Money makers: Full-frills fashion

Molly Goddard stole the show at London Fashion Week with her mastery of the frill.


Molly Goddard's frills are the look of the moment
(Image credit: Copyright (c) 2017 Rex Features. No use without permission.)

Molly Goddard stole the show lastSaturday at London Fashion Week.The 28-year-old clothes designerfrom Ladbroke Grove, west London,transformed the brutalist space ofthe Switch House extension of TateModern into a scene of the aftermathof a dinner party with half-drunkwine glasses and crumpled napkins.As for her clothes, "frills are thelook of the moment, and Goddard isthe master", says Lauren Cochranein The Observer.

Recognition of her good workhas come quickly at last year'sfashion awards in London, shewon the award for Britishemerging talent. In 2014 Goddarddropped out of her post-graduatecourse at Central Saint Martins,London's prestigious art school,to put together her first showin six weeks on a budget of£50, using her family's sewing machine. The next dayan order arrived from thebiggest designer shop inChina. Three years later,the collections areproduced in a factory innorth London, and sold inover 30 stores worldwide."This collection will nodoubt add more... stockists,as Goddard's reputation like her dresses only growsbigger."

There's dosh in dregs

"Arthur Kay is on a mission to turn rubbish into revenue," says Laura Onita in The Sunday Times. The 26-year-old's start-up, Bio-Bean, is based in the village of Alconbury, Cambridgeshire. The company collects used coffee-grounds from hundreds of shops, then dries them out and turns them into logs for barbecues and wood stoves. "I got a lot of support quickly," says Kay, whose logs, he says, burn hotter and for longer than wood. "There is huge interest."

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Bio-Bean has raised "many millions" in funding from outside investors, including British Gas. Winning the Shell Springboard competition for innovative energy projects brought £40,000 more. Online retailers Amazon and Ocado have signed contracts, and, in the venture's fourth year, annual revenues hit £7.5m. The business fits neatly into the so-called "circular economy", Onita explains, where entrepreneurs seek to turn waste into new productsor materials. But that's easier said than done, according to Kay. "You have to join the dots between big, horrible problems everyone thinks are insurmountable and make a better, cheaper, sustainable product."

Get sloshed with your pet

"A pet is more like a friend, a roommate or a family member," Brandon Zavala, the 32-year-old founder of Colorado-based "cat winery" Apollo Peak, tells Carol Pogash in The New York Times. "Why are we just feeding them water?" But never fear: Zavala's "wines" contain no alcohol, which can harm pets. Instead, a key ingredient is catnip, a plant that makes cats "go loopy", and the bottles are sold under such names as Catbernet or Pinot Meow at $11.95 a pop.

Two years ago, Zavala, who was then selling pet food products, switched from describing the drink as a "snack beverage" to a "cat wine". The rebrand caught the public imagination and the product went viral online. He was making the wines in his kitchen and couldn't keep up with demand. So he hired help and moved to bigger premises.

Last year, Apollo Peak sold $500,000 worth of pet wines, says Pogash. It's been so successful that copycat products have started to emerge. And with the pet market now worth $40bn in America, you can see why. "The best part of the idea is having wine with your pet that's what drives it," says Zavala. "It's not how it tastes for the cat." The product should also stop your cat giving you that judgemental beady eye when you reach for a third glass of wine after a long, hard day.

The bestselling author you've never heard of

You probably haven't heard of Louise Ross, a 32-year-old former barrister with a gentle Northumberland accent, says Fiona Wilson in The Times. But she is one of Britain's most successful authors. So successful, in fact, that her debut novel, Holy Island, knocked Paula Hawkins' The Girl On The Train off the top spot on the Amazon Kindle bestsellers list in 2015. Late last year, Ross was selling more than 10,000 books every day. However, because her crime novel, set on the island of Lindisfarne, was published through Amazon's ebook self-publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing, you won't find her on traditional lists of bestsellers, which overlook digital-only books.

It wasn't as though Ross didn't receive offers from traditional publishers, she tells Wilson. But the Amazon route, where authors can earn up to 70% royalty on sales, seemed more lucrative. "Even with just a cursory glance, I could see it was more favourable to authors and there was no question of relinquishing that creative control," she says. "What's the worst-case scenario I upload it and nobody likes it? Well, there's nothing lost and we just keep trying."

As it happened, Holy Island won Ross a legion of fans. She's coy on how much she's making from self-publishing, but the fact that she was able to give up her job to write full-time offers a clue. Plus, when you do the maths, 750,000 copies sold at about £3 to £4 is a healthy sum, says Wilson. Digital self-publishing has taken off over the last few years and traditional publishers, who typically prioritised print, are playing catch up.

That might go some way towards improving the overall quality of writing in ebooks, which can vary wildly. But self-publishing authors continue to flood into the market. There are now over four million books in the Kindle Store compared with around 600,000 six years ago. Yet Ross, who joins the ranks of EL James (Fifty Shades of Grey), and Andy Weir (The Martian) as authors who first found success in digital self-publishing, will surely continue to inspire others to do the same.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

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