Trapped In a Skinny World
Trapped In a Skinny World is an online fashion retailer designed to celebrate women of all shapes and sizes. The company provides a platform for fashion forward thinking with unique, edgy collections.
Founded by Remi Ray in October 2010, Trapped In a Skinny World’s goal is to allow every woman to feel beautiful without adapting who they are via their clothing.
Based in south-east London, the company employs a team of five.
What’s the story behind your company name?
I created Trapped at the start of my third year of university in 2010 but the name was changed to Trapped in a Skinny World in October 2010.
Trapped in a Skinny World allows women of all shapes and sizes to express their personality via their clothing. Our customer is already a fashionable person, she is not afraid to try new things or to use her body to add confidence to her look. So at Trapped in a Skinny World we look for those little gems that will only enhance your outfit.
We are designed for the real woman who understands that she is not Kate Moss but is still excited about being who she is in relation to her clothing.
Why did you decide to start your company?
I decided to start the company after years of loving fashion but also for the hate of not being able to easily find products that fit me properly. I’ve had countless shopping sessions where I feel like crap once I enter the changing room and nothing fits. I always left shopping with frustration and disappointed that nothing fitted me.
What was your career path prior to starting your first business?
Well I’ve studied fashion since the age of 18 but I used to customise items of clothing for close friends and family from the age of 14, so I guess fashion was an obvious choice for me.
Did you always know that you would start your own business?
Since I was five years old my godmother was a major influence in my life and she had her own business. Plus, I love counting the money up at the end of the day! I was always thinking “Wow! I love this type of power and the changes you can make to your quality of life.”
So yeah, I guess those options do not often come from working for someone else. I guess it is and has been my best option so far for me.
What steps did you take to launch your business?
Well, as it was my final major project at university I realised from the feedback I had from my tutors, industry influencers and family that I was on to something positive so I thought that maybe I should see if I can run with it.
I used my student loan and part-time job money to produce my website and buy all my marketing products like business cards and flyers to promote my company and from there I got great response so I continued.
What are you working on at the moment and can you describe your typical working day?
A typical Remi day with Trapped can be very long and hard but always positive. As small business people do not always want to interact with you unless you have something to offer so I’m always making sure that I respond to all enquires as soon as I open my eyes.
I check every email, especially with the time difference, I respond to ones I can on the spot and proceed with my day. I constantly update my Twitter and blog with fresh information to keep everybody talking and remember the Trapped name.
I am constantly doing research every day to find the latest brands in relation to plus size clothing and it’s also important to see who the movers and shakers are in the industry, so research, research, research. I always stumble upon new things so I inform my bloggers to get on the case. I visit stockists to find new gems and see if they are what my customers require.
What have been the highlights of running your own business?
Definitely the positive responses from people I come into contact with. Also the fact that people are constantly talking to other people about what we do – whether they are friends, fans or just people that are inspired by what I do. I’m always left with an amazing feeling knowing that I put blood, sweat and tears into producing a brand I am completely proud of.
What is the hardest part of running your own business?
Being the only full-time and most pro-active member the weight is always on me. So if mistakes are made it’s on me. Also financially it is hard as I’m not making millions money and budgeting is the upmost important element of my business. Over spending is not an option.
What has been your biggest triumph so far?
Pursuing something that I actually love, waking up in the morning and putting it into action. Also the biggest triumph has been everything so far, living and growing up within an under-privileged background has never held me back, but coming as far as I have considering the issues that affect young Black people daily I feel like I climb a mountain every day.
To be honest, I’m happy to wake up the next day and climb that mountain all over again if I help people from my surroundings to realise life doesn’t have to stop at the end of your postcode. Then I’m doing my job well as far as I’m concerned.
Who would be your dream client and why?
My dream clients are the people I currently work with because they are real women and inspire me to continue to press on. They come to me for advice and direction in relation to their clothing choices.
I find this the most pleasing and the most honest form of retailing because the issues they face I also face so I totally understand where they are coming from. How much more of a dream could that be?
What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
I’m inspired by difference and women that are positive from any walks of life. I’m inspired by change and believing that anything is possible. I’m inspired by strength and courage along with the support that I constantly receive from my family and friends as it inspires me to continue.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a retail business?
It’s not hard starting but it is hard and expensive to maintain. Planning and research will be your best friends!
Fast forward five years, where do you think your business will be in 2016?
To be honest I hope to be like the Selfridges of plus-size fashion. I hope to be leading in the designing of products for that real woman who knows what works for her and is confident enough to shout about it.
I hope to have the brands that are just as fashion forward on my site and to be the hub of fashion forward women of shape and size.
Remi, is there anything else you’d like to share?
It’s important that people stick together to support one another, however long the road. Trapped in a Skinny World isn’t just a clothing company but a movement of positive influence and breaking down barriers that once separated us. Keep it Trapped!
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Remi Ray was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club.