Every entrepreneur starts somewhere and we think Lulu O’Connor is onto a good thing; targeting the seamstress market, an - as yet - untapped online industry.

Lulu O'Connor set up Clothes Doctor, a London-based digital start-up offering clothing repairs, customization and alterations to all Central London postcodes. Lulu studied economics and management at Oxford, and then worked as a retail analyst at Credit Suisse and later (like so many brilliant entrepreneurs) Goldman Sachs. Her long term goal is to team up with online luxury boutiques, so that if an item is sold out in a size, customers can buy it big and add Clothes Doctor to their basket to get it taken in. Here Lulu talks about making mistakes, online challenges and Khalil Gibran.

I came up with the idea when… out looking for someone to replace my torn coat pockets earlier this year. It seemed a massive hassle, as someone who normally only shops online, I didn’t know who I could trust, and sure enough it was done poorly by a local dry cleaner with the holes reappearing in a matter of weeks.

The biggest challenge is… switching off. There are hundreds of juicy challenges day-to-day, but these get resolved and on to the next. Switching off is one that keeps cropping up.

The average day is… spent working from home in Earls Court. I usually start early with a cup of tea and work flat out till mid-afternoon, when I take the dog for a walk, make some phone calls and do any collections and deliveries of orders that are in easy reach of my flat. If I don’t have evening plans I tend to log back on later to do the easy tasks which don’t take too much brainpower!

The team consists of… two wonderfully talented seamstresses, our CTO and me. We also have courier partners with whom we work very closely.

My favourite quote is… by Khalil Gibran – “Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.”

I am where I am today because… I can’t be happy unless doing something I really believe in. And I love a challenge.

I am who I am because of… my parents, who worked incredibly hard and made lots of sacrifices to give me a wonderful start in life.

The best advice I've been given was… from my old Director of Studies at school, in response to a question I asked. He said “You shouldn’t think ‘will this be too competitive?’ You should think of yourself as someone who’s able to compete”.

In five years I’d like to be… taking a nice long holiday, ideally climbing a mountain or visiting some forgotten temples.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online is… that you probably can’t take a holiday for quite a long time, unless there’s really good wifi.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us was… to under-estimate how long the website would take to build. We are currently around four months behind schedule and counting. It taught us to take developer deadlines with a big pinch of salt.

September 2017