I basically created it from nothing, and I literally mean nothing! I didn't have a spare couple of grand lying about, in-fact I was pretty much in my overdraft as I wasn't working at the time. I'm not going to lie my family did help me, especially with my first venture but with no more than a thousand pounds over a period of 3/4 years and most of that was to go to my first trade event.
For Hidden Beneath, the thing that set me apart from perhaps someone starting a brand from scratch was that I had some experience. I often look at Cotton Sparrow as an expensive internship. In any industry, especially the creative industry, experience is priceless. Also knowing my way around a sewing machine has saved me thousands in manufacturing costs, not that I like sitting in front of a sewing machine - I'm a designer not a seamstress, but needs must.
From a money perspective luckily, the materials needed to create a bralette and pants are minimal. You can make a good small collection from a meter of fabric, a couple of sliders,o-rings and elastic. I had decided that I wasn't using silk and lace as I had a stock pile of jersey fabric and I didn't feel confident using those kind of fabrics at the time. All this is less than a tenner. My machine which I have had for a while was a gift so already my outlay was minimal. I get my packaging from Amazon but before I started using boxes I would buy a couple of padded envelopes from the post office and tissue paper from Paperchase. The only branding I've brought is business cards and stickers, and that's easy enough to do online.
My main expense was the website which I've made using a website hosting platform. That's about £130 a year, so about £11 a month which is very manageable. I use my phone for photography so that's an easy one and I either model or find a girl off Facebook who wants to build her portfolio and will do a shoot for prints and a set. Although this all works out fine there is a vast difference between a professional model and a rookie that might be worth the investment, but that would be a minimum of £600.
As far as marketing goes, since the dawn of Facebook et al the game has changed and even though the competition gets harder constantly I can market my brand for free. Granted this method will only get you so far. I do use micro influencers and photographers and they are so helpful in providing imagery and feed back. They provide a constant link which is what you need to grow.
I guess this is a boring and obvious post but I don't know how it all looks from the outside. It's not glamorous but like I've said before I can't not do it and I'm happy with the progress I've made so far - no matter how slow it's been. So basically, I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you want to start something from scratch, if you have a dream, trust that you can do it and that you'll find a way to do it regardless of your situation because if I can do it, anyone can.