Following the interest since Global Entrepreneurship Week last month, University of Westminster has continued to engage with students who has bright ideas to start their own businesses. Masha Latman, one of University of Westminster’s BA Fashion Design alumni has been sponsored by the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme, and was interviewed on how she came up with her idea.
What is your business idea?
‘My business idea is a fashion brand called VERTEP. The original meaning of the word [Vertep] is a portable drama or puppet theatre which was used in Ukraine starting from 16th century. Nowadays, VERTEP, is luxury brand with multifunctional pieces, they can be used for dressing up people of different ages, genders and cultures.’
What experience do you have in fashion? And what did you learn?
‘Prior to developing my ideas, I had experiences working at fashion houses including McQueen, Alexander Wang and Nicomede Talevera and others. What I have learnt through these experiences was that fashion start-up brand mainly consists of three parts – high craftsmanship fashion design; smart and simple business structure; and most importantly the third element is an inspiring (and inspired) strong character on top of it.’
With many online brands these days, it must be difficult to make a statement?
‘Yes, definitely. Making a statement with fashion is becoming harder since the world is flooded with online brands – the competition is only becoming higher. Nowadays, it is no longer about making a nice skirt or a dress, as it has already been done before. Modern fashion brand is about having those three key things I mentioned, carefully thought through.’
What are some thoughts you’d like to share with other students, who may be thinking of starting their own business as well?
‘My main advice is that, nobody loses on trying. Because first you have a chance to win, but also even if you don’t, you gain so much experience in the process that it is always worth trying.
For those who do not have a business background, I myself as a designer and not having a business background was not a problem. In fact, it challenged me to learn things to make it work, so it was actually a benefit. Also, I realised I’ve always been very business-minded, I just never had the chance to put it in to practice until I applied for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme.
‘I find the opportunity to turn my ideas into reality absolutely stimulating and thrilling.’