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Redundancy gives Zoe designs on new career

A South Gosforth fashion designer has turned her redundancy into a new business opportunity by launching a line of classic womenswear.

Zoe Glover was working as head ladieswear buyer at mail order firm Penny Plain before its collapse.

The event prompted her to realise a lifelong dream of designing and creating her very own fashion label which has led to the creation of Lily Ella - named after her two daughters..

The fashion marketing graduate has drawn upon her many years of experience of buying stylish items for women aged 50 plus to create a contemporary and bright range of classic pieces with a key focus upon using high quality and ethically sourced fabrics.

Zoe has utilised her network of suppliers and contacts built up over many years to ensure she is offering a line which features exclusive prints with a particular emphasis on comfort. The collection is aimed at customers who want timeless pieces that fit and flatter to really stand the test of time.

Zoe said; “Because of my background in fashion buying specifically for this consumer market, I was very confident in my designs, my approach and understanding of what potential customers would be looking for from their wardrobe.

“I was very secure in knowing that I had the contacts I needed to source my stock and support the manufacture of the pieces, however, as I had never run my own business before, there were clear areas where I needed support and Bill was an invaluable sounding board and overflowing with relevant advice.”

Zoe used the expertise of Bill Hartshorne, business advisor at South Tyneside based TEDCO Business Support who introduced her to the innovative start-up programme Ready for Business.

Ready for Business, the investment ready start-up programme that supports new enterprises across the UK, has delivered more than 1,500 new jobs nationwide since its launch last summer, with over 200 jobs created in the North East region alone.

The programme is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and Barclays and is delivered by the Cavendish Consortium, a partnership between some of England’s leading enterprise agencies together with the National Enterprise Network.

Bill Hartshorne, Ready for Business advisor at TEDCO Business Support said; “Ready for Business is aimed at supporting individuals who have a clear commercial idea of how they want their business to grow in the future. It is ideally placed to help them focus upon these objectives and take the necessary steps to achieve success.

“One of the key areas of support is around the business’ ability to increase employment opportunities in their area and Zoe has already taken on her first employee to help with the operational side of the business and enable her to focus upon developing her collection and sourcing high quality materials and prints that reflect the ethos of her brand.”

Zoe is set to launch her first pieces – an Autumn/Winter Collection featuring an exclusive range of cruise wear – this month. More than 50,000 catalogues featuring classic separates and stylish outfits have been distributed nationwide; the collection can be viewed at www.lilyellacollection.co.uk and orders can be made online or via mail order or telephone.

Zoe is now working on a Spring/Summer Collection that will be launched early in 2014 and has plans to grow the online retail side of the business.

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