Meet Victoria Jenkins who is the founder of Unhidden Clothing! She worked at Victoria Beckham and other designers before launching a brand of her own which filled a much-needed white space of workwear for people with disabilities. You can learn all about her mission & brand in this recent IGTV video where we ask the following questions:
- Tell me about Unhidden Clothing. How did you get the idea to start this company?
- How did you choose the name?
- Was it a hard decision to quit your job and become an entrepreneur?
- Tell us about your decision to start with workwear and/or anything you’d like to share about employment & people with disabilities.
- Let’s talk about how/where the clothing is made and what was important to you about working with that factory. Was it a challenge to find the right factory partner? How’d you go about that?
- Has it been difficult to market to a group of people who haven’t necessarily been marketed to before?
We had to wrap up our conversation early and had more questions which she has answered below!
Any facts you’d like to share about disabilities?
1 in 5 people are disabled- making up 15% approximately of the population! And 80% of people with disabilities were not born that way, so we really need to consider the impact that has and how much education is failing us in how to navigate the systems of the world.
Are there some limitations for students with disabilities? If so, any ideas on how to fix this?
There are sadly many limitations for students- access to buildings is often the primary issue, then there is the understanding needed by teaching staff and administration of how to accommodate needs. Remote learning has been made possible by covid- those systems need to stay in place for the disabled community to allow them fair and equal access to education across the board.
Should parents with children of that disability speak to adults with that disability?
Absolutely yes- I have spoken to so many adults who have said they wish their own experience had been better and that they want to help the younger generations have a better time of it- because the people who know what children with disabilities need are the people with that same disability.
How can we make things accessible like Zoom for blind and deaf people?
Zoom finally has a closed captions option on paid accounts- I hope to see that improve and become a standard on the free version too. For blind people, audio descriptions and cues on who is speaking and what they look like are a start.
How is your brand sustainable?
We use deadstock cloth (left over fabric from other fabric orders) which means it doesn’t go to landfill or simply that it doesn’t sit in storage unused for years. Our packaging is plastic free and we are working to eliminate impact as best we can- sometimes that means a general over view of where things are coming from, and we work as closely as we can with our factory too.
How have you funded the business?
By 2 friends who are now stakeholders, my own money and my Mum has contributed too.
You’ve gotten such great press! Any tips for entrepreneurs on how to approach their strategy?
TWITTER! That is where every journalist and broadcaster is and they routinely post shoutouts using the hashtag #JournoRequest that states what they are looking for- if you have a publication in mind, find the feature writers, what they write about, and pitch to them if they say they’re open to it.
Any tips for people looking to start a company or for fellow entrepreneurs?
Don’t wait for everything to be perfect- just start! Branding can be revamped, policies can change, you will likely have to pivot and adapt regardless of pandemic going on- but getting your message and story out is key. Also try and have an idea on fundraising too- it can be a lengthy process and if you’re working multiple jobs you’ll need help applying for that.
What changes would you like to see in the fashion industry?
True inclusion. I would like a diverse range of bodies to become so normal it isn’t a cause for comment. We should be unable to choose our favourite disabled/ black/ asian/ Deaf/ silver model because there are so many- that’s what I would love to see.
Where can people find you?
On instagram it’s @unhidden_clothing, Facebook is Unhidden. Our website is www.unhiddenclothing.com.