Welcome to EW‘s weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
This week we chat with Ella Stapleton, the founder of ALL’E, an online boutique based in Dubai aiming to bring quality and timeless pieces to the Middle East at an affordable price.
Originally hailing from Australia, Stapleton has been based in the emirate for six years and decided to inject the laidback Aussie style into the region by launching the new e-commerce platform.
Emirates Woman sat down with Stapleton to find out more about her career history and what made her want to enter the realm of fashion.
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What was your favourite subject at school?
My favourite subject at school was art! I have also loved subjects that drove creativity.
What was your first job?
My first job was when I was 15 in Australia…My mum’s friend owned a small café and I would help out on the weekends for a few hours.
What inspired you to go into the fashion industry?
When I was a kid I would always use my pocket money to buy magazines and spend my free time reading and cutting out images of the clothes and fashion models, I believe this is what initially gained my inspiration in fashion. From then, when I was around 16, I also undertook a fashion course back home and have always dreamt of having a business in fashion
What eventually brought you to Dubai?
It was actually the travel bug…. When I was 21, my best friend and I travelled around Europe for 5 months and after returning back to Australia we were instantly bored and wanted to explore a new adventure, so we thought of Dubai. It was initially just supposed to be for 6 months, but nearly 6 years later, I am still here.
You’ve launched your online boutique ALL’E just this year. What’s the story behind launching your own e-commerce here in Dubai?
The project was something I had always wanted to do, but I wasn’t pushed to do it until Covid arose, in which I lost my job. Which I now believe was a blessing in disguise, otherwise, with a job, I was comfortable – and wouldn’t have pushed myself to launch my own business.
What do you think the appeal of Australian designers is to this region?
I believe a lot of Australian fashion brands and also style is showcased via social media. Many influencers, models and celebrities worldwide love Australian brands.
What are the key elements of your role?
I’m very hands-on and I believe each element of the business is instrumental in my role. Everything from the styles and brands we work with, photoshoots, social media, packaging and even accounting…
Talk us through your daily routine.
My daily routine consists of waking up around 7am, shower, get ready, have breakfast, walk my dogs and by 9am starting work. The first thing is checking emails, packing orders. Once this is done, will generally move onto marketing, dealing with influencers, updating social media.
From midday onwards, we will generally go through the remaining orders that we have that need to be couried that day and then will go through the inventory and updating the website.
In the final part of the day, I will generally assign to our accounts, making sure everything is in order and then finally will spend around 2 hours sourcing new stock for our upcoming collections.
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What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
A piece of advice that I would give is to be prepared financially when leaving your job to become an entrepreneur. In most cases, sales are going to take a lot longer than you expect and your costs are generally going to be a lot higher than anticipated.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
When I was starting my business I was reading the Success Principles by Jack Canfield, and a bit of advice/quote which has stuck with me is: “With training, determination and hard work you can eventually do anything you set your mind to.”
And what is the worst?
I believe there is no bad piece of advice, some advice works for others, which just may not work for you.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
The biggest challenge is creating brand awareness and making customers feel comfortable purchasing from a new business.
What are your goals for 2021?
We have a lot of goals for 2021, one that we are excited about is ALL’E being involved in a concept store project, in which we would be able to provide our customers with a physical store location where you will be able to shop our collection.
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