As Butler Stewart celebrates its second birthday this week, I wanted to share with you a bit about this lovely tweed company and its founder Anna Butler. Here’s her ‘a few minutes with…’
Tell us about you and your background
I am incredibly lucky to have had a fantastic childhood growing up on my family farm in Essex. With my love of design I completed a degree in BA (Hons) Exhibition, Museum and Event Design. I then went on to live in London where I discovered my love for fabric and tailoring. I have always had a passion for the countryside; I regularly participate in country sports and spent a numbers of years working in the shooting industry where I gained invaluable experience and contacts.
What made you want to start Butler Stewart?
After working in London in the high-end retail industry for many years I decided I wanted to start up an exclusive brand selling country and town clothing for men and ladies. Tweed is often associated with muddy farmers and English gentry but my aim is to help change this perception by designing beautiful timeless garments that can be worn with your everyday wardrobe.
How is Butler Stewart different?
Butler Stewart focuses on high quality tweed, exquisite tailoring and intricate detail. Butler Stewart also offers a popular made to order service allowing customers to create a unique garment, a niche when exhibiting at shows around the UK.
What makes your products special?
I have an amazing tailor who takes my designs and creates the most beautiful pieces. All the collections are tailored in limited edition ensuring you stand out from the crowd. The collections are made up of unique styles, distinctive features and colourful fabrics creating understated British elegance.
If you had to sum up your business in five words, what would they be?
Specialising in tailoring and tweed.
Do you have a motto or ethos?
My personal favourite: What if I fall? Oh, but my darling what if you fly.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?
A strong and bulletproof business plan and budget is key. I regularly update and refer back to my business plan to make sure that I am staying on track with what I would like to achieve. It is very important to create a clear brand. Customers must understand what your business is all about and this is fundamentally built around your brand.
One thing that helps you run your business more effectively
I can’t live without Photoshop! The design programme allows me to customise images so that I can regularly update my website and to promote the brand and garments through newsletters, social media and print advertising and to have excellent visual merchandising at the shows.
Best thing about running a business?
Being your own boss is exceptionally satisfying (and terrifying). It can be extremely hard work but the rewards are more than worth it.
Worst thing about running a business?
Being a sole trader can be very daunting, I have found it is very important to have a strong network of business connections and also supportive friends and family.
Top business blog you follow
I regularly read Drapers’ Blog, featuring different key industry leaders, which helps keep me up to date with all the latest fashion, retail news and advice.
Top business book you’ve read
One thing we might not know about you
My ancestor, George Courtauld, established a successful textile company in the Essex countryside called George Courtauld & Co. and was a worldwide manufacturer of fabric, clothing and artificial fibres. My curiosity in my ancestors from a young age helped strengthen my interest in fabric and tailoring.
Top business achievement
Building a successful and profitable business within two years of launching.
Where can people follow you or your business online?