Josephine Starsmore is the director of N16 Vintage and creator of Ragyard, a London based label and Shop. Sans Pareil chatted to Starsmore about her inspirations and how she started the amazing brand Ragyard!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I am someone who loves to travel and discover beautiful things. I seek the unusual and I love bringing vintage up to date by styling it in an unexpected way.
Have you always been interested in fashion and/or owning a business?
Not always. I trained as a journalist. But as soon as I made my first piece of clothing and sold it (whilst wearing it in a club), I realised I had found my buzz… and it has never left me.
Then, as now, it’s about repurposing beautiful things in cool new ways. I love offering an alternative to the unimaginative products we see all around us.
Where did your journey begin?
Whilst I was a student, I made my own clothes in order to stand out and be different (and save money). People saw them and commissioned their own versions. Then, as now, they were often repurposed vintage finds.
What is a strong ethos you hold for your business?
It’s not all about money. I believe if you use business for good, it comes back to reward you.
What makes you love what you do?
My business allows me an exciting life of travel and adventure with the man I love. I am very lucky.
Do you have a personal life motto?
Sleep when you’re dead
What is your main struggle in being female entrepreneurs?
I found maternity leave a struggle. It’s a real skill to switch between one role and the other. I truly love what I do and I missed the buzz of the office. It’s hard to admit, but it’s the truth.
What was your biggest personal achievement?
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being an entrepreneur/ owning your own business/brand?
Your work is never done. Things aren’t perfect… its a journey!
How do you find inspiration on an average day? Do you have any rituals?
Inspiration really is everywhere and in everything I see… but always in people. I take endless pictures at traffic lights of people crossing the road or walking down the street. Maybe the way they are wearing something catches my eye.
I met a stranger this morning in a cafe. She just had something…. I had to talk to her and find out her story. And I am always pausing films or TV to draw something or noting an idea on a napkin in a restaurant. The trick is, record it. And then, as soon as you can, use it.
Are you a morning or night person? When do you work best?
It depends. Creatively, I think I’m better at night. Running a business requires many different heads though, so mornings are great for strategy and clarity.
Who has inspired you the most and why?
Recently, I have been fascinated by the work of Anita Roddick and am seeking to find out more – what a forward thinking woman! Frida Kahlo has long been an inspiration (as featured in our Spring Summer collection). I am especially inspired by women and men who live(d) their lives truthfully and fully.
Do you have any advice to give to the up and comers or people wanting to do what you do?
The best advice I can give is to just make something…. anything. Sew it, Paint it, Write it, Post it, Cut it up, Dye it. Ideas remain just that whilst they are still in your head. Share them and you’ll be amazed where it can lead. Just start…. NOW!