MY BEST ... was starting my own brand. My very first shop in Wimbledon Village in 1990 was an accessory shop where I bought in other brands. In retrospect, that was lazy - I had trained as a shoe designer. I started my own brand for creative reasons but there were many other benefits. It allowed for interesting travel and, in terms of business, I had fewer suppliers, each with bigger quantities. This has ensured better opportunities for supplier loyalty as well as higher margins. Besides which, you don't have to worry about the competition round the corner. It has also helped our expansion. We now have a wholesale section and sell to 50 other shops in the UK. When the product has your name on it, you treat it with kid gloves. You ensure the style is consistent so customers know where they can find their look.
MY WORST ... Like many entrepreneurs starting out, I had comparatively little initial capital - just pounds 15,000. In order to stretch this as far as I could, I decided to do my own bookkeeping. It was a disaster. There were invoices all over the place - a complete mess. It's not that there is anything wrong with bookkeeping, but I'm a designer, and bookkeeping is just not my strength. Luckily, I didn't have to do it for long; passing it on to someone else was the second-best decision I ever made.