Our Story so far...
Our Story…told by our founder and CEO Rebecca Scott
NEU Apparel was my final year project at university in 2013, we were told to come up with absolutely any project idea as long as it was feasible and as I had just started going to the gym at the time I knew cool, fashionable affordable gym wear was seriously lacking!
So NEU Apparel was born (NUE Apparel ‘Never Under Estimate’ as it was originally, but that’s another story involving a very bitter ex boyfriend *eye roll*)
I got a fashion design student to help sew some leggings and t-shirts for me then planned a photoshoot where the model didn’t turn up. Meaning I ended up modelling *again eye roll*
I didn’t get that great of a grade for the project but this didn’t knock me, I was never sucked in to the illusion of university being the be all and end all. I knew it was a good experience and I had taken all I could from it but in the real world your grade is not important. I didn’t even go to my own graduation, I was too busy having fun working abroad for the summer!
So fast forward to the end of summer 2013 and I am a university graduate with no job. I refused to work as an intern and work for free! So I got multiple temp admin jobs and saved £500 which I used to buy plain tshirts and leggings. I then had them printed with my now new brand name ‘NEU Apparel’. I bought mens tshirts and cut them into cool boxy crop tees, hand sewed mesh panels into vests and cut sleeves off hoodies to make oversized sleeveless hoodies. Then I started selling on Instagram, which at the time was a new-ish social media platform and the birth of influencers was in its infancy. In the main friends bought from me but soon I was selling out and my trips to the clothing printers were becoming 3-4 times a week and much to my mums annoyance my stock now occupied the spare room, conservatory and garage * Thanks mum*
And then disaster struck, rock bottom heart break. I made my first order with an over seas manufacturer and they didn’t deliver and I lost everything. I invested all the money I had made into that order, it was only a small order but my first step forwards in taking NEU to the next level. I had to suck it up and get a job. This is the lowest point of my life to date, I felt like a failure, I had to give up my dream and I felt silly and angry for being so trusting and naive. BUT lesson learnt! I spent 18 months working as a marketing manager at two fast fashion eccomerce companies where I made sure I absorbed as much knowledge about the industry as possible. I totally winged it with these jobs admittedly, I had no real experience but fake it until you make it right ;) In the meantime I sourced a small amount of funding and in the background was setting up to relaunch NEU.
Then disaster struck once again, I got sacked as ‘someone’ aka my ex boss had tipped my new boss off about NEU apparel through I can only guess a series of Chinese whispers. Moral of the story, keep your mouth shut haha.
But at least now I had a shot at joining the ‘I got sacked from my job but still made it’ group of entrepreneurs which you always read about. However reality was I now had no income and a business which wasn’t actually trading and it was months off from launching.
Queue me selling everything of any value I owned and surviving off the bare minimum for 12 months. I hadn’t paid myself a penny from NEU Apparel to date and it would be nearly another year before I started allowing myself a small salary. It was tough, very tough. I found the doubt from family and friends hard to cope with, I couldn’t blame them the situation was extremely dicey. But I believed in myself, I knew NEU Apparel had potential to be successful and even though I didn’t make vision boards and chant mantras to be myself I always had this desire and fire inside me that got me through. In November 2016 NEU Apparel relaunched, 2 years after I thought I’d lost it all!
9 months later (August 2017) I secured 6 figure investment. This year to date we have already doubled our sales from last year. We sell to over 100 countries and have a team of 6 which we are aiming to double by early 2019!
I plan to keep blogging about my journey with NEU Apparel and will always be as honest as possible about the challenges and difficulties we face running a fast growing business. I think it’s important to talk about the ups and downs because trust me it is not all plain sailing, you face new issues daily and it is a constant cycle of problem solving.
Thank you for reading my story! I hope this helps any of you thinking about starting your own business or helps someone to see that circumstances change and that even when you are facing huge obstacles or are at a low point in life you will over come it. Never let someone else’s negativity drain your energy, listen to your own mind and trust in your intuition always!
Owner and Founder NEUapparel