Gift Focus - Jan/Feb 2020 (Issue 117)

61 COMPANY PROFILE Oh golly, Miss Milly Sarah Watmore, director of Miss Milly talks in depth to Gift Focus about what it takes to set up and develop a business  When did Miss Milly start up? What was the reason for setting up the business? We’re now in our eighth year having launched Miss Milly in Autumn 2012. I’ve been in the industry for 15 years and had previously set up and run another accessories wholesale and retail company. When that business partnership reached a natural conclusion, I took the wholesale division and rebranded to Miss Milly. My prior career background is marketing and PR, and I jumped at the chance to create a brand rather than a company and am loving the continuous evolution of Miss Milly. What’s the background behind the name Miss Milly? My Nanna was called Millicent and my daughter is Milly. One day when she was a baby, I lifted her out of the bath saying “Come on Miss Milly”, and it was a real lightbulb ‘ding’ moment. That was about two years before the brand was established, so it really did stick with me. When it came to starting out again, I had zero doubts about the name. It’s feminine, British and friendly, perfect for what I want the brand to encompass. My starting point was ‘a brand that would look great on the high street in its own right.’ Not because we wanted to have our own stores but because we wanted our customers to be able to visualise Miss Milly in their own outlets, and I think we achieved that early on. How has your journey trading been? We’ve worked very hard at growing the brand whilst keeping control of the overheads. Even now as a much more established, successful business it’s just as important to cost control as it is for a fledgling start-up. The business has grown steadily and continuously, and we’re delighted to have so many loyal customers still ordering regularly now who took a punt on us in the first couple