Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Insider Interview: Jessica Thomas, Founder, Over My Body

In this week's Insider Interview, we chat to founder of new cult-brand website Over My Body, that brings Australian & US brands to the UK fashionista.

What’s your usual working day like?  
My average working day normally involves a mixture of sitting at the computer in the office answering emails and doing admin, and racing around to meetings with suppliers and agents. As many of our brands are 'fast fashion' labels, we are buying new collections from them every month to make sure the site has brand new stock being uploaded on a weekly basis. As our studio and stock is held in the North East I am also making regular trips up there to supervise and help style our stock shoots.

What was your dream job when you were younger?
My dream job when I was younger was actually to be a journalist  - which I went on to be. I always wanted to write and have a naturally inquisitive (or perhaps you could say nosey!) nature, so it seemed like the perfect fit for me.

What's the best piece of career advice you've been given?
The best piece of career advice I've received would probably be from my mother, an entrepreneur herself. She always taught me to forge my own path, to be brave and MAKE things happen, rather than sitting back and waiting for opportunities and success to come to you.

What's your number one style tip?
My number one style tip would be to be brave. Don't be afraid to experiment with colours, prints and shapes that are different from what you would usually wear. I admire women that want to stand out from the crowd rather than blend in with the masses. This is one of the reasons I launched Over My Body, I was struggling to find unique and affordable fashions from UK websites and was being forced to ship from international sites in order to find items that stood out.

If you weren't doing the career you are now, what do you think you would be doing?
I would probably do something completely different. I've always had a love for animals and like the idea of working with an elephant charity in Africa or starting a cat and dog shelter. I do worry I would probably be too emotional to do something like this though!

If someone was looking for a career change into your industry, how would you propose the best way is to start?
If someone was wanting to start their own website I would probably recommend they do their research. I know it sounds obvious but having the right suppliers, in terms of web developers etc is so so important. There are so many people who are quite happy to rip you off and sell you an overpriced product that isn't right for you. Also to ensure you have the support of friends and family - in the early stages of any start up business having their help is invaluable.

What's the best thing about your job?
I think definitely being around beautiful clothes all day! Pulling together a selection of what I think are the most unique, beautiful and affordable fashions for British women - I really love it.
What's the toughest part of your job?
I would say the toughest part of the job is having the responsibility of being your own boss and everything resting on your shoulders. It can be very stressful and involve long hours, however it's worth every worry and late night.

Most proud career moment to date?
My proudest moment is definitely the day went live. It was two months later than planned and a year in the making, so that day just felt fantastic. The process of setting the business up was a rollercoaster of ups and downs and moments where I even doubted it would be possible, so it was certainly a proud moment when it was up and running, ready for customers to shop.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
I'm not a big believer in long term life plans. I think you should live in the moment and be spontaneous and take opportunities as they arise. If you had asked me the same question 10 years ago I certainly wouldn't have guessed I would be here.

Read more insider interviews here and look out for our next interview with founder of ethical brand Kitty Ferreira.


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