IWD 2021 | The Female Founders: Kate Halfpenny, Halfpenny London

“My mother was a huge inspiration. She taught me that anything is possible… Women like my mum and those that came before her did everything they could to allow my generation and future generations to thrive. We stand on the shoulders of giants.”

Beloved by the A-list for her beautiful, vintage-inspired bridalwear, Kate Halfpenny – founder of her eponymous brand Halfpenny London – discusses the women who inspired her brand, and gives her advice to the next generation of Female Founders in the first of today’s IWD-inspired profiles.

Why did you choose to start your own luxury business?

I started Halfpenny London because I felt there was a real gap in the market for interchangeable bridal separates, British made, and using special exclusive fabrics. It was clear my love of bridalwear needed to shine through! I have a passion to create beautiful, treasured garments with longevity, which instantly make them luxury items.

Tell us about the women that inspired you on your journey?

Vivienne Westwood inspired me to look at fashion in a different way. As a young fashion student, she was the hero I worshiped, a maverick who refused to conform. Sound familiar? I think by looking up to her, someone so incredibly inspiring and admirable, it allowed me to be brave enough to find my own path and my own identity. I love that she doesn’t answer to anybody. I feel I’m very lucky to have a self-owned business and have surround myself with incredibly strong powerful women.

My mother was also a huge inspiration. She taught me that anything is possible. My parents gave me the opportunity to go to university and art college, supporting and encouraging me to do all the things my mother and her generation didn’t have the opportunity to do. Women like my mum and those that came before her did everything they could to allow my generation and future generations to thrive. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female founders looking to set up their own brands?

In a saturated marketplace, you must find something unique about your brand, whether that’s you or your products, and what specifically it is about your offering which will make you stand out. For me, I feel at Halfpenny London we’ve always stayed true to the brand and have constantly looked inwards to find out what we’re doing right and harnessing the potential of that. There were already so many other established bridal brands when we launched but no one was doing it in the same way. I was passionate about styling all my own shoots and creating all my own content. It meant the brand had a strong identity and, although it’s naturally evolved over the years, the DNA is the same.

You need to really believe in your brand and know it’s got legs if you’re considering taking that leap. If you get knocked down – which you will, and I did! – you must have the resilience and the fight in you to hold onto the belief you have something people want. It’s great having something you 100% believe in, but you must also research the market to know if there’s a demand for it. You have to create that demand and then the market will accept you, and you will thrive.

halfpennylondon.com

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