October 3, 2023

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

by Nicole Hains

Rosie van Cutsem Founder TROY London

Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Rosie van Cutsem and I founded TROY London in 2013 with my sister Lucia Ruck Keene. Together we design and manufacture quality outerwear and wardrobe staples for men and women around the world to enjoy season after season. Drawing on our love of the English countryside, all our designs have an intrinsically British stamp, crafted from the finest quality fabrics and trims and made exclusively in factories across the British Isles.

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Lucia and I were fortunate to be brought up in rural Oxfordshire and after graduating we took on busy careers in the financial district of London. We both noticed a real lack of outerwear for women that was elegant and also performed in the elements. We took it upon ourselves to design some solutions to this problem, quickly developing our brand TROY London to meet the real demand we uncovered. Over the past six years we have grown our womenswear collection to include shirting, soft knits and specialist collaborations, and more recently we have expanded into menswear with a carefully curated capsule for our growing number of male customers to enjoy around the world.

Describe the process of launching the business.

We started as sisters around the kitchen table, and quickly realised we needed to expand with a permanent space, team and funding. Initially fuelled by our savings, we reached out to a small group of family a friends, with whose support we launched our first real collection in 2016 and we haven’t looked back.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

The quality of our designs remains the most important retention tool we could hope for. Our customer makes considered purchases and rightly expects long lasting performance alongside beautiful design. We have to deliver on this promise. We initially grew TROY through word of mouth, but quickly realised the importance of accelerating the reach of our message with social engagement and advertising, strategic collaborations and press.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Whilst the world has been a scary place during this pandemic, we have been fortunate to experience rapid growth and a growing fan base around the world. We have partnered with a small number of excellent wholesalers and grown our e-commerce sales in UK, US and Northern Europe. We have launched our menswear range, spurred on by the demand of our customer base who value the style and quality of our designs and wanted them for the men in their life!

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Resilience and the importance of maintaining a steady hand even in the face of problems you feel are beyond you. Surround yourself with independent thinkers and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We work across most social media platforms and business tools for video conferencing, newsletter creation and communications. I am sure there are many more to discover so we never rest on our laurels!

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I am a big fan of Business of Fashion and try to devour the weekend papers when my two small sons allow me. I mainly read books to switch off from the day, so that is a source of escape for me.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

To go for it! Surround yourself with positive people and ask their advice, you will be amazed how supportive people will be if you put in the time.

Where can we go to learn more?