Case study

Business owner — Stephanie Witts

As the owner and CEO of Witts Design Ltd, Stephanie is building up a thriving textile design business. Find out how she hopes to expand her company in the future

How did you set up your own textile design business?

I've always had a passion for textiles, which was sparked in my first year of secondary school. I knew that I wanted to study it at university, but wasn't sure which textile discipline to follow. I got on to the textile degree course at London Metropolitan University by studying for a foundation degree and then applying for the degree courses that I was interested in.

In my final year I decided to set up and run my own company called Witts Design. My mother and I had talked about potentially running a company together and when it came to me graduating, we decided to give it a go.

What's a typical working day like?

I will either be in the office dealing with emails, attending meetings and working out ways to grow the company or I'll be out at our printing studio, producing home ware, fashion items or any bespoke projects that we have on at the time.

What do you enjoy most about textile design?

I love designing my own collections, which are then made into products that we sell at events around the country.

I enjoy meeting new people and I also love watching how people engage with our designs and the way that we make them.

What are the challenges of running your own business?

Our main challenge is growing the business as it has got to the stage where we need to take on staff to be able to keep going with the orders and the events that we go to.

However, it wouldn’t be fun if there weren't challenges along the way.

How is your textile design degree relevant?

All of the skills that I learned at university, such as drawing, screen-printing and dying techniques, are transferable to my job as we hand design and screen-print everything.

Even if I went into a buying role I'd still have an understanding of the process of designing products.

Where to do you hope to be in five years?

I'd like to have our own manufacturing facility where we can produce our home ware and fashion products, as well as employing more staff.

It would also be nice to have a shop of our own where we can sell our items.

What advice can you give to others?

My advice to anyone still doing a degree is to experiment and have fun with your work. This is the most important time to do what you want because when you enter the world of work, you won’t have the time to experiment.

If you want to set up your own business or become freelance, give it a go. I know it's a scary idea and you have to put your all into it, but it's so rewarding. I'm grateful that I took the plunge when I graduated, as I know I wouldn't have done it if I'd gone straight into a job.

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