Phoebe Gormley is the founder of the bespoke women's tailor, Gormley & Gamble. She grew up in Bungay, Suffolk and attended Oakham in Rutland. The idea started with just Phoebe and now she has a team of three in her head office as well as makers across the UK. I spoke to Phoebe about being the first women's tailor on Savile Row...
Q:Where did the idea for Gormley & Gamble start? A:
I started interning on Savile Row aged 15, and have always been fascinated by tailoring. I enrolled to study Costume Design at university but felt so unstimulated and unenthused by the lack of contact time. I began to draw up business plans for a women’s only tailor and soon began to realise that as well as being a viable option, there was a real want and need for beautiful, bespoke classics for women. I submitted the business plan to my parents on a Friday, and by Monday was down in London looking for suppliers.
Q:Have you always been interested in fashion? A:
I do love clothes, and dressing women, however I think of G&G as more than just a fashion brand. We provide a whole experience for our customers; taking into account their entire lifestyle, not just wardrobe preferences.
Q:Whose been your most exciting client? A:
We have a lot of exciting clients, but in tailoring discretion is key; the trust between tailor and client is key. Having said that, one of my favourite clients is probably Donna Ida of Donna Ida Denim. We made her a blue velvet jacket and she rocks it with her signature jeans – they are amazing.
Q:What’s your favourite item that you’ve designed/sold? A:
I have two favourite suits; one bright red evening tuxedo with spray-on trousers – I wore it in a photoshoot for Marie Claire. More recently I made myself a similar double breasted jacket in dusty pink with some flared trousers. It is so fun and I can’t wait to get it out in the summer.
Q:What experience does someone need to work for you? A:
We are very open-minded about experience levels and backgrounds. What I value more is someone who can demonstrate that they are a hard-worker and can think on their feet. We are a small and very busy team so an employee or intern needs to be able to manage their own time and work independantely.
Q:Where did you start university and why did you leave? A:
I went to Nottingham Trent University. I left because it was the complete opposite of what I expected. I wanted to be challenged and stimulated, but only ended up with 2 hours of lectures a week. That amount of contact time for the fees I was paying was absurd.
Q:Do you ever regret your decision to have left? A:
No, never! My life is so different to how it would have been if I stayed on. If I’d completed a degree I don’t know if I would have taken the leap into starting my own business.
Q:What’s the best thing about starting a business? A:
My customers. I love the women I get to meet and dress every day. I am so close to some of them now that they sit on my board of advisors.
Q:Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? A:
My ten year dream is to open my own store for female entrepreneurs. There are so many female-lead businesses out there that fall under the radar. A beautifully curated, central London department store would be an amazing platform to showcase some of the talent out there – across a variety of sectors.
Q:Advice to any entrepreneurial or fashion keen school leavers? A:
Ask for help! Make the most of your network and talk to people. The advice and experience of others has definitely shaped my company, and I wouldn’t be where I was okay if it wasn’t for the help of friends, parents and mentors.