Wednesday, July 23, 2014

From Corporate to Fashion; Valerie Hughes Launches Independent Label House of Pearl With a Brand New Website

Just months after launching her very own fashion label, House of Pearl, Sefton resident Valerie Hughes is proud to announce that her brand new website is now live!

The site, which houses House of Pearl’s debut collection, has been created through a combination of Val’s complete dedication to building her brand and her strong support network.

‘It has been a long journey but I’m really pleased that we have now launched the website. I’ve had lots of help throughout especially from my brother, who’s been amazing with all the help he’s given me with the website.’

Inspired by past and present trends, high street and vintage pieces, House of Pearl’s objective is simple: a flattering cut, a stylish edge and a look to suit any occasion.

Val decided to pursue a new career path after being made redundant from her 17 yearlong corporate job. She began her journey in a high-end designer store working as a supervisor and personal shopper for high profile customers.

Despite never working in retail before, Val embraced the industry very quickly. Her passion for fashion grew into a dream of one day designing her own collections under her own individual brand.

‘With a vision in mind, an abundance of research and an overwhelming feeling of both excitement and trepidation, I set about creating my first collection of limited edition pieces.’

Val began by networking and making valuable contacts. She found a British manufacturer to work with and help bring her designs to life.

During the creation of House of Pearl, Val also sought advice from The Women’s Organisation. She was paired up with a business advisor and provided free business related workshops including Basic Bookkeeping, Planning for Success and Building a Social Media Strategy.

‘The Women’s Organisation has been fab. They were great for me because I had no business background and didn’t know how to start writing a business plan. Fran, my advisor, made me realise the importance of having a business plan. I couldn’t have had better support from anywhere else.’

She continued: ‘Fran, Beckie, Jo and Bernie have been amazing and offered me so much extra support along the way. Every time I call, they’re always more than happy to help.’

When Val first started testing the market, she had samples made in India but found that getting items manufactured abroad was not ideal for her vision. Being completely passionate about her brand, she refused to accept anything less than top quality products and wanted complete control over the fabric choices etc. to ensure this.

The biggest challenge of becoming self-employed has been marketing the business. The task of reaching the right people whilst finding the balance between making sure you are portraying your products in the right way and expressing yourself can be tricky. ‘I have had to develop myself in areas I had never had to before to make this work.’

Val manages numerous roles as part of her business including accountant, designer, fabric finder, marketing and PR, networking – ‘I’ve had to learn to be my own everything, it’s difficult but really rewarding and I’ve surprised myself at how much I’ve been able to learn.’

Although she has to manage all these roles now, she has big plans for the future, with the hope of opening up a factory and eventually going global.

‘Things are going really well and I have learnt so much in the past year. I’m looking forward to building the brand and seeing where it could potentially go’.

The best thing about self-employment is having the freedom to plan her days and weeks around doing the things she genuinely enjoys. Val also loves the possible earning potential and satisfaction of building a successful business from scratch. She notes how rewarding this is, especially whilst surrounded by lots of lovely people who are willing to support.

Val’s advice to budding entrepreneurs out there would be: ‘Firstly join The Women’s Organisation and get all the help you can. Keep pushing forward, even when it’s tough it will all be worth it in the end .’

Visit House of Pearl’s brand new website to view Val’s limited edition collection and find out more about the label  You can also keep updated on the latest from House of Pearl by following @HouseOfPearl1 or liking

And if you would like to take a new career path like Val, The Women's Organisation's Start-up Programme can offer the support you need to do so. Visit or contact 0151 706 8111 / for more information

By Beckie Kinsella

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