Most clients are familiar with our director, Clare Sheng. This month, Clare takes time to talk about her life as the director of The Fitting Room on Edward and the founder ofThe Modern Gentry. Also we learn how she came into the family business and growing it to become Queensland’s largest tailoring service.
1. Tell us a bit about your background and how you entered the world of tailoring?
Growing up, I used to help my mum at The Fitting Room every school holidays. I didn’t enjoy it and decided to pursue a career in pharmacy. After becoming disillusioned with pharmacy, I came back to help mum out in the family business. I found I loved making people feel good about themselves through tailoring, and eventually started working full time and dedicated my efforts to help the business grow. It has really paid off because we doubled the business within a few years and now mum is happily retired, entrusting me to carry on the legacy.
2. Where can we find you when you aren’t at The Fitting Room and what are you doing?
I’ll most definitely be at home knitting, or spending time with my two boys. And probably knit some more.
3. What do you love most about The Fitting Room?
I love helping our clients look good and feel confident in their clothes! When a client tries on their tailored clothing, they stand taller, their eyes light up, and they see themselves in a better light. This to me is better than giving out medicine. I also love having a great team around me, being able to provide jobs and passing on career opportunities like my mum gave me.
4. What is your biggest piece of advice to young women looking at launching their own business?
Have a support network, both at home and externally. This can be a business group where you talk about your trials and tribulations as an entrepreneur, and learn from others. I have participated in many wonderful groups and had many mentors and coaches throughout my career.
5. What are some of the challenges you still face as a female business owner today and how do you face them?
Race and gender used to be a big discriminating factor when my mum started the business. When I joined, I vowed to prove to the world that we provide a highly skilled service and should be treated as such. These days, I rarely encounter discrimination, and we are well respected in the industry. Of course there are still challenges but I choose to only focus on doing a good job for our customers, and those who value our service.
6. Where do you see the Fitting Room in 5 years?
In five years, The Fitting Room will be the leaders in a movement to promote slow fashion. Fashion is still the number two polluting industry in the world. I believe by only buying quality clothing, perferably custom, and looking after it well, we will be turning a corner in reducing pollution.
7. What does your morning routine look like?
I get up, cuddle with my kids, get dressed in my favourite (slow fashion) outfit, and come to work. We make sure to have a team huddle every morning to set daily goals for everyone.
8. How do you shop for clothing?
I must love every piece of item I buy, it should make me happy just by looking at it. The item must be of good quality, natural fabric, with a unique cut, and is something I know I will wear for at least for 5 years.