Lux-Fix is the first startup baby of founders Rebecca Glenapp and Alice Hastings who teamed together to give the disposable teeny fashion of today a run for it’s money by creating a platform for original, high quality fashion for grown ups. Now, while both founders are expecting their own real life babies, co-founder Rebecca reflects on the journey so far and the why the fashion scene is hungry for a platform like Lux-Fix.
Tell me what the Lux-Fix concept is?
We’re at a really interesting point in fashion now with this fast fashion in the market which is really well served for teenagers and the early twenties, we’ve now got some of the best in the world in terms of ASOS, Boohoo. Then at the top of end of the market there are guys like Burberry and Matthew Williamson, but there’s a huge gap in the middle for people who have grown out of the key target of twenties, who want to look stylish, who don’t want to look the same as everyone else, but don’t have the money to spend on luxury designer clothes. There are a load of wonderful designers who make clothes just for this audience, but they’re very fragmented, so we had the opportunity to bring all these designers together under one roof. The average number of shopping sites people visit is four or five a month, so unless you’ve already heard of a designer it’s quite difficult to find them because people are so time poor.
Are your backgrounds in fashion?
My co-founder’s background is finance and mine is digital. We totally leave the designing up to the designer and our role is to bring the customers and the designer together. Most people who start up a fashion business are either very driven by the business opportunity or they’ve got a fashion background. We’re in the first category but we also love fashion and our business skills have allowed us to set something like this up with a different approach.
Is this the first business you’ve started up yourself?
Yes, it’s the first. I’ve worked with startups before who were angel-funded and I left the city in order to get experience with other startups before I started my own because it’s just a completely different mentality to other jobs.
What’s the journey been like since you started?
It’s been going officially since summer 2013, and we worked for 18 months before that in beta and our view was just to launch something as soon as possible. We could have spent a really long time at the drawing board, but you’ve got to get out there and start and test. I think you have to be in the market and just go for it because you can have a lot of great ideas when it’s just the two of you over the kitchen table, but it might not work! We approached the designers first because obviously we needed a good collection of designers to start and we found that they were very interested in the approach that we took and also our backgrounds along digital and financial. So we started testing it from the supplier side as a platform and once we got traction there we released it to the customers.
How did you choose the designers?
Our guarantee is that everything you buy on the site with us is original, interesting design that you’re not going to bump into someone else on the street wearing. Our core audience are thirty plus, people in their twenties tend to be a bit more ‘on trend’, so you see something someone else is wearing and you think ‘ooh I like that’, whereas when you hit over thirty you don’t want to be wearing the same thing as everyone else.
How important is sustainability and responsibly sourced materials in your products?
There is this farmers market revolution currently going on, small suppliers work with tiny factories because they’re only making really small runs. I won’t say that everything they produce is perfectly sustainable but if you’re producing ten or twenty dresses you’re not going to find a big factory in China who’s going to do that for you so it’s always family run factories. Some of our designers have been making dresses for 25 years and it’s their life, it’s their love, they know where everything from a zip to a fastening to pleat comes from. They’re very aware of the whole production which is lovely for us as well, because it’s so much more special wearing something that’s created with passion. I think it makes a real difference when how you feel when you wear the clothes. Our designers make things that will last for years and years, it’s not throw away fashion.
Why East London?
There is just something about the energy around here. It’s really positive, it always feels sunny even when it’s not, we just love it! It was nothing calculated in being at Silicon Roundabout, we just fell in love with the whole vibe.
It’s a very stylish area, did that also effect your decision to be here?
Weirdly no. It’s more known for young fashion, but what is similar to our ethos is that people really care about where their clothes come from here too.
You and your co-founder are both expecting very soon! Tell me about how that is going to work for you logistically.
There’s nothing better than if you’re working in a startup and you can be flexible about time because if you love what you’re doing you do want to be able to be really involved, it’s not like we both have a job that we hate and we want to squeeze every ounce of maternity leave off. I think the goal has always been to balance work and family so I think startups are able to be much more flexible, as long as you get the work done they don’t mind when you do it.
Is there anyone that has been particularly inspiring for you in the business world?
I suppose every woman you ever talk to would say Sheryl Sandberg, for me, it’s the responsibility that she’s taken on in order to inspire other women that is really amazing. She’s made a huge effort to say look I’ve done this and I’m not going to say ‘haha you can’t do it’. It’s great to acknowledge that women aren’t always encouraged as they should be in a business sense and then to go out there and do something about it. But loads of people are inspirational for me, it’s great working in a startup because you meet people all the time, there’s always something about them that’s inspiring isn’t it? I feel grateful every single day to be able to do this, as cheesy as that sounds!