Super Nikki Hesford founder and MD of Miss Fit UK
How long have you been running your business?
I have a few different businesses, but the main two are Miss Fit UK (a manufacturing company making lingerie and clothing) which I have been running since mid-2008 and the Big Bra Bar.com – an ecommerce solution selling lingerie, clothing and swimwear to the big busted woman.
What motivated you to set up your business?
It was entirely by accident, as I was shopping for clothing to wear for a job interview I was having increasing difficulty finding a high-street shirt in a size 8 that would button up appropriately over my DD bust. It seemed like a common problem to me, (a basic Google search revealed over 60% of UK women to be a D cup or above) and yet the only solution available was Bravissmo who were aimed at a much older audience and priced out of my budget. Although Miss Fit UK was formed purely to manufacture a handful of shirts to sell online, this quickly grew and before we knew it, we were being asked to make lingerie and wholesale it to the high street. From thereon in Miss Fit UK has been a business2business company which paved the way for a second company, selling to the consumer.
What was your previous life?
Life before business was almost as fast paced, in the five years prior to starting the business I had had my son, been a single parent, had a glamour modelling career, gone to university to study English Literature for three years at Lancaster and had a brief dalliance with property development and a dream to be a mortgage advisor. Unfortunately, financial services is a very target driven environment and not ideally suited to a single mum with a small child to run home to at 5pm every night when the rest of the team would stay late to meet demands.
What are your challenges?
There are always lots of challenges, when you go to work nine til five, most people leave their work in the office. But when you run a business, it never stops. You come home and you have children to feed, and a house to tidy, and homework to do, and then it’s back to work again into the evening. Even when you physically step away from the computer, you still burden the responsibility of deals that could go wrong, staff who rely on you to pay their bills, clients with lingerie shops who rely on you to provide the goods for them to provide themselves with a living – it is enormous pressure and responsibility to make sure you don’t let anybody down, whilst also trying not to let down your own family. Sometimes as you’re juggling everything, you drop a few balls, have a few nights where chips have been on the menu a bit too often or had a few emotional moments when the mother in law has turned up and made a point of asking you if you are managing okay whilst looking up the mountain or ironing and the carpet that hasn’t been hoovered for a week, and you wonder whether you are strong enough to keep being all things to all people. But somehow you just do!
What would make your life easier?
But I would settle for the ability to be able to hire a cleaner, without feeling the need to clean up before she arrives. I am my own worst enemy, but unfortunately most people who are successful in business to do because they are control freaks!
Where do you see your business in 10 years time?
In ten years I expect to have sold and built many different businesses, as well as invested and seed funded other start-ups too.
To find out more about Nikki Hesford click here .