Carly Thompsett, Founder of Anaphase Store
An up-and-coming clothing, homeware and accessories company based in Cardiff
The first enterprise award I won was for picking myself back up after taking a massive punch to the face! I was convinced my first self-designed T-shirt collection was going to sell out fast. I’d had them professionally printed and modelled… spent money on advertising. Success was guaranteed, right? Wrong! I was gutted.
It was the second time a business venture had flopped. The first time round, I’d borrowed £4,000 off The Prince’s Trust to set up. My big idea was to print other people’s T-shirt designs for things like hen parties. I bought a top-of-the-range laptop, a heat press printer, speciality inks and T-shirts for testing on. I was finally living my dream after drifting from dead-end job to dead-end job; then the complaints started coming in… People wrote down spellings wrong but blamed me. My insurance couldn’t cover it all; it was costing too much, so I sold everything off except the laptop.
That’s when I had the idea to do my own designs and take back control, except my first range had failed too! I could’ve given up there and then, but all the way through school I was told I’d amount to nothing. I had something to prove, so I humbled myself and did my research – looking into the type of T-shirts people wanted and connected with. My next design was a lady hugging a slice of pizza; I wrote: ‘True Love’ underneath. I trialled it and it was an instant best-seller!
Anaphase Online was born and I added a homeware range featuring my own homemade candles and bath bombs. I’ve since expanded into makeup brushes, bags, mugs and jumpers, and I’m authorised to use slogans from the TV show ‘Friends’.
As well as selling online, I’ve opened a shop in Cardiff, so I’ve rebranded to Anaphase Store. I’ve got nine reps around the country, as well as three paid staff members – including my sister, who does my social media.
I’ve met loads of celebrity ambassadors for The Prince’s Trust and went to Prince Charles’ 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace. As a business mentor for The Trust, I help other young people who’ve struggled – giving them the confidence to blossom.