These SassyÂ Southsea and Waterlooville fashion firms are booming
OneÂ sells unique, colourful vintage items online, to a customer baseÂ built up entirely throughÂ Instagram without which, she says her business would not exist.
The other custom designs wedding dresses and sells them from the heart of her high-street shop in Waterlooville.
Both are young, female entrepreneurs who have created booming businesses in times when town centre footfall is dwindling, and standing out on social media as an online clothing company is a hard slog.
Twenty-six-year-old Helena Lester-Card, from North End, set up Sassy World in 2014 after following her mum's loveÂ for second-hand and vintage clothing.
She has 40,000 followers on Instagram, aÂ photo and video-sharing smartphone app,Â andÂ says: '˜I set up Sassy World because I felt like there was a lack of bold and colourful fashion in the UK.Â Â
'˜I loveÂ vintage clothes. They'reÂ uniqueÂ and you're less likely to see someone else inÂ the same outfit as you.Â Â
'˜My goalÂ is to inspire others to have fun with fashion and dress however they want.
'˜I'm fussy though, itemsÂ haveÂ to be colourful but fit into current,Â modern trends and beÂ high quality.
'˜I rely heavily on social media '“ Sassy World probably wouldn't exist without it.
'˜Almost allÂ of myÂ websiteÂ traffic comesÂ via InstagramÂ and theÂ majority of my sales are as a result of me posting about an item on thereÂ first.
'˜When I do that I'll often get a sale within the next few minutes.'
HelenaÂ has a studio space at her mum's Southsea homeÂ where she shoots new stock.
'˜IÂ tryÂ to make sure myÂ Instagram profileÂ is aesthetically pleasing,' she adds.
'˜I shootÂ look books, which are photoshoots of aÂ certain collection of clothes, and post the pictures to Sassy World's profile.
'˜I also love posting customer photos. I don't really stick to a theme or schedule I just try to keep thingsÂ really colourful.'Â
Helena started Sassy World as part of her final major project studyingÂ BA (Hons) Fashion Media and Promotion at Northbrook College in Worthing.
She adds: '˜I spent a good year researching and trying to come up with a name.Â
'˜Before I launched I was customising clothes and making flower crowns and selling them locally and on ASOS Marketplace.
'˜Everything sold pretty well so I hoped I'd have a good chance at my own online shop.Â Â
'˜I promoted Sassy World for a couple of months before it went liveÂ and luckily, because I already had my own personal fashion blog, I had built up a potential customer base on social media.Â
'˜I sold everything on the day of the launch and since thenÂ I've stocked independent designers, collaborated with swimwear designer Jade Clark andÂ designedÂ sustainable T-shirts with an illustrator.
'˜Standing out online is often harder for small businesses because there's so much cheap, fast fashion being pumped out by big brands which have the budget to advertise heavily.Â
'˜But there's definitely been a rise in consumers wanting to support smaller brands.
'˜I'm so gratefulÂ I get to do what I love. It hasn't been an easy ride at all but there's lots more I want to achieve.
For 20-year-old Tia Eddy who ownsÂ AlwaysÂ and Forever Bridal Boutique in WaterloovilleÂ town centre, social media isn't as crucial to her success '“Â but she admits it's still important for her to have an online presence.
Tia, from Horndean, opened her shop in January andÂ says: '˜We're on Facebook,Â Twitter, and Instagram, but being a bridal shop we're slightly different to other companies, because we offer a service and an experience not just products.
'˜We don't sell online, but a bride-to-be might see a picture of one of our dresses on Facebook orÂ Instagram, and want to come and try it on.
'˜Our biggest online tool is Google and our second is Facebook which we get a lot of enquiries through.
'˜We try to post on social media five times per week.
'˜We post pictures of stock and other content like industry knowledge and tips.'Â
TiaÂ had her mind set on opening a bridal boutique after spending her school work placement at one, going on toÂ studyÂ fashion and textiles atÂ South Downs College.
She adds: '˜I spentÂ about a year-and-a-halfÂ researchingÂ and making a business case.Â
'˜The hardest part was finding decent manufacturers.
'˜At the boutique people can buy a dress we stockÂ or have one custom designedÂ whereÂ the dress is created from scratch.Â
'˜In that process aÂ bride-to-beÂ will try on different style dresses so we can decide on a shape, such as silhouette, ball gown, or fishtail.
'˜We'll find out if she wants sleeves, lace, beading and so on, then I get to be creative andÂ sketch up designs of what I believe she wants, then we get the dress made.'
Tia stocks up to 100 dresses at a time, which range from Â£595 to Â£1,200. Custom-designed dresses cost about 10 per cent more.Â Â
'˜When I opened up I did worry about whether or not it would work what with the struggle high streets have, butÂ business has been amazing,' Tia adds.Â
'˜We chose Waterlooville because there are lots of bridal shops in Portsmouth and traffic can be really bad. We wanted somewhere near the A3 customers canÂ easily access.Â
'˜I love what I do. WhenÂ a bride puts her finished wedding dress on andÂ smilesÂ in the mirrorÂ '“Â that'sÂ what it's about for me.'