Article: Q & A with Rachel Cameron-Webb - The Founder of Rock the Jumpsuit
Q & A with Rachel Cameron-Webb - The Founder of Rock the Jumpsuit
How and why did you get into Fashion?
I have always loved fashion and going to vintage fashion fairs but fell into starting a fashion business completely accidentally - it was never my childhood dream to be a fashion designer but i have always loved a Jumpsuit!
I was looking for a creative outlet and something a little different having been a Reflexologist for 20 years and a full time mum.
I brought a vintage jumpsuit years ago which i absolutely loved but after three kids it was too small, so i took it to my local seamstress who copied it and I LOVED it! Everyone always asked me where i had got it from and when i said i had copied a vintage piece, i found myself saying…’i could make one up for you!’ and before i knew it RTJ was born.
When I launched RTJ my third child was only 3 so this was a pretty crazy idea especially with zero experience but i thought ‘how hard can it be!!’
Well…..It was INSANELY hard and nearly broke me and took a huge toll on my Mental health, but being in fashion is like a drug….you just keep going for that high of a ‘hero piece’ that sells out in days…. but for every Hero piece there are styles that don’t work and there are endless manufacturing disasters which are incredibly stressful and costly
I got the wrong advice early on and grew things too quickly, ploughed a load of money into it too soon focusing on the creative side of things and getting a little carried away!
Denim production is a very different process to regular manufactuering and needs a specialist factory etc. Loads of mistakes have been made because i didn’t know what i was doing but i have learnt the hard way which sometimes is the best way! We started things off in Brazil which was also a mistake, and then moved to Portugal which was much easier to get to and they speak English!
I have had very little help over the years, barely able to pay myself let alone anyone else! I taught myself how to manage a shopify account, grow a social media account and did various online marketing courses. I learnt about patterns and shrinkage (denim shrinks when washed so has to be taken into account!)
I have done all the fulfilment and customer service since the beginning too which is very full on and I worked all through the pandemic which was super hard.
I was very close to a breakdown…..struggling to manage the family/life balance and then covid came along and i was forced to slow down, but my marriage was also in trouble and sadly Lockdown brought things to an end.
It’s been a horrendous few years - god knows how i kept RTJ going but it became a much needed distraction and kept me busy when the kids were with their dad.
Just as we came out of Covid restrictions the Factory went bust which was really stressful so I had to find another one, but cash flow became a nightmare with no stock coming in - I struggled on, selling what I had and got through the divorce but it all took its toll.
I had to take a break in February to do some healing and re evaluate things…i thought it was all over and then a little angel came along and has offered to help…Soooo here we go again....BUT this time i am armed with loads of experience and i know what our customer wants and how to get it to them……which makes a huge difference!
You mentioned your struggles with mental health - how has this impacted your Life and Business
I’ve had quite a few struggles with my mental health over the years - it certainly hasn’t been plain sailing…. Starting with an identity crisis in my teens which triggered an eating disorder which I was hospitalised for, drug abuse at university and then post natal depression and anxiety in my 30s followed by a horrendous divorce in my 40s…..which has left me dealing with complex PTSD.
However, all of these things have shaped me into the person i am today. I struggle with low self esteem and lack of self worth but i do believe it is possible to change your mind set and live a happier more fulfilled life. Running your own business requires you to believe in yourself not just the product!
i’m fascinated by with the process of healing and self development - there is so much help and awareness out there now…..30 years ago there was very little understanding of Eating disorders or what Anxiety actually was, let alone getting the support i needed so i carried these issues into my adult life.
i am now passionate about bringing more awareness to our kids mental health so they don’t carry their stuff into their adult lives!
I have always been interested in Alternative therapies and how these can help improve mental health - as i mentioned earlier - before i decided to become a fashion designer I was a Reflexologist, which I did professionally for 10 years before starting a family and before RTJ was even a twinkle in my eye - it has all been part of my healing journey.
What's your Greatest achievement?
….has to be my kids - they have been through soooo much recently and i am super proud of them. You always want the best for your kids but sometimes life stuff happens and they get caught up in it all - i have a lot of guilt about leaving my marriage but i wasn’t happy and had to do something.
i’m also hugely proud of RTJ…it has had its up and downs….but it is a massive achievement - there is alot of love out there for it and that makes me proud. I hope I can now build on that love and turn it into something really successful….I owe it to my family and kids.
Having a business is like having a child - you dream it, you make it, you nurture it, you learn from it and you grow with it. It can be incredibly rewarding but also incredibly stressful - it’s a massive rollercoaster…but ‘life is a rollercoaster and you've just got to ride it!’ (Not a Ronan Keating fan but i do like this quote!)
What’s your Favourite thing to do?
Going to Festival with a bunch of friends and dancing all night under the stars is just the BEST!! Laughing and connecting to people in nature is the best medicine! It produces Happy hormones which make you feel good and relieves anxiety. There is something magical about entering a festival and leaving all your troubles behind….its like a ‘bubble of love’ - another dimension with no fears and worries - just love and laughter - it’s good for the soul!!
My Favourite Festivals, but completely different are Noisily Festival and Medicine Festival - but the mother of all Festivals is of course Glastonbury which I have been lucky enough to go to many times and LOVE!
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you and what advice would you say to someone who wants to start a Fashion Brand?
DONT DO IT…..No Im only joking!
Running a fashion brand is incredibly fulfilling and a wonderful way to be creative but just make sure you get some good advice from the beginning and have a clear plan….and probably the most important thing is to GO SLOW!!
I could write a blog called ‘How NOT to start a fashion business’…..maybe i will one day…but for now let’s just say it’s been a massive learning curve and i’m still learning!
You need to know your strengths then find someone to partner with who can cover your weaknesses. If your a creative then get someone on board who loves a spreadsheet!
I haven’t had much direct advice but i read loads of books and listen to lots of podcasts etc. One of my favourite quotes of all time is by Dolly Parton
"The way I see it if you want the rainbows you gotta put up with the rain!'
What are your top self care tips?
I take some time out to Breathe and Meditate - its super hard to make time for myself but I need to keep my nervous system regulated so its really important I try to do this at least 2-3 times a week. My friend Rebecca @breathingtree is my go too for breathing - her app is amazing for when you are on the go! I exercise daily either in the gym or I do some yoga with Tara @taraleeyoga depending on how I am feeling and what’s going on. I have also got into Tapping with Poppy Delbridge @rapidtapping which is brilliant and a quick fix when feeling overwhelmed
Manifesting with Roxie Nafousi has also become a firm fixture in my daily routine and her book 'Manifest' is brilliant!
I will be interviewing these wonderful women for the blog in due course.
So What’s the future hold for RTJ
I have been given a little life line so I have been working super hard to get RTJ back up and running, I have soooo many ideas going around my head but i have to keep the creative juices focused and not get carried away!
Im excited about our new "Friends Rock' Brand Partnerships and this 'Who is Rockin it' Lifestyle Blog where I can combine and share all my passions from Fashion and Interiors to Wellness and Mental Health. I am passionate about supporting other small Businesses, mostly Female led who are all Rockin it and making it happen. I want to share the love because I know how hard it is to run a small business and if I can use my platform to do this then thats my mission!
I havent been as productive as I know I can be over the last few years with all the factory issues and personal stuff going on - it has definitely knocked the wind out of my sails but Im feeling stronger now and ready to ROCK IT!!
.....so let’s see what happens!
And Finally, what products are you rocking this Month (other than a Jumpsuit of course!)
Being Festival season and to celebrate the launch of our New Accessories to Rock Collection I have chosen mostly products I love to wear at a Festival, usually with a Jumpsuit, that are available to buy from our website.........
Sequin Headwrap from PicaPica Feathers
Sparkly Socks from Sixton London
Vintage Sequin Cape from Nessy Dress
Fringed Suede Bag from Little Lies
ROCK belt from LovePinkRose x Rock the Jumpsuit
Gold Trainers from Essaka
Neon Phone carriers from Bandolier
Star and Moon Earrings from Harry Rocks
Eco Glitter from Eco Stardust