talk about sustainability. This lockdown has really made me evaluate how I lived: quickly, and without much thought to the humane nature of most businesses. Sure, we currently don’t have anywhere to go and won’t need any outfits, but one day I hope we’ll be able to go to parties, celebrations, and weddings again. There’s a real importance to examining what we buy, and where from – especially with fast fashion. By Rotation helps plugs a gap, flipping the idea of sustainable fashion as expensive fashion.

So, I get to wear something fancy pieces for a fraction of the price, while satisfying that desire to wear something new. But I also adore By Rotation because it’s the perfect marriage of fashion and tech, run by a diverse group of women with a huge emphasis on community. Which you know, basically tingles the spidey senses of of our team at WWQD.

You can read more about Eshita and her team on popsugar (where she talks about moving from side hustle to full-time role), Fashion monitor (about their business model) and also on their journal. But for now here’s our chat with Eshita. 👏🏼

Hey Eshita, tell us a bit about yourself

That creative itch never went away and soon enough I was up-I’m a ‘third culture kid’*, born in Rajasthan, India raised in Singapore and now live in the London with my British husband. After 6+ years experience working in investment management and inspired by a love for fashion that doesn’t weigh on my conscience, I founded By Rotation as a side hustle in April 2019 and have now taken it full time.

*A third culture kid: raised in a culture other than their parents’ or that of their country of origin.

How are you doing these days?

I’m doing good! These are unprecedented times so I feel very lucky to be able to continue working on By Rotation and focusing on our community. We’ve been able to use our platform for good, by offering free rental credit to NHS staff for when this is all over and partnered with TV presenter and journalist Stacey Dooley with 100% of rental proceeds from her wardrobe going to Refuge a charity tackling domestic abuse – this all makes me very proud.

Why did you start By Rotation?

I was planning my honeymoon to my motherland Rajasthan, India and turned to Instagram for inspiration – cities to go to, hotels to stay at, landmarks to visit, restaurants to eat at and… what to wear! That’s when I started thinking about fashion rental and the lack of options in the UK, a very first-world problem, and how pragmatic it would be to just borrow from someone else.

When I arrived in Rajasthan I was upset by the level of textile waste I saw everywhere. That’s when I felt compelled to change and decided to launch By Rotation, the UK’s first (peer-to-peer) fashion rental app. During the last leg of my honeymoon, I started inviting my friends to come over to my apartment for a get-together at which I announced the concept and intention of By Rotation. After this initial positive feedback, I created a beta platform over the weekend and started using Instagram to draw people in.

Within a month, it had more than 10 transactions and was picked up by a journalist at Refinery29, followed by a mention in the Guardian. The customer acquisition continued organically, the rental volumes began to increase and the press kept coming.

When I arrived in Rajasthan I was upset by the level of textile waste I saw everywhere. That’s when I felt compelled to change and decided to launch By Rotation, the UK’s first (peer-to-peer) fashion rental app.

What are you most proud of with By Rotation, to date?

Our very strong and diverse community, our ever evolving technology and the incredibly enthusiastic response we’ve had since launching in October 2019! 

On a more business-related note, we’ve received the Eco-Age brandmark for our sustainable business model, hit the 15,000 users mark and have seen 400% user growth quarter on quarter – making us the fastest-growing & largest fashion rental platform in the UK!

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

Our community. They are all equally excited about the concept and that’s really what keeps us going when things get tough. We know they love the platform as much as we do and there’s a need for it.

What’s your ambition for By Rotation?

We want to transform the way that we consume fashion and disrupt the usual journey of retail through rental. We are setting out to convince everyone that we no longer need to buy fast fashion and can instead share quality clothing with each other. We intend to open up our app globally and have local communities, being self-sufficient and ‘rotating’ wardrobes with each other.

So while we’re all doing the spring clean in our houses that we all seem to be doing this lockdown, why don’t you have a look in your wardrobe at what you could rent out – I’d love to see some of your wardrobes on there. After all, #WhatsMineIsYours; come join me in this community!

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Career

Supportive Sunday: PERCH & WILD

Welcome back to another Supportive Sunday! Today we have with us Emma from Perch&Wild. Emma’s got one of the biggest personalities I know – one of the many reasons I absolutely adore her (she also cracks me up all the time). This shows through in every piece of her work in Perch&Wild. Finding old pieces and breathing new life into them whilst reusing and recycling is core to Perch&Wild. The ethos: why buy new, when you might already have the perfect piece of furniture that just needs a creative update!

So here we go, Emma and Perch&Wild 👏🏼

Hey Emma, tell us a bit about yourself

After completing my degree in Politics and Philosophy and falling in to a series of corporate jobs (did not suit my hippy life at all) I ended up quitting my job and moving to Thailand! It was there that I realised how much I missed being creative and working freelance so on my return I took a job at a charity where I was able to be a little bit more myself. A year in aaaaand I fell pregnant at 25 with a beautiful little girl called Tilly who ultimately meant I quit my job and looked around my house for something else to do.

That creative itch never went away and soon enough I was up-cycling all of the furniture in my house and eventually that lead to me setting up Perch&Wild. It was so important to me that Tilly grew up watching her mum working and creating in our home and that brings me to where I am now. My love of patterns, colours and anything a bit quirky means my home is always full of my latest projects and eye catching designs which I’m so lucky to now be able to share with everyone else!

How are you doing these days?

I’m actually really good! I had a few markets set up before Covid-19 hit which sadly have now been cancelled but luckily they’ve been moved to instagram ‘virtual markets’ which have been great for spreading the word.

As a new business I was worried how the pandemic was going to affect me but I’ve actually been kept quite busy and I think that’s maybe down to more people being at home, and realising their furniture might need an update. Or perhaps they want a nice, colourful treat in their homes.

What are you most proud of with Perch&Wild to date?

I was most proud of my first sale. In the creative industry you’re quite literally offering yourself up on a plate and my taste in homeware may not be for everyone.

When I started Perch&Wild I was creating things that I loved personally, and for someone to buy into that image and want it in their own home gave me the confidence I needed to carry on. It’s hard not to feel down when an item doesn’t sell straight away but I realise that it’s just waiting to find the perfect person and home to love it properly.

When I started Perch&Wild I was creating things that I loved personally, and for someone to buy into that image and want it in their own home gave me the confidence I needed to carry on.

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

My daughter. She really pushes me to do more and be better. When I’m painting she sits with me and helps and it brings her so much happiness that it’s infectious. She’s my little cheerleader and without her I wouldn’t even have this business.

What’s your ambition for Perch&Wild?

My plans for the future are to increase the amount of commissions I’m doing (I love to give someone something truly personal and seeing the joy on their face) and to start creating collections. Having said that this whole pandemic has really changed my short terms goals so I guess staying fluid and evolving with the times is where I’m at right now, and I’m ok with that.

Having said that this whole pandemic has really changed my short terms goals so I guess staying fluid and evolving with the times is where I’m at right now, and I’m ok with that.

You can reach out to Emma and find out more about commissions from her at her Etsy store. And watch this space: she’s planning some post-coronavirus workshops like cushion cover-making, upholstery basics and weaving so we can all get crafty together!

Categories
Career

Supportive Sunday: WeCook London by Chef Jen

As I was brainstorming on what I wanted whatwouldqueeniedo to be like, one thing that I always wanted to include was features on female led brands, organisations and charities that make a difference in the communities they work in. So here we are for our first Supportive Sunday! Today, for our first feature I’m really proud to introduce one of my best pal’s businesses.

Jen (aka Chef Jen) started We Cook last year and all she’s done is driven it from strength to strength regardless of what the world’s thrown at her. She pivoted and tried a completely different business model as we went into lockdown. Now, she not only looks after the chefs she works with, but also restaurant suppliers. I love that Chef Jen places such an emphasis on food that nourishes you yet is accessible, even for kids. Food holds a special place in my heart – it’s nourishment, enjoyment, culture and most importantly, family. 

Chef Jen of WeCook London

So, who is Chef Jen and what is We Cook?

Chef Jen created We Cook from her love of cooking for people who would prefer not to.

Jen and her team of professional chefs prepare fresh, healthy meals from the comfort of your home kitchen. Your chef will work with you to design you perfect menu each – the ultimate personal service.

Since the team can’t cook from your home right now, they’ve launched a new home delivery service – By Chef Jen – to keep cooking a repertoire of healthy dishes, for busy families in London. We Cook by Chef Jen delivers across London on a Monday evening, so you can fill your fridge/freezer with healthy meals so you have dinnertimes sorted.

Chef Jen creates a brand new menu each week, including a selection of meat, fish and plant-based options – plus kids Mini Meals!

Hey Jen, how are you doing?

Mostly great thank you! I would be lying if I told you I was 100% positive all of the time – but then again who is, even without Coronavirus causing chaos.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a teachers pet with a love for anything creative… I love painting and have a music degree (the dream was once to be a singer songwriter!) I also had 3 competitive Muay Thai fights as this was a huge passion of mine for years, and I’m still really into fitness now!

My proudest (and most stressful) moment, was being a part of BBC 2 Chefs Brigade last year, where I got to travel around Europe with Jason Atherton and a team of chefs, to compete with Michelin starred restaurants!

With We Cook, you get gorgeous home cooked food like these “Beef Chillin’ Wedges”

Why did you start We Cook?

I started We Cook as I was determined to start my own business that addressed two important problems that I could see a lot of people had, when I moved to London last year.

  1. Everybody in London is just so busy! I couldn’t believe just how much everybody relied on Deliveroo, Pret, Meal Deals – even myself at times! I realised that if even I was struggling to cook fresh meals for dinner every night, people with children to feed too must be struggling to juggle everything.
  2. Everybody’s tastes are very different. Working previously running a meal prep business, the biggest problem we faced was customers with dietary requirements, or simply being able to please everybody. I love feeding people more than anything, and so I wanted to create a service that meant I could get it right for everybody, no matter what their tastes or preferences.

What are you most proud of with We Cook, to date?

Honestly just bringing it to life. I took baby steps last year, applying for part-time personal chef positions and posting local ads to test the waters but since then I’ve really gone all in. I designed my own website (twice thanks to Covid-19!) and have a base of regular clients whom I love cooking for. I now have a team of 3 chefs and despite the lockdown, have successfully managed to pivot the business so that everybody still has some work, and all of our clients can still be fed!

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

My clients. Even when it gets tough, I find it easy to keep going because this is my ‘baby’ so to speak. I’m sure any mum would tell you that even when things get tough with their children, nothing would make them want to quit being a mum – at least not for long anyway!

I love making people happy with food, and that will never go away. For years its been my ambition to successfully grow my own company and I always knew that would come with a lot of challenge and responsibilities, so I try to roll with the tough days and love the process of it all. (I also listen to a Gary Vee podcast when things get really tough haha – he always pulls me through!)

What’s your ambition for We Cook?

I have a lot of different ideas that I want to test out with regards to growing We Cook, before I commit to a long-term ‘goal’ as such. I say this because I believe business is all about evolution and adapting to the world around you so that you can continue to solve people’s problems. Just look at the current situation – if you had ambitions before coronavirus I’m sure for many people they will have changed significantly since.

I believe business is all about evolution and adapting to the world around you so that you can continue to solve people’s problems

– Chef Jen

Generally speaking, however, I want to grow my team of chefs so that we can cover as many clients in London as possible and then look to branch out into other cities across the world. With the deliveries, we’re reaching lots of new customers and gaining so much insight into what people want and need at dinnertimes, so I’m using that to steer my vision for the future, in particular looking at children’s ready meal options and retail avenues.

You can reach out to Chef Jen and find out more about We Cook at their website. You also get 2 free mini meals on orders over £25 with the discount code KIDS25. Chef Jen cooks, so you don’t have to!