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04 March 2014 Posted by 

Hayley’s Born to be Chic

University graduate building an empire

By James Preston

HAYLEY Mehmet is not your typical university graduate. At just 22 she has already established a successful small clothing business called ‘Born to be Chic’, stocking some of the hottest brands in women’s fashion and shipping over 350 parcels a month.

Hayley, who has previously worked as a fashion blogger for popular Melbourne company Chadstone The Fashion Capital; initially conceived the idea for her business during a working holiday in Canada following the completion of her communications degree at UWS.

“I had always immersed myself in the fashion industry” she said. “Whether it was interning at a fashion publication, PR firm or fashion blogging. It [Born to be Chic] was an idea at the back of my mind but I never thought I’d pursue it because I was always scared of failure or my family being disappointed I never pursed my degree.”

But like so many successful entrepreneurs Hayley was not afraid to take a risk. Following her passion she started to put the foundations in place.borntobechicdress

She applied for an ABN, developed the business name and website, began approach fashion labels and began promoting furiously via social media outlets including Facebook and Tumblr where she had a combined following of over 130,000 people.

“The website was a very important step. A lot of labels wouldn’t work with you until you had a fully developed website so it was extremely difficult” she said.

However Hayley’s business acumen, confidence and sheer passion for creation was something the labels picked up on and eventually several brands signed on with Born to be Chic.

Hayley now stocks some of Australia’s most loved labels such as Paradisco, Alive Girl, Blossom, Toby Heart Ginger, Madison Square and Reverse among others.

It is an impressive collection of labels which combined with Hayley’s excellent customer communication keeps them coming back.

Hayley believes that instead of merely attaining a consumer base she has built a connected family of fashion lovers.

“I build friendships with my customers and a vast majority call me by name. Being a 22 year old girl myself and mostly talking to girls my age all day helps me to connect with them easier then other online stores” she said.

“I also maintain a strong social media presence with Instagram and studied PR & marketing at university. I also enjoyed shopping online so I knew exactly what was appealing to the consumer because I had first hand experience.”

Born to be Chic has now amassed almost 50,000 Facebook likes on its company page and sold over 3,000 items. Mind blowing when you consider it’s a one woman operation from a home office!

Hayley acts as her own marketer, stock take, photographer and even courier.

“I deliver everything myself to my local post office. I look so silly carrying my all my packages in my Mum’s washing baskets but it does the job and it’s got to be done!” she laughs.

But what is next for Born to be Chic as it continues to soar in popularity? Hayley has plans to begin designing and manufacturing her own dresses and is also looking to meet with a host of designers leading up to the Spring/Summer season as she looks to further expand her business.

The success of Hayley’s business has not only given her a stable and increasingly lucrative platform but has allowed her to offer some advice to other budding entrepreneurs.

“Let your passion guide you, work hard and realise you have to spend money to make money,” she says.

“When I was starting out, I got one order on the first day (and it was from Germany!) but then I didn’t get another one for a few of days. But you can’t let that put you down. Remain positive because success won’t come overnight.”

“Hayley also maintains that it is extremely important to establish a distinction between work and down times.hayleyparcels

“Sometimes I feel restricted because I can’t go without a day without having to answer 20 emails, ordering new stock or organising orders. However, I know that in order to work to my full potential I need to be able to take a step back and enjoy going to the movies or being with family and friends.”

Most importantly, Hayley says that it is important to constantly assess where you are at, where you need to be and reflect on the victories along the way to further motivate yourself.

“Six months before I started my business, I was the intern running around the office getting everyone’s coffee order and packing 100’s of gift bags for fashion week but here I am today, building an empire. Everyone’s doubt and snarky comments fuelled me to succeed.”

I guess you could say that Hayley was indeed ‘Born to be Chic’.

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.