Supporting Horsham’s women in business

WiB Sophie Ward photographer
WiB Sophie Ward photographer

Charlotte Harding talks to a Horsham businesswoman and personality about boosting confidence and supporting one another.

Women and confidence don’t always go hand in hand.

Alice Chambers

Alice Chambers

Be it the things we do or the clothes we wear, many women are often second guessing themselves.

Horsham’s Alice Chambers wants to change this through networking group Women in Business and her own company Essence of Fashion.

“I want women to feel confident in how they look no matter their age or size,” she explains.

“That is really important to me to give women confidence.”

WiB

WiB

Alice set up Essence of Fashion 13 years ago after becoming frustrated with how hard it was to find anything to suit and fit the number of different shapes and sizes that women come in.

“I buy one of everything or the same style but in different colours” explains Alice.

“Once it is gone it is gone. That way the women that buy from me know that they won’t go out and find someone in exactly the same outfit. There is nothing worse then being out having bought something from the high street and see someone else in it.”

Stocking tops, scarves, ponchos and accessories Alice attends trade shows to pick up her stock and only buys what she likes herself as she says if she feels ‘passionate about it then she can sell it’.

WiB

WiB

She adds that the clothes she stocks are versatile and can easily go from day to night.

“It can be as simple as adding a necklace or scarf,” she says.

“I was tempted at first to call the business ‘one pair of trousers’ as that’s all I think you need.

“I try and sell clothes for £38 and under. I like selling interesting scarves as no matter how much you have to spend or your size you can buy a scarf and update an outfit and feel great.”

Alice has also in the past made jewellery as she found she was allergic to a lot of things.

“I was living in the Bahamas at the time and we came back to the UK and I found this woman who sold me some hypoallergenic clips,” she says. “I found some beautiful beads and when I got back to the Bahamas I started to make and sell items. I made so much that I was able to take my family on holiday to Orlando.

“When we decided to come back here, there was so much competition that I decided I was going to give it up but a friend of mine encouraged me to carry on. Then when my youngest went to university I decided to go into clothing as that is where my passion lies.”

Alice has been a member of Women in Business for about 13 years, but has been running it for the last three.

“The person doing it was going to stop so the said to me ‘why don’t you do it’,” she says.

“So I did.

“It is a great support network.

“We meet once a week and we do breakfasts and lunches, there are loads of social events people can bring their partners or friends to.

“I have been to some networking events and it can be really formal but this is relaxed we all sit around have some food, chat and have a talk each session.

“You don’t feel like you are being sold to. It is about supporting one another.

“It is a business group to make business friends who then become friends.”

Sometimes that is all women need, support to boost their confidence and make them realise their potential. Another string to Alice’s bow is raising money for charity and she has a fashion show in early April..

“I have raised about £45,000 for charity over the last 13 years hosting fashion shows,” she says.

“I haven’t done one for about six years but all the models are coming back which has been great.”

The Women in Business Sussex Networking Group has been running for a number of years. It holds a number of regular events in order to support the dynamic and successful community of business women in Sussex and to help build on their success and bring businesses together in a creative, informative and cost effective way.

Membership runs from September to September and is £80 for the year. As the year goes on this does go down.

If you would like to book please contact: Alice on 01403 273614 or email: alice@essenceoffashion.co.uk

Or visit the website to find out more information, www.essenceoffashion.co.uk

To see what items Alice has on sale at the moment, visit her website www.essenceoffashion.co.uk

This first appeared in etc Magazine’s April edition out now.

Pictures: Sophie Ward Photography