On April 20th we’re launching Gefachella; our no B.S. business start up festival, built for founders, by founders.
We’re on a mission to showcase all of the exciting, creative and innovative businesses being built on our lovely little rock. We get especially excited when we meet Manx businesses who are already distributing to the UK (and further afield).
For our first Gefachella Founders Feature, we speak to Kate McDowell, creator and owner of Stripe & Shine.
So Kate, what’s your story?
I set-up my business, Stripe & Shine, at the end of 2017. I design and hand-press personalised and original tops for women and children, which I sell on my website and on notonthehighstreet.com.
After having my first son I returned to my job as an Account Manager at a PR and advertising agency three days a week. I’ve always worked in creative environments, so at the end of maternity leave number two with my second son – at a time my eldest was starting school – I decided I wanted the flexibility to choose my hours to better fit around family life.
But why Stripe & Shine?
The name? Because I like stripes and shiny stuff. The business itself? Erm, I can’t give a definite answer to that. I had a newborn and was sleep deprived so I can’t actually remember, other than knowing I wanted to be doing something creative. I bought a heat press, worked out what materials to use and started practising. I also completed the Isle of Man Government’s Micro Business Grant Scheme, so I formed a business plan and received a grant for equipment. I then printed some samples, took some pictures, built a website and then launched in October. I was accepted as a partner with notonthehighstreet.com in December.
So what is Stripe & Shine’s signature style?
Our slogan is ‘perfectly personalised’ as most of my designs feature patterns – such as stars, unicorns or leopard print – printed within letters, numbers or words, which are pressed in bronze, silver or gold. I currently stock a range of baby vests, tshirts and sweatshirts for sizes 3-6 months up to ladies’ size XL. I resize each design according to the size of the garment and make everything to order.
After the item is printed, I wrap in tissue paper and twine and attached a gift tag.
Where do you see yourself and the business in a year?
In the short-term I want to add more ladies’ designs to the collection and other non-clothing items such as bags and make-up pouches. More generally my goal is to continue to build a following and become a ‘go to’ for personalised items and gifts.
At the moment I work on my own but there’s a definite chance I’ll need to rope in some extra pairs of hands in the future.
Kate will be joining us at Gefachella. To register your interest and to be the first to know about tickets to our inaugural event, head to gef.im/gefachella