Ellie Rivers, A Few Great Women and Ellie Rivers Consulting
From an early age I decided I wanted to work in the fashion industry and once my mind was made up, that was it.
Following an Art foundation course, I set off to university to study for a degree in Womenswear Design. During my second year, I opted to go to New York for my internship, landing a place at a prestigious fashion magazine and I felt like all my dreams had come true. Whilst at the magazine I happened to show the editor a t-shirt we had designed for a college project and suggested I reprinted one and sent it back to him asap. One hungover morning I dutifully printed the t-shirt and send it away to New York, not thinking too much of it. As I sat in my weekend job at an estate agent I suddenly noticed 600 new emails in my account, thinking I had been spammed. I started reading through and they were all related to t-shirts. The editor informed me that he had photographed the t-shirt, included it in his email newsletter…and sent it out to 250,000 worldwide… I freaked! I had one t-shirt and hundreds of requests for press releases, wholesale enquiries, stockist information…where do I start?! .
Within a few weeks, I had sourced a collection of modal jersey tees, created my branding, built a website with the help of a clever friend (this was 2004 so things were a bit more basic back then!), roped in a friend to model the shirts for my shoot and started selling my t-shirts worldwide. My passion for eCommerce was born. You can sell things all over the world from the click of a button, it was that easy and I was hooked.
Following on from that moment, I have carved my way into the fashion industry, working in eCommerce for a number of luxury brands including Lulu Guinness, Caramel London, Harvey Nichols and then as a consultant, initially as a part of an agency advising brands from House of Holland, Flowerbox, Gina Shoes, and Bodas London.
When I became a Mother for the first time, I realised I needed to build something I can develop for myself, to give me flexibility to attend a nativity play or sports day, to be there for my children whenever they needed me and without having to ask anyone’s permission. Teamed with a move to the Oxfordshire countryside and a desire to work closer to home, I launched my own Digital Marketing and Ecommerce consultancy business.
As my new role as Mum evolved to looking after not one, but two small humans, I realised how many incredibly capable and talented women were at home, restricted by school hours and desperately trying to find ways to work around pickups and drop-offs, limited by the cost of childcare and torn between previous careers and wanting to spend time with their children. Teaming up with four other industry experts, we launched A Few Great Women on International Women’s Day 2020. We work flexibly, collectively and most importantly supportively to accommodate both our clients’ needs and our own as we juggle the demands of life at home and work.
The business is still young but has seen some phenomenal growth in a relatively short space of time and we couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved. This would not have been possible without the incredible support network we have around us and it’s taught me so much about working alongside like-minded and inspirational people. I count myself very lucky to be a part of this journey and yet still be able to spend time with my children whilst doing so – something I know wouldn’t be possible in any previous full-time roles.