Aruna Seth has her designs stocked in the likes of Harvey Nichols and Harrods and counts Pippa Middleton as one of her biggest fans. Here we talk to her about setting up a luxury shoe company from scratch, seeing her creations at the Royal wedding and her weakness for Victoria Beckham dresses.
Describe your typical working day.
I’m happy to say no day is the same, but I’ll always wake up to my Blackberry of emails. I may go to the office in Surrey to oversee the shoe sales or be flying off to New York to host a trunk sale. I try and meet with my clients as often as possible for shoe fittings as this is a great way to get feedback on the designs. I’ll constantly be thinking of ideas for shoe designs and in the evenings I try and get out and about networking and making contacts.
Which career achievement are you most proud of?
I’m proud to say Pippa Middleton wore our shoes on the Royal wedding day with her green Temperley dress, an iconic piece of coverage for us. Also our shoes are stocked in Harrods which was a great milestone to achieve.
How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been working for my father since I was a teenager (Geoff Seth owns the Ascot trainer brand) so being around the shoes inspired me to start the Aruna Seth collection. I did a brief stint in the City at Morgan Stanley but then decided a shoe business was for me after studying at the London College of Fashion.
Have you had to overcome any setbacks along the way?
We started the business in the height of recession which was quite possibly the toughest time for a new fashion brand to start. But we saw the positive side to it, having the slow growth during the recession helped us put in place all the systems we needed and to get the back bone of the company structure in place ahead of when it got super busy.
What have you learnt along the way?
To never dwell on a problem, just get on with it and think of a way to fix it.
What did you buy with your first big pay cheque?
I have to look smart for business meetings and I have a weakness for Victoria Beckham dresses. The dresses fit extremely well and they’re good investments.
What advice would you give someone trying to start up their own company?
You have to pick something you are passionate about. I will never get bored of designing shoes – even in 20 years’ time!
We’re always obsessing over our work/life balance – how do you manage it?
I’m actually a bit of a workaholic so I’ll be up all hours working. But my balance is going away to Europe at the weekends. Although, I still semi-count this as work since I’ll be chatting to anyone I meet about the shoes.
How would your colleagues describe you?
Full of energy, passionate and hard-working.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Perseverance. Someone told me I would need bucket-loads of this in the first few weeks of setting up a fashion brand. He was right.