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Norfolk Business Awards 2018

Meet the Norfolk 25-year-old who left her job at Ted Baker to go it alone

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:41 14 September 2018

Sapphire Plant, founder and owner of Norfolk designer menswear brand Tramp. Picture: Oliver Harper

Sapphire Plant, founder and owner of Norfolk designer menswear brand Tramp. Picture: Oliver Harper

Olive Harper

For many 25-year-olds, quitting a job in London with one of fashion’s top names to start your own business in rural Norfolk would be an unthinkable plan.

Sapphire Plant, founder and owner of Norfolk designer menswear brand Tramp, at her sewing machine. Picture: Oliver HarperSapphire Plant, founder and owner of Norfolk designer menswear brand Tramp, at her sewing machine. Picture: Oliver Harper

But that’s what Norwich University of the Arts graduate Sapphire Plant has done, and after a year in business has spoken about the most important lessons she has learned.

“When I landed a job with Ted Baker after graduating I couldn’t believe it, but I found it too isolating and moved back to Norwich and worked for a tailor,” Miss Plant said.

“I knew I wanted to do menswear; the shapes are more classic and stick around for longer, where the silhouettes in women’s fashion change more regularly.”

Under her Tramp Menswear brand, officially launched in 2017, Miss Plant has designed a line of classic t-shirts as well as socks and accessories.

Tramp Menswear source all of their products from within England or Germany. Picture: Tramp MenswearTramp Menswear source all of their products from within England or Germany. Picture: Tramp Menswear

The Taverham resident said: “The main surprise has been that our customers are older than the audience we were marketing to. I think this is because of the price point, but because the designs are classic it appeals to a wider audience.”

She added: “We’ve just started working with a company to improve our SEO (search engine optimisation). Because we’re currently an online only retailer we need to up our visibility on Google. We’re doing well on social media, but we think improved SEO will give us the next step up. It’s a struggle to know where to invest in online marketing – and not to get bogged down in influencer posts and sponsorship.”

Miss Plant invested £2,300 into the business and was matched by a family member. She also took out a loan of £6,500.

“The biggest challenge for me has been trying to stay self-motivated. It’s just me, there’s no one force me to make it a success, but I’m determined to and I’m getting better at it,” she said.

“Another thing which took me ages to settle on was a name for the brand. We went for Tramp because it epitomises this Lady and the Tramp idea of the street-wise man but who can put on a top hat and become a real gentleman.”

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