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THE SEAM: Connecting a community

by Back Her Business | May 14, 2020 | Stories

THE SEAM: Connecting a community

Having old clothes fixed instead of replacing them with new ones is a sustainable way to help the planet. Though, after moving to London, Layla Sargent realised just how difficult it was to find a reliable tailor nearby.

Growing up, Layla Sargent’s seamstress grandmother took pride in making and fixing her own clothes. It was a wonderful way to live more sustainably whilst getting to keep a favourite item for years and years. 

So, when Layla moved away from her gran’s home in Birmingham, she was astounded by how hard it was to find a trusted tailor nearby. She was certain that there must be an abundance in her neighbourhood though she just had no idea how to find them.

This experience inspired The Seam—a way to connect local tailors with people in need of one. Not only was it a planet-saving option, it was also a way to support independent tailors and create stronger communities.

Layla explained, “I needed a trusted tailor in London and it was really difficult to find one. My grandmother is a professional tailor by trade but lives in Birmingham. I knew that there must be skilled people like her who lived nearby to me in London who would be able to fix my clothes – this is where the vision of The Seam was born! I started by building a network of local tailors and makers across Hackney, East London, and quite organically we’ve expanded out from there.”

After a few months, Layla had built a strong network of seamstresses and tailors in East London. Though, to entice new audiences, Layla knew that a review feature was needed so potential customers could feel safe about who was handling their clothing.

To complete the required website developments, Layla needed £4,000. 

A helping hand from Back Her Business

As part of the Back Her Business programme—our initiative to close the gender gap in business—we ran a competition where female founders could win £2,000 towards their business idea as long as they reached their crowdfunding goal.

Feeling as though fate had shown her the answer she was looking for, Layla entered her idea into the competition. A few months later, she took to Crowdfunder along with 11 other winning ideas to raise money and get her businesses started. 

Within 28 days, 38 members of the crowd had raised £4,002. This included the prize of £2,000!

When asked how the winning prize money impacted her life, Layla said that she felt, “Excited and optimistic for the future.”

In the months since crowdfunding The Seam’s website has been rebuilt, allowing the business to grow. 

Layla told us, “The programme allowed us to raise enough funds to build our new website which has been extremely important in allowing us to scale. The main change being added reviews and recommendations to our website, something imperative for any marketplace to be successful.”

After hearing about her successful experience with Back Her Business, we asked Layla for her top tips to inspire other hopeful women in the UK to take the plunge and make their business dreams a reality.

She said, “Surround yourself with women who are routing for you. Dive head first into communities and be vulnerable. Be open and honest about your ambitions and ask for help in areas that you need it. You may be surprised who is willing to help.”

Thinking about starting a business? Check out the grants, coaching, and events on offer through our Back Her Business programme.