60 Seconds With … Emma Watkinson, co-founder of SilkFred

Emma Watkinson

Emma Watkinson

Meet the co-founder of online fashion platform, and Elevator Pitch alumni, SilkFred. 

In one sentence, what does your company do? SilkFred is an online marketplace for independent brands and we specialise in unique designer fashion at high street prices.

How did the idea come about? The idea to start SilkFred began with lunch with a friend (now my co-founder) where we talked about a fashion brand his friend had invested in. He asked my advice about what could be done to boost sales for the handbag brand and we started to talk about the wave of entrepreneurs creating their own fashion brands and how they were struggling to get their products to market and create sustainable businesses. We chose to go and build the solution.

What did you do before? My experience prior to SilkFred was in fashion retail – starting out on shop floors moving into buying and merchandising. I always wanted to work in e-commerce when I saw the opportunities for selling fashion online.

What’s been your absolute lowest point of running the company, so far? When we were raising money through crowdfunding. After two months of pitching, meetings and so much hard work, we hit our target, which was awesome. Two days later, the biggest single investor pulled their investment (it was 35% of the total funds raised). We were so tired and disappointed, it took a lot to get up and go back out to fill the deficit. We hit our target again and ended up raising 30% more.

What’s been the highlight of running the company, so far? A major highlight was when we smashed a sales record, selling in one day the equivalent to three months of the previous year. It blew my mind. Another was when we moved office for the third time last year (we had outgrown our other spaces so quickly) and it was quite overwhelming to see how we had grown “physically” in terms of the space we needed and the size of the team.

If you were an animal what would you be? A cat.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you invite to a fantasy dinner party? Ernest Hemingway, Stephen Fry, Dumbledore

Would you rather have hands for feet or feet for hands? Hands for feet.

Would you rather have a head the size of a tennis ball or the size of a watermelon? Haha, that’s a totally ridiculous question.

You can only hear one song for the rest of your life. Bohemian Rhapsody or Ring of Fire? Ring of Fire.

Would you rather have a time machine that only goes back in time or a time machine that only goes forward in time? Definitely forward, it’s never good to go backwards.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I really liked the Jessica Jones series on Netflix so maybe super strength.

Would you rather have permanent hiccups, or always feel like you’re about to sneeze? Both sound totally awful.

This article was first published in edition 9 of Tech City News’s popular print magazine – The Cybersecurity Issue