Meet Mollie-May Cartwright, a Wirral fashion brand owner who has made Caramella a social media sensation.
Initially starting off a little slow, Mollie-May soon realised that the more time she devoted to her new fashion brand the better, and completed her university degree in Psychology and quit her part time job to focus on Caramella.
Mollie-May, from Wirral, has now grown the business so much so that it has 234,000 |Instagram followers, a whole host of celebrity fans including Charlotte Dawson, The Only Way Is Essex’s Courtney Green, Amber Turner and Yazmin Oukhellou, Love Island’s Olivia Atwood and Elma Pazar, as well as numerous fashion bloggers.
Having created the business from her mum’s kitchen table whilst juggling lectures and her part-time job, Mollie-May soon realised she needed more space and moved out into a flat before needing to take more space at a storage unit at a friend’s premises.
Mollie-May, 24, explained:
“After taking a storage unit, it soon became really overcrowded and so I applied for a lease at North Cheshire Trading Estate. I have our space for 10 years now which is a huge warehouse as well as a boutique inside the space with changing rooms to allow our customers to try before they buy. I can already see us outgrowing this space in the next few years!”
Focusing on empowering women to feel their best in her pieces, Mollie-May credits Caramella’s natural growth to her hard work and determination, but also knows first-hand how important it is to carve out time for self-care.
“Last year, I was working every hour in lockdown and just burnt out. I wasn’t making time to switch off and relax and my mental and physical health both suffered. I’ve changed that for the better and know that I can only give 100% if I feel my best.
“In terms of growth, I really want to keep the brand completely exclusive. We were interviewed by ASOS two years ago to be stocked on their site, but after consideration, I planned to stay exclusive and just sell on caramellauk.com. We want to continue to grow naturally at our own rate, always remaining true to the brand, as it’s busy enough as it is!”
Since starting the brand alone in 2017, Mollie-May now has four full-time staff members as well as her mum and nan who both work part-time.
“Previously, I’ve had a traineeship where a college leaver joined us and I’d really like to focus more on young people and offering apprenticeships to those who love fashion but might be unsure about what they want to do. When I was studying for my Psychology degree, I couldn’t have felt more lost. It’s a scary world if you don’t know what you want to do but I want to help kickstart careers.”
For Mollie-May, seeing women feel their best in her designs is the reason why she’s in the fashion industry. Caramella designs a lot of garments in house now, which can pose a financial risk, but one she feels is worth taking.
“It can be worrying to think what if people don’t like our designs, but they always turn out to be our bestsellers and I think that’s because you can’t get them anywhere else. We really strive to be inclusive to all, catering for all sizes and certain styles go up to UK 22. We aim for all of our garments to be available up to that size when we have the resources to do so.”
Mollie-May has huge plans to continue to improve and innovate Caramella’s HQ and workforce and would one day, love to become one of the biggest brands in the world. She knows that doesn’t happen overnight, or without further hard work, but feels the team are taking the correct steps to grow as such.