Wednesday, 9 July 2014
NEWBURY-BASED FRANKIE AND RUBY DRESSES FOR SUCCESS
A Newbury-based personal stylist and dress agency is re-launching this week with a new name, Frankie and Ruby.
The business, originally called Victoria’s Wardrobe, was set up by Victoria Lochhead to help busy people know their style “rules” and to get the most out of their clothes shopping time.
Victoria is also passionate about dressing people sustainably; sourcing her clothes from charity shops, recycling centres and vintage fairs. Earlier this year, she also set up a UK-wide campaign called “Say no to new” to encourage people to think about avoiding ‘fast fashion’ and instead persuading them to think about buying vintage and second-hand clothes.
Named after her two daughters, the new agency received its official launch with a garden party on Saturday, where an exclusive personal shopping service was also unveiled.
Following an approach from a company in the UK also called Victoria’s Wardrobe, Victoria was told that the brand name had recently been trademarked. Instead of closing shop, she took the opportunity to rebrand and diversify her offering. She has now taken on a colleague Jo Marshall and the pair offer colour analysis, styling consultations, wardrobe decluttering, personal shopping and styling.
They also advise on “the rules” to help people know their shapes, colours and even suitable fabrics so customers need never buy anything unflattering again.
Victoria said: “Two months ago, I had to change my business name as someone else had been clever enough to trademark it. Given the time, effort and energy I’d put into the brand, I thought it was devastating. However, at the same time, I was approached by Jo who wanted me to train her to be a personal stylist and run a dress agency.
“I realised that the name change had actually come at a perfect time - she couldn't have easily run a business called Victoria’s Wardrobe but she could run a Frankie and Ruby!
“Having to change my name has led me to have a good look at my business - I love training, I love working with others - and opened up the possibility of having more branches of Frankie and Ruby.
What I thought would be a failure has turned into a great success.”
Victoria set up her consultancy after returning to work in the hospitality sector after the birth of her second daughter. Feeling she had nothing to wear and under confident in her new shape, she visited an image consultant whose help proved to be life-changing; Victoria was immediately enthused to ensure other women are equally empowered.
Victoria received advice on the re-brand from Newbury-based European trademark attorney Dale Campbell from Trademark Tribe.
Dale said: “I had every sympathy for Victoria as building up a brand and gaining a reputation takes time, energy and expense.
“To have another firm with deeper pockets come along and take your good idea is a nightmare for a small business. No matter how small you think your business is, I recommend registering your trademark so that the brand is not available for anyone else to use.
“Businesses who have been in existence for many years think that this is not a problem as they have not had an issue using their name. Victoria’s experience is a good reminder that it only takes someone else to register your brand as a trademark for you to potentially lose the name. Now she has protected the name with a trademark, she can grow her business with confidence knowing she owns the rights to the brand. We wish her every success with the latest chapter in the firm’s history.
“The best case scenario is for you to own the trademark and when a search is undertaken it will be clear to the bigger companies that the name is already in existence and their marketing gurus can then come up with a new brand name.”