FIVE MINUTES WITH… NATALIE MATTHEWS, FOUNDER AND CEO OF HEIGHT OF FASHION
In our next Five Minutes With interview series, we hear from Natalie Matthews, founder and CEO of online retailer, Height of Fashion, a bespoke clothing range ‘founded by a Tall Woman, made for Tall Women.’
In our exclusive interview, Natalie talks to Consumer Director Lisa Wlodyka about building a career abroad before starting her own business and discovering an eCommerce brand that would empower and change tall women’s lives around the world.
Lisa Wlodyka: Congratulations on hitting over 16.5k Instagram followers with Height of Fashion. Tell us about the business?
Natalie Matthews: Height of Fashion is an online retail store for tall women across the world. At 6’3″, I know how difficult it was to find clothes that make me feel confident and fashionable. I wanted flattering clothes that were edgier than any other tall collection. With nothing on the market, I created the collection myself.
Everything we create has been designed with great care, detail and consideration.
We understand the true meaning of being tall and the need for longer length.
We have curated a range of signature styles that can take you from day to night and provide both timeless and effortless style for your everyday need.
Currently we ship to 29 countries and we’re actively looking to grow the product range and presence in America, Europe and Australia in the next 5 years.
Lisa: Where is Height of Fashion based?
Natalie: I live in Elwood, Melbourne Victoria. The lifestyle here is pretty epic. It’s classed as one of the most liveable cities in the world for a reason. Great food, nightlife, work opportunities and affordable living, close to the city… Kind of a no-brainer if you have the courage to live abroad.
Lisa: How did you start out?
Natalie: My career is wide and varied. Before starting a fashion label designed specifically for tall women, I had literally worked in every industry doing marketing, account management, business development or in eCommerce. It’s the reason why starting a business came easy to me as I’ve gained so much experience over the years. I had an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age so it felt intuitive to take the next step on my own.
Lisa: What would you recommend for people looking for a career in eCommerce? What skills do you need to be successful?
Natalie: Having worked in eCommerce for 10 years, I understood how to set up an online business as well as the elements behind warehousing and fulfilment, right up to building a website and using a great PR agency, so that really helped formulate my knowledge and confidence to go for it.
My advice would be gain as much experience in the industry as possible. Work as an intern, for free or as a paid colleague but definitely gain as much exposure and experience as you can. It’ll not only help you understand the ins and outs of eCommerce but also gain a true perspective of the pros and cons to running and owning an online business.
“There is always more than you think to running a business and the reality is very different from the expectation.”
Lisa: What trends have you noticed in the sector? How have you spotted opportunities and adapted to the challenges of running your business?
Natalie: It’s all about omni channel! Having the same capabilities of product and service purchase across all platforms: website, instore, online, apps, TikTok, Instagram, etc.
With being in a global niche, naturally my biggest opportunity is global expansion but my biggest challenges at the moment are navigating inflation and the ever-increasing material and supply chain costs, not to mention changing delivery times. Due to Covid and global supply pressures, all costs have increased. As a result, most businesses like mine are having to look at every area to try and reduce costs and plan further in advance to save on shipping costs. Gone are the days where you would use air freight to ship in goods. It’s just too expensive. So I’m learning every day how to remain profitable but affordable which in this current climate is hard as a small business.
Lisa: What insights would you share with other fast-growing brands?
Natalie: Help smaller brands become visible, focus and double down on your offering and USP. It’s easy for a small business to get lost in the digital universe, why not help sing their praises and lessons learned. What is it you do that keeps your customer coming back? How do you manage changing outgoing costs? We all start somewhere, and your advice can be the difference between profit and loss. In my experience, a lot of agencies are out for what they can get (the P&L of business) but many are missing the core values and longevity of helping businesses grow compared to making a quick buck. For me, it’s all about nurturing relationships and helping others grow.
Lisa: How do you start your day?
Natalie: In summer, I am up early, on the beach and having a stroll with a coffee or going for a morning dip, followed by meditation and an audiobook enroute to the studio. In winter that is non-existent! I am still up early, just a little slower at getting out of bed and being on the go.
Lisa: Aren’t we all!
Natalie: Ha! You too, eh? Meditation and an audio book is always a morning routine without fail. Audio books and podcasts feed my brain which both inspires and motivates me, and meditation helps ground me to focus and be present.
I am always doing a million things and more – whether it’s the business, consulting or biz dev in helping HOF grow. I am just one of those always-on people but I love it – and I thinking up ideas that help people out with products or services. It’s why I started a business.
Q: Favourite podcast?
Anything about mindset or business. My go-to would be: Jay Shetty – Mindset stems across a lot of areas and he covers lots of topics in these areas. If there was one topic in school I would love to teach it would be mindset/psychology in understanding and controlling thoughts and emotions. It’s why I’ve read so much on this in the past decade. It fascinates me. After all, your life is a direct result of your thoughts and emotions.
Q: Favourite saying?
“You only live once and I don’t want to waste a minute of my life,” by Richard Branson. It has so much punch. He is proof of doing it, trying it and not living with any regrets.
Q: I don’t leave home without..?
My laptop, phone or lipstick. Technology allows me to work anywhere in the world, and I mean, any impromptu Zoom call always looks better with lippie!
Find extra-long clothing with Height of Fashion at https://height-of-fashion.com/.
For more tips on getting started with your own eCommerce brand or using a PR agency, speak to consumer communications experts working with innovative start-up brands. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.