Jordan Jervis has spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. But this hasn’t stopped him pursuing his dream of becoming a clothing designer. Here he tells us about his dreams, his business and his plans for the future.
“I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur and designer. So back in 2013, I applied for many jobs within the fashion industry and unfortunately got rejected many times. This was because I needed more experience, but I couldn’t get any because of my disability. During this year, I was also attending psychology meetings where I became very close with my two mentors Colin and Aiden. I told these guys I wanted to make a clothing line; they told me, ‘you have no experience, but anything is possible’. These guys taught me emotional intelligence and mindfulness which gave me the right mind set. So even though I had no experience, I had the correct mind set.
In 2014 I attended London Fashion Week. Before going, I felt very out of place because it is intimidating for someone who is disabled; but still I decided this was the correct industry for me.
Even though I had no experience, and experience is the only way to get into this industry, I was not going to be beaten or back down. So I thought long and hard about how to get in. I decided that I had to launch my own brand, there was so much competition at the time and reasons as to why I shouldn’t launch my brand, which is why I did it!
Launching my brand
I knew it would be a hard journey, but a journey I had to take: so I took the first step. I bought a sewing machine. I had no idea how to use it but I managed to make a stylish bag I still use today. I experimented, making other things which were a complete disaster, but I didn’t give up. I received great motivation and met people I didn’t want to let down. People soon realised what I was trying to do and helped; someone I most appreciate for this is Leon. Leon introduced me to his step-dad Mark who owned a printing shop; Mark helped me take my brand to the next level. I made a 10-piece clothing line and got all the money I had together to order 99 t-shirts.
Within three weeks I had all my clothing manufactured and given to me in a big brown box. I knew the next step was to sell the products, but I had no money to promote myself. I had to come up with a plan quick. I rang Leon one day during the summer of 2014 and asked if he would wear my clothing for a photo shoot, he said yes. I also had my eye on a photographer and now had a reason to ring and meet her. She kindly agreed to the photo shoot and did an amazing job. I used these photos for my online boutique. But still I wasn’t getting any sales. I was a bit stuck, but they say the key to success is to never be satisfied, which I wasn’t and never am.
So I decided the next best step was to sell the clothing face to face. I dressed Leon in the clothing, printed a lot of business cards and went to London! We tried and tried but still no sales. To get sales I knew I’d need to do something which would take my brand to the next level. I had my eyes and ears open for ways forward when Mark told me to showcase my designs at the Essex Fashion Week. I smirked a little but soon decided I had to, for the brand, so I did. Essex Fashion Week really took me to the next level, not so much the brand but I met a lot of amazing people I have stayed in contact with and we have even hosted shows in Mayfair.
The next step for my business will be to visit the Berlin Christmas Market and have a stall there on 15 and 16 December to sell the clothing I’ve designed. I would love it if you could spread the word and support me!”