Vicki Wallis

Vicki Wallis is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and founder of The Fashion Business Coach which helps small fashion brands to launch and scale, Vicki Wallis Consulting, which supports established brands to grow their profits and Freelancing Simplified, which helps freelance creatives to achieve life-work balance. She loves helping people to reach their potential and create a profitable business that supports a lifestyle they love.

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.

I grew up in a small village in England and have always loved to learn. Initially I’d planned to become a human rights lawyer, because I wanted to make a difference in the world, but I quickly learnt that there were other ways to have an impact that I found more enjoyable, so I switched to study design and marketing. I worked for big fashion brands for about 12 years before branching out to start my own fashion line. At that time {2010} there wasn’t much support for brands starting with a small budget like mine, so there was a lot of trial and error at the start and progress was slow. But I eventually figured it out and my brand was sold all over the world, to customers and stores. This inspired starting The Fashion Business Coach in 2016, because I wanted to make having a fashion line accessible to more people and showing how it can be done without a huge budget. Plus, sustainability and ethics is something really important to me, so I’ve also used The Fashion Business Coach as a platform to raise awareness and attempt to change the negative impact fast fashion has on the world.  

Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say YES, go for it!”

For me, the biggest factor was wanting to enjoy my work and having free time freedom. In the fashion industry the conditions can be rough and the hours are long – at one point I went an entire year without any days off and I knew I didn’t want to live like that anymore. Friends and family are the most important thing to me and I knew I needed to go for it and create my own business so that I could actually spend time with them. When I first quit my job and launched my business I lived half a world away from my family (they’re in England and I was in New Zealand), so I hadn’t seen them in far too long and wanted the freedom to be able to visit.

Tell us something about your initiative or current role. What is it about, and what impact are you trying to make?

With all three companies, the main purpose is always to help people reach their potential and create a profitable business that supports a lifestyle they love. Plus, educating on sustainability and ethics and how we can create a positive impact in the world. 

One new initiative that I’m rolling out this year is making community integral to everything I’m doing, especially on the marketing side and also for members inside my courses and programs. Later this year I want to run live versions of my courses so that members can interact and get custom feedback and support in real time so they can overcome their challenges and improve their results.

Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?

Thanks! There’s a lot of things I’m proud of – like having my brand and business featured in publications I love and being named in Yahoo! Finance’s ‘Women in Sustainability to Know’ article, but the achievement I’m most proud of is the thank you messages that I get from clients. When I get messages from them saying I’ve ‘made their dream come true’, I know I’m on the right track!

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

There’s so many changes I would like to see – how much space do we have?! Top of mind is equality and fairness in the world, giving everyone access to safety, happiness and opportunity. 

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women leadership today?

During my career, I’d estimate around 90% of the leaders I’ve worked with are female, which is great to see and shows that times are changing. I appreciate that it’s not the same everywhere and I know there’s still a lot of work to be done still in order to achieve true equality, but it’s important for us to have confidence that there are positions out there for us.

What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

I’ve worked with considerably more female entrepreneurs and leaders than I have male, so I can say with certainty there are opportunities for us. For those thinking of starting their own business, I can wholeheartedly say it’s been hugely rewarding. There’s a lot of highs and lows, for sure, but the highs can outweigh the lows massively. If you’re willing to put in the work, learn, try things and adapt, Women can make great entrepreneurs. Forbes agrees with me too! In November they wrote; ‘Women founders tend to build businesses that generate more revenues, create higher job growth, dream bigger, and execute better.’