From Junk to Luxury: The Story of Anna’s Pride’s Owner
Anna’s Pride is a London-based consignment store which specialises in high-end luxury and designer clothing, handbags, shoes, accessories, jewellery, and more. My target is to make the process of selling luxury items for clients and customers as simple as possible in a world full of fashion.
My journey into the fashion business was sparked by the challenges I saw the industry facing. In light of overproduction and fast fashion, I recognise that the fashion world has driven full speed into a waste crisis. This problem is exacerbated by people throwing out perfectly good clothes that could find another home – that’s when I decided to step in.
By assisting in selling luxury fashion items, I’m acting to curb the effects of fashion waste and make used luxury clothing more accessible for consumers.
My Challenges and Opportunities
I live by the Vivienne Westwood motto: ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last.’ So, I’m trying my best to get consumers out of the fast fashion cycle by offering used luxury clothes which will get plenty of use in the right hands! Starting a business against a wave of fast-fashion titans which offer poor-quality items on the cheap certainly wasn’t easy. Still, I’ve managed to come out of the other side with the peace that I’ve made a difference in the environment and sustainability within fashion.
However, in the face of adversity, there are also plenty of opportunities for growth available to me in the second-hand luxury business. Consumers are becoming increasingly more aware of the fast fashion crisis, leading more and more of them to buy second-hand!
Market research conducted by BCG found that 62% of luxury consumers would purchase second-hand, and the market for second-hand luxury goods is flourishing amongst Gen-Z and millennials. With this in mind, I’m expecting even more growth in the years to come.
While I’ve managed to carve a substantial name for myself in the second-hand luxury space, it didn’t come easy. In fact, the beginnings of my venture into the business world came from gruelling beginnings.
In 2011, my husband and I moved from Latvia to London with two bags of belongings and two cents worth of English skills. We lived in a flat with broken windows, no hot water, and a smell harsh enough to make anyone gag. I worked jobs in the cleaning sector where I was subject to terrible working conditions in which I would work for 14 days straight and attempt to learn English after my shifts. I was rewarded with a measly paycheque and extremely painful legs from the hours of daily physical labour. I bounced around from maid job to maid job, trying to make ends meet and find an employer that treated me well. Finally, my husband and I found a job in a hotel with much better working conditions, but it still wasn’t enough for the large expenses involved with living in London.
My husband left the hotel to try and establish a career as an IT engineer to bring in a little more money. In 2014 the world blessed us with a baby, but my husband also caught word that he would be losing his job. Left with bills to pay and a life to care about, my husband and I had to make ends meet, so I went back to Latvia with the baby.
After a five-month stint, I was back in London, and my husband and I had a burning determination to make life better for our family. Unfortunately, we could only start by selling our unnecessary belongings – so we started selling clothes.
My Humble Business Beginnings
As my baby grew up, we would sell their old clothes on eBay – I still remember the rush from getting sales and listing the items – so, naturally, I carried on! We would sell clothes, items, and even goods we found on the street, which we would give a fix and a clean! One day my husband came home with a hoover, and we spent ages cleaning it up and getting it ready to be resold. That rush from a sale is what keeps me going back to work to this day.
I quickly found that I had fallen in love with selling items – from hunting for items, researching quality profits, and composing stock photography to that sweet transaction at the end of it all to make my work worth it. However, while I loved the process of selling, I quickly found that the way I was going about it wasn’t profitable – I had signed up for a service on eBay where people could come to me to sell their products and quickly found myself head over heels with used goods. I had to freshen them up, list them, take good photos, appraise them, deal with customers – the whole work! My husband would help me spread the workload, but at the end of it, I’d only be making around 1 or 2 pounds profit per item.
I decided I couldn’t take on everything – the cost of business was too much, and the profit margin just wasn’t worth it. I set myself a £50 minimum selling price so that I could make some more money on the items I was selling. This led to me scaling back the number of items I was selling to a reasonable amount, but it actually ended up being a good thing! I built a healthy relationship with a few regular clients by selling their items.
Once I had gotten our heads above water and we were beginning to make a bit more money, I decided to try and source our own stock. I found a warehouse dedicated to clothes that I could use. Things were finally looking up! That was until the warehouse shut down, and I was left with no new stock and more bills to pay.
My Hard Work Paid Off: Where the Business Started
I hadn’t the faintest idea what my next move would be. Out of pure desperation, I made a post to our local community through the app ‘Nextdoor’ detailing my services in selling used goods. I didn’t think anything would come of it – to my surprise, I was immediately met with tons of responses. After years of trying to get a steady income with my business, this little gesture was the thing that ended up skyrocketing me to success. I got plenty of new clients, so I could invest my time into building a professional business.
In September 2020, I finally founded my website, www.annas-pride.co.uk and started to advertise my business on social media and Google. Slowly but surely, I began to get enquiries for my website. By brushing up on my SEO skills, I got us ranking number 1 in Google for the search term ‘eBay trading assistant.’ I received so much notoriety that I even won an award for the ‘Best Online Dress Agency’ in 2021!
Conclusion: The Future is Bright
I started out selling used items on the streets for pennies, and now I exclusively sell high-end and luxury fashion. My financial freedom from establishing this business has allowed me to provide a professional service to plenty of customers. I’ve enhanced my skills in authentication and now professionally authenticate every single item on my website, and my commission has gone up significantly!
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After all the failures and moments of doubt, I’m so glad that my husband and I stuck to our guns so that I can make money doing the thing I love without having to worry about where our next meal is coming from.
The business just goes from strength to strength, and I recently have launched my own e-commerce website where people can purchase the best selected pre-owned luxury items around the world directly from the site www.annas-pride.com. The cherry on the top is that I have also landed myself a second award with the “Best
eCommerce Trading Assistant 2022 by SME UK Enterprise Awards” being awarded to me lately. It just gets better!
I started off on our path into the world of business with no experience, no money, and no grasp of English. But, setback after setback, my husband and I picked ourselves up and kept working despite there seeming to be no light at the end of the tunnel – and we succeeded with flying colours.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur trying to make a name in the business world, this is my advice: Roll with the punches! Of course, you will experience setbacks, and there will be times when it feels like the whole world is rooting against your monetary success. But, if you learn to deal with the setbacks and keep moving forward, you’ll learn something valuable from them!
My other advice is this: build your business around something you love doing. It may sound awfully simple, but it’s true! I hold a great stake in the famous saying, ‘Do what you love, and love what you do, and you’ll never feel like you’re working.’ If your head just isn’t in it, chances are you won’t flourish with your business. Building a business from nothing takes a lot of effort, and if you’re doing something you don’t like, you’ll find yourself giving up quickly.
The love of the craft will keep you going in moments of despair, and it’s a true excitement for what you do that will give you the stamina to succeed.