Chingford fashion entrepreneur gets business advice from Sir Richard Branson

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Ashley-Rae Tapping with Sir Richard Branson, posing in her company Loud Culture's bow ties Ashley-Rae Tapping with Sir Richard Branson, posing in her company Loud Culture's bow ties

A YOUNG entrepreneur who started a burgeoning fashion company with her best friend has been getting advice from one of Britain’s most successful businessmen.

Ashley-Rae Tapping, of Higham Station Avenue in Chingford, said Richard Branson has given her the drive and determination to help her clothing brand achieve even greater success.

The 23-year-old set up Loud Culture with Abi Fashesin in August 2010 and its clothes have been worn by Misha B on X Factor and Diana Vickers on the cover of More magazine.

The determined graduate met Sir Richard after she recently won a competition to fly out to South Africa and take part in the Virgin Media Pioneers scheme at his entrepreneur centre in Johannesburg.

She said: “It was amazing. It gave me more drive because he’s one of my idols and just the impact he’s had on so many people is incredible. He tries to share his experience with everyone else.”

Miss Tapping said she had big plans for growing Loud Culture, with a planned next step to open a shop in London.

She added: “We use our family and friends as models, my mum and Abi cut all the sample clothes and my aunt’s our quality controller.

“Though we have less output it’s good to have that original rawness to it that you get without mass production rather than making thousands of less interesting copies.”

“Our website’s had over 80,000 hits now and we use Twitter to get in contact with stars and agents who wear our clothes and get our names out there.”

When asked what advice she would give anyone who is planning to start up a business, she said: “You need to have determination and have to be motivated, and know there’s always room for improvement. Just believe in yourself and you will be able to achieve anything.”

Loud Culture is on Twitter at @LOUD_Designs and online at loud-culture.com.

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