Inspiring Individuals in Fashion: An interview with Frederica Boetang of Fashion Business Education

6 September 2018

This week, as part of the ‘Fashion and Society' series, I was able to interview Frederica Boetang. Frederica is the founder of Fashion Business Education, a platform geared towards helping fashion creatives develop the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to face opportunities and overcome challenges.

Through courses, the online academy, e-learning, competitions and events – Fashion Business Education provides fashion entrepreneurs with the opportunity to learn from industry experts using relevant up-to-date resources in a location and at a time convenient for them.

If you’re looking for a #GIRLBOSS inspiration, let me introduce you to Frederica.

With a background in lecturing (marketing, entrepreneurship, researching and fashion business advisory), Frederica has taught both undergraduate and postgraduate courses at universities such as The London College of Fashion, Conde Nast College of Fashion Design, and Hult International Business school. Alongside academia and running Fashion Business Education, she is a mentor fashion creatives and often delivers keynote talks and panel discussions on fashion business.

Frederica Boetang, CEO and Founder of
Fashion Business Education

Maya: When did the entrepreneur bug bite you? And what was the thing/person/event that made you go for it?

Frederica: For me it was my second year of university. I noticed that there was a lack of understanding around the business side of fashion. I studied the business side of fashion by doing. However there was the realisation that, there’s so much of in terms of fashion education and even more so fashion entrepreneurship that wasn’t taught - not just at university levels but all levels.  So, in my final year when I was thinking about leaving university, I decided I wanted to do a Master of Arts (MA). My MA was in Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I started the MA with a business idea and that was potentially to start Fashion Business Education -  a platform supporting entrepreneurs. And throughout my MA, I did my research on fashion education and entrepreneurship and how this could be incorporated into education. I wrote my dissertation on fashion education and fashion entrepreneurship.  It was all about creating a model around how we could build entrepreneurship within the fashion education system.

From that I had an idea to create a fashion business and ran that as a project for 2 years, which then moved into me taking a break. The reason I ran that as a project was because I wanted to carry out research and understand what people and the industry needed – was there a gap in the market for what I wanted to do? So, I did that for around 2 years, built networks, participated in collaborations, workshops and so forth. And that grew really fast within the first two years. Our marketing strategy was only on Instagram, where we grew to an audience of over 3000 followers – still at the time, being quite a new business. I took a break from that to refocus on what I wanted to do next and I knew I wanted to re-establish the business. As I was a lecturer, this experience has really helped me gain a good insight into how the education system works. The feedback for Fashion Business Education has been really good from people and I think we’re also seeing how teaching entrepreneurship has changed businesses.

Maya: What has been the most challenging thing you’ve overcome? 

Frederica: The most challenging thing is having to prove yourself in terms of letting people trust you. Especially in the fashion industry, people are quite sceptical when it comes to paying for help – people essentially want things for free, which I completely understand as there are often strict budgets within start-up businesses. However, you need to let people know that they’re paying for quality and resources that are essentially going to help them.

Maya: Just going off that last point, have you had that moment where you think, 'yes, this is really what I'm doing it for?'

Frederica: I think it’s when you have repeat business.Additionally, when people say ‘thank you so much – this is amazing’ or when people are recommending you. For me, even when you get people that have heard of the business through word of mouth, you think ‘wow, this really does seem to be working’.

Maya: Do you have a mentor? How did you meet them and how does they help you?

Frederica: Yes, I love mentors – I think they’re amazing and I’m always telling people about them. I have 2 mentors from University and then I got one more when I left. My mentors have helped me in a range of areas varying from confidence to being able to structure your business well, knowing what contacts to be in touch with and how to build your network – all those mistakes I probably would’ve made if I didn’t go down the route of having a mentor.

I really recommend mentors as they’ve been there, they’ve done it. No-one can say you’re not going to fail or you’re not going to make mistakes. However, in order to grow, you do have to have someone to aim for and learn from them. They can prevent you from making very obvious mistakes which potentially can be avoided.

Maya: The aim of the organisation is educating people regarding the different options in fashion and the business side of fashion. It has subsequently become the first fashion orientated online social learning platform, how do you plan on growing FBE in the next 5 or so years and what are your main obstacles when doing so?

Frederica: In the next 5 years, I see Fashion Business education as being able to have a physical space, which I think is really important – especially being in London, one of the biggest fashion capitals in the world. Also, being able to not just grow in different countries but being able to take the company into the countries where fashion education may not be completely accessible. If you look at places in Africa and the Middle East, this (fashion/clothing) is a part of people’s lives, and I feel like a lot of people with education can turn things like clothing making, which is often traditionally passed down through families into businesses in order to provide an income for themselves. I certainly believe that FBE isn’t just about creating something for now, I believe it is for anyone that has an interest in creating for a greater purpose.

Maya: What are the top three tips you would have to anyone aspiring to start their own business or create a platform like you have done?

Frederica: For anyone wanting to start a business, I would say firstly do your research. It’s really important to do your research and understand it is what you’re getting yourself into.

Secondly, Get a mentor

And thirdly, be confident and have grit – to start a business you need to be very hardworking and consistent.

They’re like three things in one - Grit, confidence and consistency. Having those things are incredibly important as once you fall off or step back and think ‘ah, I can’t be bothered’, you lose that momentum so these are really important qualities for anyone whatever field they’re in whether it’s design, writing education, buying – you name it, it’s really important to have those qualities.

Maya: Whilst setting up your business, what is the main thing you’ve learnt about the fashion industry that you didn’t know before?

Frederica: The fashion industry appears to be quite competitive, saturated or really hard to break into. But I believe now, within the fashion industry there is room for everyone if you focus on your own path, you can create your own opportunities no matter how competitive the industry appears to be – I believe there is room for everyone. There are 8 billion people in the world, there’s not 8 billion within the fashion industry, so I believe there are opportunities out there for people even though this is not perceived in the industry.

Maya: The final question, which I believe you started to touch on earlier - In your words, how would you describe the impact fashion has on society? 

Frederica: A lot of people see it is just an industry, but I believe it to be a lifestyle. Fashion has so much responsibility. So, for example, if we look at the environment in terms of sustainability we are seeing a whole movement there, even something like Veganism – there is a movement there too for example vegan leather. I recently attended a vegan fashion week and we were looking at issues such as body image and the backlog of this from the fashion industry. Another example is representation in the fashion industry, and not many black minority ethnic individuals not only on the catwalks but also in the work staff and the business. I believe fashion has a huge impact on societal matters, even to what we are eating. Everyone is involved in fashion; we all wear clothing.

Maya: I completely agree, I think that’s the aim of my serious of blog posts, to get the point across that fashion is more than a pair of shoes or the latest bag – it has substance to it. 
Well that comes to the end of our interview. Frederica, thank you so much for your time and answering the questions as part of the Fashion and Society segment.

Fashion Business Education offers an extensive range of education resources for those within the fashion industry. To hear more about what the first social learning platform of its kind and what Fashion Business Education offers visit or email


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