“I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW WHERE TO START, BUT I JUST HELD ON TO THE FACT THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!”
Successful business owner and Mum of three, Sophie Davies, has carved an incredible path for herself – and some might say she has defied all odds since becoming a mum for the first time at the age of 15. Not letting the fact that she was a teenage Mum stand in her way, Sophie went on to complete her A Levels, and embark on a career as a well respected Personal Trainer. It was during her personal training classes that Sophie had an epiphany that would lead her into the world of entrepreneurship, and start up her business SCULPT. During her five years of running her ever growing business, Sophie has had another two children and continued to successfully manage work alongside juggling her brood! We had the pleasure of hearing all about Sophie’s inspiring journey and how herself and her partner of 12 years took a huge risk in order to chase their dreams, and build an incredible business and life for them and their three children, Lilly, 12, Oakley, 3 and Tierra 2,
SOPHIE DAVIES OWNER OF SCULPT ACTIVEWEAR |
IMAGES BY TOM PITFIELD FOR BROOD MAGAZINE ©
INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIE DAVIES, OWNER OF SCULPT ACTIVEWEAR
You have 3 children and also run a successful business, how do you do it?
“Well we had Lilly, our oldest when I was 15 years old. When people ask me how I do it, it’s hard to explain because I’ve never known life without having kids. My entire adult life I’ve been a parent. I’ve essentially grown up with my eldest.
There is only 10 months between my youngest two and I found having them a lot more difficult and harder to adapt to than I did having Lilly. I would also say it’s a lot easier running a business alongside bringing up a family, than it is bringing up a child whilst you are still at school and college. I did my A Levels whilst Lilly was a baby and that was very difficult, so if I can get through that then having a business alongside the kids is totally doable! Obviously having a business is hard and having a baby is hard, but I feel like I was really prepared for it having gone through what I did whilst Lilly was a baby.”
What have you found to be one of the most challenging times since running your business?
“The business hit a pivotal point when we turned 5 and I think years 3, 4 and 5 are really difficult in a business, because it’s when you go through the transition of being a small business to a medium one. When you’re a small business your outgoings are really small, you don’t have staff and usually when people say ‘we’ on social media or their website like there is a big team behind it, and usually it’s just them; just that one person, or two people at the most, doing pretty much everything behind the brand – and that was me and my partner! It’s that ‘fake it till you make’ an analogy. But when the ‘we’ actually means ‘we’ properly when you do have a team of staff, then your overheads are big because you have wages to pay, you need a bigger workspace and you have more stock and you have to take bigger risks and it can be a lot more stressful than it was when you started out. So, I do feel I’ve been challenged more in that last 24 months than ever before with the business and obviously having two babies going into toddlers at the same time has been hard.”
What is one of the most important things to you about your business?
“I don’t want more people to wear SCULPT so that I have more money, I want people to wear SCULPT, so that they are wearing SCULPT, so that they are feeling confident and that they have the best quality on. Because that is at the core of why I started this brand. Our brand is renowned for its quality and we never compromise on that. I think that’s why we have a cult following with SCULPT, who buy every drop. It’s amazing because there are people with SCULPT wardrobes, SCULPT drawers and tagging us in to show us, because SCULPT means a lot to them like it does to me. If you look at our following we have 30k followers but I have friends who have 200-300k followers but they don’t have the cult core customers like we do. They might have people who buy from them as one off but it’s not the same. So I would much rather be where I am with our business and have that loyal customer base who love what we do. I think it shows that aside from what people are trained to think, followers do not equal sales.”
SOPHIE DAVIES OWNER OF SCULPT ACTIVEWEAR WITH TWO OF HER CHILDREN | IMAGES BY TOM PITFIELD ©
What inspired you to start SCUPLT and when did you take the leap into becoming a business owner?
“I started SCULPT five years ago and the idea came to me as I was a Personal Trainer and I used to watch women always pulling their leggings up! And that was the simple inspiration behind it. At the time there were no fashion and fitness brands, where that looked good but equally they were practical too. So Lilly was 6 and was 21, when I started SCULPT. It took about a year where I was trying to find the right supplier and that was a tough process. I didn’t really know where to start, but I just held on to the fact that ‘Anything is possible’ and kept going, and eventually I found somewhere. Then I basically transferred our entire savings to China, which I look back and think was so risky – they could have just taken our money and not sent us anything! [She laughs]
I look back at our first products now and I do not like them at all, but I heard a saying that I like that makes me feel better about that – ‘If you’re not embarrassed by your first products then you launched too late!’ We have come on so much since then. I say this a lot but I really don’t think the quality of SCULPT products can be matched. We pay so much for our stuff so the margins are so smaller than other brands, but it’s so important to us that the quality is unmatched so that’s why we do it.”
Did you always have the ambition of running your own business?
“Yes, I always wanted my own business, but I never knew what direction it would be in, but I just knew I didn’t want to work for anyone else. And someone said to me once, ‘Usually what you want to do is right in front of you but you just don’t see it!’ When I first had the epiphany I kind of held it off at first, simply because I didn’t know where to start and then one day I just thought, ‘Right, let’s just get some samples!’ But samples can be really expensive so it was hard to take the plunge initially. But when they arrived I remember feeling this fire in me that I hadn’t ever had for anything else before and that’s when I I knew it was right.”
At what point did the business become successful enough for you to leave behind your job as a PT?
“I ran the business alongside my job as a personal trainer for around 2 years later, so it wasn’t an overnight success, but I’m glad it wasn’t, as I think sometimes when that success comes so quickly you can get a false sense of security. Whereas when it takes that much longer you don’t take anything for granted. I think you learn so many valuable lessons at the beginning of starting a business, especially when you haven’t had any background in building a business.”
What is the difference between Sophie at home and work mode Sophie?
“Having three kids is a lot! Having two was hard, but having three is like an army! It’s hard because you are constantly trying to divide your attention between three different personalities of three different ages. When it comes to the kids I’m really soft, I just melt with them, which is totally different to how I am when it comes to the business. I think there are so many qualities and skills that you can take from being a mum that you can take into business life. People always say if you want something doing ask a busy mum – because you learn how multi task so many things! My passion for being a parent and never wanting to disappoint the kids, is the same as I am with SCULPT, as I would never want to disappoint a customer either!”
Written by Lolo Stubbs
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD
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