International Women's Day: VV Rouleaux

Q&A with Annabel Lewis, Founder of VV Rouleaux.

Tell us about your role and your business.

I am the founder and director of V V Rouleaux, a business which brings colour and creativity to all areas of fashion, interiors, and life from a person's wedding to a fashion catwalk to your Christmas decorations at home. We started selling ribbons in 1990 because there just weren't any to be found! From there we have diversified into hats, headdresses, silk flowers, pompoms, feathers and flourishes galore. Ribbons will always be our heart and centre but there is a lot more to V V Rouleaux now than the day it started and that is my role - bringing colour and creativity to any project or person.


What inspired you to choose a career in fashion and accessories?

After being a florist for 10 years I wanted to translate those colours into ribbons and trims to be creative in more ways than with flowers day to day (I still love flowers though!)


Based on your own experience, what advice would you have for women wanting to get into your industry, or start a business of their own?

Research your product, understand the manufacturing process, and make sure you have a route to market. Be unique. Be passionate. 


What do you love most about being positioned in Marylebone Village?

It's so exciting to see Marylebone Village grow up around us, we were one of the first unique retailers in the area and now it is a fantastic destination which we love being part of.


Have you faced any obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your business?

It's been very challenging to be a specialist niche ribbons and trimmings business in the online world. The nature of what we do is so personal and tactile and translating that to social media and website settings will continue to be a challenge. Saying that our Instagram and newsletter are really popular and give such a great insight into V V Rouleaux and what we are about. 


Do you have any tips on how to run a successful business?

You have to be committed to hard work all the time, there really isn't any getting around that. Get support and advice from other people, forge connections and believe completely in what you and your business are about.


Have you put any changes or policies in place to help women succeed within your business?

We have always supported the many wonderful women who have worked for us who have gone on to fulfil their careers in fashion and the interior industry. We give them the most unique and wholehearted experience and insight when they are training and love to see and celebrate their achievements when they go on to their own projects.