Linda Conway is the founder of sustainable fashion website Stiall

Business Banter: Linda Conway from Stiall

If you harbour dreams of setting up a business, then this is for you. This week, we speak to Linda Conway from Stiall about the realities of setting up a business, developments in the world of sustainable fashion and what she’s learned.

Stiall is a website dedicated to sustainable fashion, but a website with a difference. Stiall isn’t here to be preachy – but to de-mystify sustainable fashion. Created to provide a place where readers can access honest information on social and environmental policies of brands – helping you to make more informed decisions. So what has Linda learned along the way?

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned since launching your own business?

That the support of the people around you is the most precious thing of all. Friends, family and people I’ve met through work are the only reason I get to do what I love.

If you could go back and do something differently would you?

I’m really trying to take everything as a lesson learned. I try not to take too much of one bad day into the next one or it’s a day lost.

What was the biggest thing to surprise you while setting up a business?

It took longer than I expected to get up and going. There’s a lot of groundwork that goes in before setting up shop. Relationship building, finance control, a place to work from, sourcing packaging etc.

Did you learn anything about yourself?

That I’m impatient! Also, if I had gone to levels of perfection that I was striving for, I still wouldn’t have launched.

How do you manage to maintain any level of work life balance? Is it hard to switch off

There wasn’t really any switching off at the very start. I was constantly staring at a screen, a bit stunned that it had all started and wondering what to do next! I’m getting better at finding a good balance. I’m no good to anyone if I’m burnt out and a ball of stress. I meditate daily, exercise five times a week and eat a balanced diet. These things keep me focused – if I let any of those three slip I’m not on my A game for Stiall.

What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Surround yourself with like-minded people. They help you grow, they keep your chin up and they inspire you to do your best.

What piece of advice would you pass on now to something else who’s noticed a gap in the market?

Do your research but if your gut tells you this is it, do it. Probably not the most financially sound advice. It goes without saying you have to be sensible in your decision, do the math but it’s never not going to be scary.

Have you always believed in Stiall or did you have moments of thinking you were completely wrong?

Stiall was in my mind for almost two years before I launched it. I knew it was a leap and I’m guilty of letting sheer excitement take over, I let it stew for a while to make sure I was certain. I think I’m mental every other day to have done this ha ha! I’m learning to be content in my crazy!

What’s next?

I launched Stiall in a lean start-up kinda way. We’re a small business and I wanted to provide something that a niche market of sustainable fashion enthusiasts really needed. We’re growing but we’re doing it very slowly, we’re in the business of slowing the fashion industry down so I’m trying to adapt that for the business too. AW18 will see new developments and a slick new website.

Where would you like to be in five years?

I hope Stiall can grow to be a destination not only for your sustainable fashion needs, but also platform that enables consumers to access honest information. Our aim has always been to take ethical and sustainable fashion off it’s pedestal, if we’re doing that in 5 years I’d be thrilled.

For more information visit stiall.com 

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