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Getting Down to Business with Claire Pateman

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

How do you become a successful female entrepreneur in a man's world? If you're Claire Pateman, CEO of Annabelle's Wigs, you simply refuse to accept that it is a man's world!

After having her first child, Claire made the decision to escape the corporate world and follow her dream of running her own business. In this episode, Claire talks to Mo Kanjilal about how she made her small idea into a huge success, the pitfalls along the way, and why inclusion is so important when building a customer base.

Plus Zoe Thompson gives us this month's What Fresh Hell Is This? report.

So, and welcome to the reimagination at work podcast from watch this space. This is the podcast where we help you to reimagine the world of work and think of new ways of doing things and new ideas. I'm Ocannglo, I'm one of the CO creators of watch this space, and this episode is sponsored by Plus Accounting, a firm of experience chartered accountants based in Brighton and Hove. They offer a comprehensive range of tax and accounting services, so, whether you're just starting out or thinking about selling your business, they can provide you with the support and guidance that you need to keep control of your finances and plan your affairs for maximum efficiency. What makes them stand out from the crowd is their genuine interest in you and your business. They take the time to understand what's important to you and then tailor their services to your requirements. Whether this means helping you to set up a zero accounting system, improving the profitability of Your Business or advising on complex tax issues, they can help you with all of these matters. So thanks very much to plus accounting for sponsoring this episode and the guest I have on this episode. I'm very excited about I'm free to introduce Claire Patement, CEO of Annabel's wigs. Hello, Claire, hello, lovely to be here. Hello, lovely tell you on the show. Thanks so much for joining us and fold just go to your clas and I've known each other for many years, so we're going to do our best to knock, cackle and behave ourselves, kind of, kind of. Ye. So, and Claire's the CEO of and a bols weeks. So, Clare, can you just tell us a bit about you and how you start to the business? I started an Abos weeks fourteen years ago when I was up on eternally with my daughter. I'd always wanted to run my own business. I kind of came from a family who got entrepreneurs and I desperately wanted to start working in the corporate words and work for myself. And when I was off from eternally, that was the first time I had to kind of start researching different things. I research so much and came up on this idea of wigs and hair pieces and I loved wearing wigs and hair piece, of going clubbing and, you know, changing into different hairstyles, and so I was totally started. It from scratch and just on Ebay, and then over the the next six to twelve months it just it just kind of started to take off and we were getting like lots of more sales and and my business partner here is amazing at a Seo, yeah, and making web pages, Internet design, web design. Yeah, and he started our website for us and then, because he was so good at that, everything kind of took off. So we started having like a few different ranges of colors and we didn't design anything ourselves, and then we kind of got a bit more confident you, and we started to design our own star on works, are own...

...color and we kind of went into like a few niche markets, like we were. We used to provide biks for lots of our less dancers, which is always fun going to like the less performances and seeing them on show. And then we started designing lots of vintage weeks so, and we still designers of vintage rays at the moment. We kind of we have a lot of the monopoly on that kind of style and design. And how do did you scale it? So you started it and you had it was just you doing that from home, and then the website. How did you reach out and find these markets that you were selling to. Oh, main little social media. Right, it was social media first and then having the website. But it was when I started there wasn't Instagram, wasn't big at all. It was mainly facebook and twitter and we used to sell loans through twitter. But as time as evolved, you know, different social media platforms have taken over and it's total less on twitter and so much more on instagram. And I guess Instagram is so visual. Yeah, and having a product that's very visual, it's a great way to promote it. And you've had lots of media coverage as well, and over the years turns a bit about that. Yeah, we're we've been really lucky. We provided the weeks for the Olympics. We've done we've done lots of movies. We've done doctor who, we've done James Bar on. It is always really exciting when you go to a movie and you see your wigs. Wow, is like, oh my God, my wigs out there. Yeah, and and that bear that side of it is great. and has that happened through social media, people finding out about you that way? No, I think a lot of it was through me networking right in the beginning I would I would lend out two models to hairstylist and then I will go along to shoot. So and I'd start to meet loads of people and most of the people that I deal with now, who are like hairstylists, but you know, TV and film, I met a long, long time ago in the beginning, right, okay, yeah, and so we talked a lot about women in business and like women started businesses. The story that you've told actually is when we hear a lot where people women have been working in corporate and it's not suiting their life and they want to do something themselves and then they want to start a business and I guess the difficult thing for people is like how do you do that? How do you take those steps starting a business? So do you think, because of the market you're in, has been a woman held you back in anyway or just think it's been more of an advantage? No, I think for me I grew up in a house on where there was total quality, so I never ever felt being a woman was going to hold me back and I went to a same sex school and never had that feeling. But I can imagine lots of other women definitely have that, especially coming out of a corporate well where it's not always equal. You definitely don't feel you're runing the same money...

...as a man in the same position as you. And that bit of going from a full time job to start your own business is really scary because you're going from a full times as you know, you yeah, from full time salary, into something you had no idea about. It's like the dream or the idea that you've had in your head foot you know, six months a year coming hopefully becoming a success and coming to something. So when I started I was kind of lucky. I was I was working a law fan and I went back to work after I turn my daughter a couple of days a week, so I still had some, you know, some regular money coming in. But then I also had the other money from from selling the race and I would secretly go out at lunchtime and post the way they would have liked it. Side business and then with the brand, because you've got really distinctive brand and, like your instagram post have got a really distinct style about them. How have you developed that? And, like the style of representing women, think always one I want this to be total diversity we're putting out. I don't want it to it to just be one type of women, especially when you're building a business, you want to appeal to everybody. Yeah, well, we just really wanted to appeal to everyone and be really diverse and and show lots of different stars of women feeling confident and happy about themselves in our wigs, because, you know, sometimes we have girls that just want to wear with because they want to change our start, or we have ladies that native because they've got hair loss. We just want to be an affordable brand that really helps you feel good about yourself. Yeah, and that is one thing I think if you do have hair loss, it is for whatever reason. It is a real confidence not if you can, you know, just spend what we did try and keeper wigs. That quite reason for us. Thirty pounds on just having a new, glamorous hairstyle. That can make all the different. Yeah, having a really crappy day to feeling confident in yourself. Yeah, definitely. And I loved hearing from you at beginning of the pandemic when we were in look down where you saying like it's going crazy. Pe've been buying wigs, and I was like yeah, because they're on all these zoom calls. So they want to look different for them, because I didn't even know. I kept thinking, where are they going in there? It was only you that said that because, yeah, I could not understand. I was not questioning it because it was really good, but I could not understand. Don't yeah, I think it was. It was totally zoom. It was zoom partisans where you have peo. Wanted a new look for those zoom parties. Yeah, I love that. Yeah, great, and we're going to take a short break and cut to the what fresh hell is this report? Welcome to this episode's what fresh Hell is this report? On the thirty of July, two twenty one, the author, poet...

...and teacher Kate clanchy was accused of racism in her book some kids I taught and what they taught me. She actively denied these accusations but, as usual, people have fled to twitter with a plethora of accurate and quite disturbing receipts. Numerous readers have pointed out the racial slurs, classism, stereotyping and fat phobia featured in the book, all of which were for genuine descriptions she had used for her students. This is brought to attention serious questions on contemporary pedagogy and the abuse of authority in educational contexts. It also shows light upon how we still have miles to go with abolishing discrimination in the publishing industry. Similarly, Scottish Health Secretary Sues a nursery in Dundee over race discrimination. In an article on the independent, it is said that SMP politician whoms are USUF and his partner, Nadia L Nackler, took the step after the nursery said that it could not accept their younger daughter, even though a white child of a friend was later offered a place at the same facility. The nursery has been called to publicly apologize and agree to make a donation to an anti racist charity of the clients choosing within the next fortnight, the annual rowing event, the Hennily Royal Regatta, has just updated its dress code to allow women to wear trousers for the very first time since one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine. In it's one hundred and eighty two year history, is had strict gendered dress codes, which have only changed due to Georgina Grant, an Oxford student and member of the University Women's Boat Club, who launched a petition that garners more than one tho six hundred signatures. And lastly, the climate continues to be of low priority to the UK government, as they have been found to spend just zero, point zero one of its GDP on fighting the climate crisis. The WWF says that this is just isn't enough to accommodate for the cleaner, greener future we will want to see, and this warning is made even more desperate after the latest landmark you and report, which states a code read for humanity when it comes to tackling the environmental emergency. Thank you for tuning in to this episode's what fresh Hell is this report? Thank you, Zarry, for the reports. That was great to hear from me, and Claire, back to talking about you and Anna bows wings. So another thing that people talk to us about a law is they want to start a business, but I'm not sure how it's going to work and like the challenges of running your own business. So talk to me a bit about how that's been. You know how busy it's been and how you've kind of managed your different tasks. Wow, when you start your own business. You are doing everything. Yeah, and yeah, it is very scary in my beginning, like I said before, because you have no idea if it's going to have sixtyings or not, and suddenly you find yourself, you know, being an accountant, packing, doing social media, doing everything. Yeah, and you kind of have to it because you can't afford anyone else to do it for you. And...

...as wear in the beginning, I mean if for me especially, I used to work to like ten and love another at night. Did you never seem to be enough time in the day? Door. Yeah, and also you're quite excited because it's something new and it's exciting and it's yours and you want it to work. So you you want to work really hard at it. But it is really scary and I think it is. I think starting something new you have to well, it's much better if you try and do as much research about a product before, yeah, you start. So at least you've got a little bit of information behind you before you before you embark on any business. So you knew that it was unique where you were offering when you diverted the business. I knew it was. I from the research I done. I thought it was something that could work and also I love weeks and hair extensions and hairpieces. Yeah, so I thought it was something I was passionate yet and that hell doesn't it feel passionate about it? There then you're going to do your best to make it work. But it was it was only kind of started, because you could do all the research in the world, but it's that first giant and that first step and it is just a juggling ball of, you know, trying to do so many things that want, yeah, to make it become a success, and it is a scary time. Yeah, and then you grown. It's gradually grown. ASTS the house. Yeah, and then it's fredually grown. You've got your own premises, so as the garage and specially I remember that. So they did they come a point where you felt confident enough to then take the steps to take on premises? Yeah, Oh God, it was like it was in the house and then it was in the spare bedroom and then we're converted to the garage and then we saw all my boy, we've got a bit of extra money and we made a big shed in the back garden and then after that, when everything was full and you couldn't walk for anywhere in the House for Cha tripping up over wigs, we just kind of thought, okay, maybe we could, couldn't, get some premises. And again, that's friendly to have premises, but it is works really well having that. And my God, it is so nice not having your house full of wiks. Yeah, and the Nice thing about it is I don't work all the hours anymore because your house you just think, you know, there's no knocking off time. Yeah, you're worried you're working all the time. Yeah, and that kind of brings us me on to like working hours and being your mum, because if you stayed in your career in law, you would have had, you know, stricks working hours to tell me about that. How different is being running your reason? I would never go back. Oh my God, it's so good. So when I lived in Brian and worked in London I would really early. I wouldn't get home to like seven o'clock, but now I go in to work for Hal plus nine and I can kind of fit on. Our Post comes and they pick up post up at three o'clock, so I can kind of finish for going to pick up my kissomer school.

Yeah, and in the summer holidays and any holidays. It's so good I don't need to worry about childcare because I can take some time off and under my kids. Yeah, and also, if I have to, they can come into workmen. How about the weeks or yeah, I know, I know, you tell me about that before they happen in too work. Mainly they run around and travel the wigs and that's it, but you know, sometimes they've got a coming. Yeah, yeah, definitely. So tell me about a bit more about your hopes for the future of the business and how you see things developing. Well, we've been designing loads of new wigs and hairpieces that we're launching really soon. We because we have so many vintage hair pieces, decided we're going to really expand on that and do hairpieces and weeks throughout the eras. So we're going to do from the s up to the s where it's going to be like crazy back of mullets. Yeah, it's a come back into fashure. So we are going to be getting, we're having made at the moment, a whole load of the crazy looking mallets and we're also going into more hair extensions and polotails, but for us we don't really use human hair. It's sthetic. Okay, because we want it to be ethical. Yeah, okay, because I well, well, that's the other thing. What about wedding? Because I wore one of your hair is is it my wedding? Yeah, did. Yeah, I mean we do work with loads of hair stylists that do brice because it's much easier. Yeah, happy is that? You're well, well, you know. I mean, how long did it take for that spop? Why? Exactly? I mean it was complete. I didn't have to worry about my hair because of the hairpie just looked all long and flowing. Yeah, I think that's the thing with those her pieces is it's kind of like instant glamor. Yeah, you stick it on. It's so easy to put on. You don't need to be hair size to put on, especially our three quarter weeks, and and then you instantly have really long, full, glamorous hair. I think the only thing is when you take it off, so the your hair undernie feels like really boring. Yeah, although usually do. I remember I'd fall mine. On days where I don't fall up, my hair looks like good. Just to cover it up. You can do that. God, so great. Yeah, exactly. And then with WHO wears you buy some weeks now and who wears them? Is it just anybody that's doing that, or is it celebrities? And he continued with sort of TV shows and things like that. I mean with the pandemic, TV and theater especially kind of dropped topics since everything's been open up again, where lots of it is so good that lots of theaters of started working again. TV shows, yes, we get lots of celebrities wearing the words and I think a lot of the time the styles are celebrity driven. So you'll get one the one of the Kadashians wearing a certain style and then that would be the thing that everybody wants to yeah, but then those kind of styles and colors go in and out of fashion very quickly. Yeah, and how do you keep up with all these different friends? Is it three? Following social media? Yes, I definitely...

...follow a lot of celebrities that have pop hair social media. Yeah, we'll continuously designing like more and more wigs, which actually is really fun. That's one of the best bits about the job that I really enjoy. Yeah, it's just going out there and finding what's the most on trend thing and then designing it and then seeing you're designing real life. Yeah, and then hopefully people are buy it, because there've been many times that I've designed absolute kippers which no one has ever bought. My worst one was a pink a throw and then no one wanted done known. And then with things like social media, you mentioned earlier on about how used to be twitter and then it's instagram. What about things like Tick Tock? Can you ventured into video a little bit right? I mean normally what I will do is I don't feel like personally I could make a ticktock video in a wig. I much prefer it if the people, if the influences, yeah, we'd do it. But yeah, I mean those are members that we work with our on Tick Tock. At the moment I'm doing most of social media and it's such a big job. Yeah, so I do find that I focus on one thing more than another, but I'd have just started a tick tock account. But at the moment I think we've only got seven followers. People follows wigs and too far. Yeah, legs on SEC top and lots more videos are going on there, but yet it took is massive at the moment. Yeah, it really is. It's really taken off over the last year. Yeah, and then go on instagram. You have influences that you provide weeks do and then they send you pictures and things for its. So I mean not just influences. We have lovely girls that we work with. We have Annabel's wigs, muses who are girls, the that we send wegs to, normal girls. Ye, influences, just normal customers that we said we so. And yes, we work a lot, a lot with influences as well. Yeah, and you do competitions and things. I see. Yeah, we love a claims. Yes, I mean God, it's always, you know, everybody boots to win something. Yeah, it's great having a competition. I am to loves the competitions on INSTAGRAM. It's just I think it just keeps the social media alive. Yeah, keeps it more interesting as well. Yeah, okay. And then in terms of like starting your own business and growing it in the way you've done, do you have any advice for people that have an idea and want to do this themselves? I'm honest, they just go for it. Just go for it. Yeah, go for you know, do your research, spend some time looking at your competitors and then, if you think it's a volable product, just take that first out, because it is the best thing. Yeah, saying that I ever did. Fantastic. And did you get advice from people before you started, like, you know,...

...financial vice, things like that? No, and I don't know if that's silly on that it might have taken over the world of basic I had. So you've never a like applied for funding things like that. It's all just me now. I mean I've been really luckily because my business partner, he is so good at the back office thing. Yeah, and SEO and making the website look really pretty. Know it? Yeah, Eve net. It never was that much of a problem getting people onto the website to shop, which I know is a problem for you know, or not a problem, but you know, I heard. Or you have to get yeah, I have to get over having a business. We've been really lucky in that respect and he regrets anything that you'd have done differently. The Pink lathy brilliant. And then I'm in terms of like Daytoday, running is it now at the point where, I know you talked about that. You don't work such long hours now. Is it now at the point where it's manageable and you have the help that you need, fair finances and things like that? Yeah, before Covid we used to have more people coming to help. Yeah, and so that I did mean that for me, I would have more time to do marketing. Yeah, and now, because of Covid it there's just two of us in the office, which sometimes is a struggle getting everything done. And even though, yes, I do go home a three and look after the kids, I will be working on instaiment of the night at the moment, because of Covid I really do enjoy doing instagram as well. And Yeah, it's really lovely when you see again people have been min your wigs who have felt less confident suddenly and I have all these confidence and you know, seeing them happy is is a really good thing. Brilliant. Well, Claire. Thank you so much for talking about the business. Now over to you to tell everybody where they can find you, website, social media except. So, if you are looking for wigs or hairpieces, perony tails or extensions, have a look on Anabel's wigstode at UK. Our Social Media Instagram is Anabel's underscore wigs we have very reasonable wigs and hair pieces and every single style, including a pink. Brilliant. Thank you so much, Claire, and this has been the reimagination at work podcast. I'm Ro Canada, one of the CO creators of watch this space and find watch this space, go to watch this space dot UK and on social media we are at watch this spce and thanks so much to pluster counting for this sponsoring this episode, and we will see you next time. Hi,.

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