Frances Mendoza—a 3rd-year Business Administration and Management Student of De Montfort University—was known among her peers as someone who always dresses for the occasion. Her willingness to build a brand of her own, the passion for fashion, and her perseverance to finish what she has started has allowed her to establish her growing business in the field of sleepwear. Amidst the rocky start, and the numerous roadblocks the business faced, Satin & Lace is now an up and coming brand that will soon become popular across all generations and body shapes.
She was no stranger to the brand, Satin & Lace. In fact, this was originally her mother’s business which started three years prior. However the enterprise really never got off the ground. As the months went by, Frances decided and envisioned building her own line of clothing. It was then that her mother suggested that she continue Satin & Lace™ and she willingly rose to the challenge.
The brand got its chance on a second life last August 2020, when Frances, the now new proprietor, took the helm of the business and took steps by rebuilding the brand through social media campaigns. By October of the same year, she did further research and development on the products of the business by looking for the perfect set of textiles—Charmeuse silk and pure organic silk fabrics—and a skilled seamstress to match to create the sleepwear line. The following month, she found a good seamstress and loved her work. The best part is, her mom also loved the work too and reaffirmed her decision to choose her as the manufacturer of the business’ products.
However, she also shared that there were also some roadblocks along the way. She was planning on launching her product by the end of 2020 and despite the new guidelines on the eased quarantine restrictions imposed by the national government, it took her a month to produce the orders of her clientele. During this period, doubt casted a shadow upon her and in the process. It made her start questioning the viability and feasibility of the business since there was a sense of uncertainty as to whether there would be a market for reasonably priced premium quality sleepwear.
As 2021 came, it was an opportunity for a fresh start and a new beginning for everyone globally, as it was a mark to an end of an unprecedented and tumultuous year. The business too had its fair share of the opportunity that 2021 had to offer. January was a prosperous month and clients were flowing in, people ordered her products and had no qualms about the price nor the quality. They also gave good feedback! It was indeed reinforcing on her end and has extinguished any form of anxiety towards operating the business. Frances felt more prepared than ever before. Though recently the business had to take the backseat due to academic requirements in her final year in university, she constantly makes sure that the business remains active on social media.
Looking into the future, Frances plans on diversifying her clientele by creating satin sleepwear for men and creating more sizes to accommodate different types of body shapes, making her business more inclusive and appealing to a broader audience. The reason for such? It turns out that a lot of men are looking—and are willing to pay—for bespoke sleepwear. The research and development of the new line may be still underway during the time this article was written, but it has received positive feedback and potential paying customers who are more than willing to use the product immediately. It was a moment filled with joy and the sense of fulfillment. With this self-fulfilling, yet rollercoaster of a journey, Frances wishes to impart to our fellow Paladins a few lessons that she has learned as an entrepreneur, her source of motivation, and how her studies in SISFU has enhanced and refined her perception and vision for the business.
In terms of the lessons learned as an entrepreneur, she reminds us that if you put fear first, you will never see the result. Because trying is the first step to success, she mentions and stresses that “How will you know that if it would work, if you don’t try? How will I succeed if I don’t try?” Another lesson that she learned was to apply what she has learned in the university and use several concepts towards the improvement of her business.
In terms of her source of motivation, what drove her to pursue it is her passion for clothing. She also dreamt of having a brand of her own and challenged herself to try sleepwear, as there aren't a lot of people who have pursued this area of fashion. Lastly, she thanks the Almighty Father for this opportunity: she believes that God will never put her in that situation if there was no reason or purpose. Because of the business, it has become her training ground before she starts another one: this time, from the ground up.
Apart from the lessons and the sources of motivation, she has also benefited from her studies in DMU as a college senior, as this has given her more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the business field. There are a plethora of things an entrepreneur can learn from in improving their business and be able to take it to the next level.
The first one that comes to mind would be E-marketing, which is taught by Sir Daniel Steel. It talks about properly marketing in the e-commerce market. She really learned a lot from it and looks forward to each class every week. This has changed her perception 360 degrees from her then elementary understanding that the success of a social media page is based on the number of likes or followers. To a more professional perception, by utilising the power of engagement, establishing a connection with your customers, and bringing them the value that they deserve.
Another notable subject would be Global Strategic Management, which is taught by Sir Denver Daradar. It has helped her form a perspective that she is still competing with a lot of brands despite being a local brand.
As we wrapped-up the interview, she ended with a few quips and tips to all the aspiring entrepreneurs who want to build their own businesses:
- “Don't be afraid. Though granted that during these times, we may be conservative financially in order to maximise our resources, if you thoroughly look into different types of businesses, you will find the right one for you. You will never know until you try.”
- “Do something that you love. Not just for the love of money, but also something you are passionate about. I tried just doing it for money, and it dragged the business down.”
- “Enjoy. My friend Aiko, a scholar and a working student, was able to balance all her duties and still was able to find her ‘escape’—something that she enjoys doing. For me, Satin & Lace was therapeutic and my escape. It makes me happy.”
- “If it works, it works. If not, then not. Risk will always be there. You will never overcome the risk unless you try.”
- “Treat the business as something that gives you happiness, not a source of profit. If you are passionate about it, it reflects on your disposition and will show to your clients your motive in building the business. As you treat it with love and pour your heart and soul into it, the value of the business will speak for itself.”
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