Who are you?

My name is Kirsty Curle and I am 26 years old.

What does your business do?

We are a new online boutique, specialising in premium women’s evening wear. Always MAE stands for Always Make An Entrance, and that’s what we want our customers to do. I want them to know they can come to the site and find that wow-factor dress or outfit they are looking for.

Where are you based?

I am based in Glasgow. I launched the website at the end of last year and run the website from home. At the moment it’s the best way to keep costs low while I grow the business.

How did you get started?

I got started working from home, and the stock grew from room to room. I now have a good storage space in my garage, and try to keep stocks as efficient as possible to make the best use of space. I was also really lucky to have the help of my family and husband, who have all been hugely supportive. My younger sister, Mhairi Fergusson, was Miss United Kingdom and so having her model my pieces and help with the promotion was a great head start for Always MAE.

What is your background?

I have a degree in International Business and Marketing from Strathclyde University. I graduated in 2013 and started working in marketing and ecommerce. I always wanted to start my own business and I am hugely passionate about glamorous clothing, particularly evening wear – so I went about sourcing and making my own pieces. I started working on the concept and the brand, and built the website as quickly as possible so I could get the pieces out there and get started. It is still early days and so I run the business alongside my day job but it would be my dream to go full time with it eventually.

What is your top tip?

I think if you have a passion and an idea, go for it. Always MAE was a dream of mine for a while, and I am so glad I took the leap. However, I spent a lot of time trying to refine the idea, and get everything perfect before going live – but as soon as I launched I learned so much, and I am still learning what works best for my business.

How long has your business been running?

8 months.

What was your first deal?

All deals and transactions are very exciting for me. But, I did have Olivia Buckland post wearing one of my pieces on Instagram, and that was very exciting to see come to life.

What was your biggest mistake?

I wouldn’t say I’ve had a huge mistake so far, fingers crossed. But, the main learning curve has been managing the stock. I didn’t know what my most popular sizes and styles were going to be before hand, but now that I have a better idea of my customer base I am able to plan more effectively.

Where do you plan your business to be in five years' time?

I would love to be full time with Always MAE and have more people know about and love the brand as much as I do.

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