Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Curvy and Successful: Lynn Coffill

Meet lovely Lynn Coffill, Vintage Lynndy Loo in this weeks Curvy and Successful feature.

1. Tell us about you and what your business does?
Hi, i'm Lynn Coffill. I turn 40 this year & my bespoke corsetry & costume business, Vintage Lynndy Loo, will have been running 5 years by the time I hit the big 4-0. As everything I do is bespoke, I have produced pieces for films, burlesque dancers, brides, Cosplay performers, even an underwater mermaid costume. I work with women of all ages & sizes, which is something I love - no client is ever the same as the last. I also send my work around the world - my furthest commission was for a client in Canberra, Australia.

2. Have you always wanted to run your own business?
 No. Vintage Lynndy Loo was born out of a desire to return to work after becoming disabled with the autoimmune illness, Psoriatic Arthritis, in my late twenties. I was too sick to work for years & when I tried to return to work, the instability in my health made conventional employment almost impossible. Combine that with constant doctors appointments & I knew the only way I would ever be able to return to work full time was by being self-employed.

3. Where did the idea for your business come from?
I joined the wardrobe department of my local theater group in a bid to meet people, and have a hobby that gave me something to do rather than just sitting around dwelling on my health issues. By the time I was 10 I was hand sewing stuffed mice, which were then dressed in period accurate costumes, also made by hand. So the wardrobe team soon started an obsession in me. I made 7 mock corsets for Jeckyll & Hyde & once I had done that, I wanted to make a steel boned corset. I was hooked after my first proper corset & it grew from there.

4. What were you doing before starting up?
I was in the RAF from 1997-2004 when I was discharged on invalidity due to my arthritis appearing in 2001.

5. What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Research! Take a business course to get the basics down to pat. Learn everything about your chosen field. Ensure you know exactly who your competition is & what it is they are doing. Learn about social media - these days, the power of Facebook, twitter & Pinterest should never be underestimated. Be prepared to have little social life & work long long hours. If you believe in yourself & your business you achieve your goals. One final point, don't be afraid to be fluid. Small businesses have a massive advantage over large companies in that respect. We can move easily with the trends & can change tactics quickly if it's required.

6. Where do you want to be in five years' time?
In five year's time I would like to be working regularly on major motion films, and still learning new techniques to bring the seemingly impossible to life in a fabric medium.

Lynn Coffill
Vintage Lynndy Loo
Creating beauty out of chaos

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