IWD 2021 | The Female Founders: Stella Gittins, Founder, AGC

“Starting a business was instinctive, it was the only way to be able to spend my days not restricted by set boundaries and collaborating with the like-minded bunch at AGC has led to us exceeding every expectation we have ever set ourselves.”

In our female founder focus today we speak to Stella Gittins, Co-Founder & Group Director of AGC, a company with a mission to produce intelligent, carefully considered interior design and furnishing solutions. Here Stella shares her journey, and how to thrive in the luxury industry women must empower one another, be quietly determined, and surround themselves with individuals who are the right cultural fit.

Why did you choose to start your own luxury business?

I’ve always believed in the importance of making your own fun, and pursuing a passion whilst developing a culture, which enabled me to be surrounded by a team with identical values, was me doing just that. Starting a business was instinctive, it was the only way to be able to spend my days not restricted by set boundaries and collaborating with the like-minded bunch at AGC has led to us exceeding every expectation we have ever set ourselves. There’s always so much excitement when you think about what’s next and in the luxury market we find so much inspiration from both established and iconic brands through to the new, innovative and rule breaking. Luxury is no longer about being safe, there are so many luxury brands out there now who are proud to play with their personality.

What is it about British luxury that means new, female-led brands thrive?

Although my business partner is male, our organisation is predominantly female including 80% of the leadership team, of which 75% have a family. I realise those are rare statistics but as we find ourselves in the female dominated interiors industry, circulating in what traditionally is a male dominated luxury property market; I can gratefully say that it really is possible to thrive. It’s all about empowering each other, being quietly determined and surrounding yourselves with individuals (be it internally, supply chain, investors and affiliates) that are the right cultural fit. There are endless support networks now for females, books and events; those that are ambitious and visionary will find it easier than ever to have a seat at the table and use their voice.

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

My advice would be to simply start. Surround yourself with the right network of people and ensure that they share your values. Wear trousers, wear a skirt, a skirt over trousers if that makes you feel powerful, and just be fearless. Most importantly … go and get sh!t done.

www.agofc.com