North West Startup Season: Wicker Wings
Launched in October 2014 after a year of planning, Merseyside fashion entrepreneurial sister and brother team, Belinda and James Wong, have set up a beautiful bag brand, Wicker Wings.
The brand works on a ‘like for like’ idea, giving a bag of books to charity for every wicker handbag it sells.
The bags are fashionable and have already garnered a dedicated following of fashion bloggers.
Winning ‘Pitch to Rich’ would mean a great leap forward for the brand, with potential for a marketing campaign and mentoring from the Virgin team going to the winner.
The company is one of eight in the North West to be on the shortlist.
There are some amazing businesses that applied for Pitch to Rich, however Belinda, one half of the founding duo, says their unique selling point is that our handbags are made of wicker, something that isn’t common in mainstream fashion and that the like for like bag makes a real difference to children in Asia.
The siblings did want to have the bags made in the UK but difficulty with pricing and manufacturing meant that they had to move the operations to China.
They also met with the founder of the charity that they work with in order to better understand the charity and how they could help.
Belinda, spoke to Bdaily she said: “We haven’t had to take out loans, we just used savings, about £10k to cover marketing and costs.
“As we have grown we have pumped the money back into the business.
“We would love to take on more people to help us grow, however at the moment as a startup we want to keep as much control of the business.
“I’m a full time mother of two, and my brother has just graduated from university, so our biggest challenge has been to find the right people to work with, it has all been a massive learning curve.
“One example was our website, originally was pretty bad so we had to start again from scratch.
“We have also tried to get our names out there and our message across, growing by speaking to people, people who want to help.
“Nothing has been particularly easy, I think the best bit has to be working with my brother, he fully understands social media, everything has been a great challenge but one that we have absolutely loved.
“We believe in the brand, and the product and the bag for bag idea.”
Belinda and her brother entered ‘Pitch to Rich’ because they felt they had nothing to lose, and thought it would be great exposure for the brand.
Belinda said that to have the mentoring and seal approval would be ‘amazing’ and ‘fabulous.’
Winning would be a stamp to say that are going on the right track, and open a lot of doors for the company.