Erica Godfrey, of Oddly Enough, talks to Hatch'd about her recent TV interview, the Mary Portas bid for Derby and the plans for the future of her business.
HM: Can you tell us a bit about how you got involved with the Mary Portas bid for Derby?
EG: I was introduced to the bid by my lecturer at University, she was first contacted by the council who asked for any students that may be interested or would benefit from the proposed scheme. The scheme suggests a new set of retail incubators based in the Derby Market Hall, offering support and mentoring from experience retailers. I was selected because of my business; Oddly Enough, making handmade and up-cycled gifts and accessories. 'We bring love back into unwanted items and are looking to find them new homes.'
HM: If the bid for Derby is successful, what would it mean to you and your business?
EG: If the Derby bid is successful it would give me the amazing opportunity to develop my business and take the next step. Having my own retail space is something that, without this scheme just would not be possible, at least not any time in the near future anyway. I have great ideas for a fully interactive and extremely personal retail theatre experience with emphasis on the appreciation of handmade products and the skills involved. The space would be used not only to sell my products but to interact and engage with customers, not only giving them an insight into how our products are made, but giving them the option to tailor their product appreciating the whole process. The most important part of the scheme, which enables my dream to become reality, is the opportunity to work with traders and retailers who have real experience, they can offer me invaluable support and guidance giving me and my business the skills and confidence to succeed!
HM: How was it to be interviewed on Daybreak?
EG: It was extremely nerve racking to be interviewed for Daybreak, but a great experience at the same time. I actually got to make a pitch (for filming purposes) to two of the most influential members of the town team involved in the bid which actually went really well considering it was unrehearsed! I think I made a good impression they both seemed really impressed with my concept and plans I had for the space. The lovely Katy Fawl interviewed us and immediately put any nerves to rest with her relaxed and friendly attitude, it was also reassuring to see that we were all just as nervous as each other! It went really well though and hopefully helped us on our way to securing the bid.
HM: You're in the final few weeks of your course at the University of Derby, what's been the highlight of your studies?
EG: My highlight actually has to be the the Diploma in Professional Practice; an optional year out in industry where with the support of the University and my lecturers I was able to undertake a series of work placements. I worked for companies such as George as well as independent local label Run-Rabbit-Run. I ended my diploma working for a childrenswear supplier who supply highstreet retailer such as Next, Ted Baker and Debenhams. An eight week trial period developed into a one year job role where I was really able to experience the industry becoming a valued member of the design team. It was also the DPP year which inspired me to start my business, through witnessing this my self and hearing of other students experiences of their workplaces throwing things away; Oddly Enough was born as a reaction to this waste, responding to the fast changing fashion industry which rids itself frequently of last seasons prints, fabrics and trims. By using traditional craft techniques in new ways and using alternative materials, I turn this waste into something new and desirable.
HM: Where did the inspiration for your final collection come from?
EG: As I mentioned previously I witnessed a lot of waste on my placement year, and being a bit of a hoarder I cant stand to waste things that just need a bit of imagination to transform. So my collection has evolved from just that, I wanted to show that with resourcefulness and imagination up-cyled, ethical fashion should not have to compromise on style or more importantly colour! My designs were heavily influenced by the resources available to me, through gathering and hunting for unwanted or
unusable stock. Taking on a new aesthetic; 'Pop Vintage' the range combines garments and accessories incorporating up-cycling and re-use.
HM: What are your long term plans for Oddly Enough?
EG: Obviously my plan for the future all depends on the success of Derby's Mary Portas bid at the moment, however either way I would love to carry on making my products and growing my business, reaching out to new people, both customers and fellow
creatives! There is a great buzz around creative business in Derby so when I graduate I hope to embrace this, and get involved with the many projects and organisations going on at the moment.
Oddly Enough's Spring/Summer '12 collection launches on the 7th June, until then check out the website here: www.oddlyenough.co.uk - alternatively you can find Oddly Enough on and .