My Big Idea

My Big Idea

United States

Ever dreamed of switching up your work life, achieving a dream or starting your own business? Get inspired by our interviews with the young, smart women forging their own path in everything from fashion and beauty to restaurants and the music industry.


My Big Idea #75 – How to set up a street-casting agency  

Brazilian-born stylist and journalist Thais Mendes talks to ASOS editor at large Danielle Radojcin about how she’s shaking up the modelling scene in her homeland with Squad Agency, her street-casting agency that’s based in São Paulo, but which she co-manages from London. Living and working in London for 13 years, Thais wanted to take the growing concept that she saw in the UK of casting charismatic, talented, attractive but non-traditional models, and introduce it to Brazil, where the industry is still dominated by a narrow, sometimes surgically enhanced, conventionally European aesthetic. Thais started Squad Agency in November 2015 – with her friend and associate Patricia Veneziano – out of a desire to reflect the real, 21st-century diversity of Brazil and highlight the talents of young creative people, with the aim of casting them for brands, fashion campaigns and social media activations. Thais’ mission seems to be paying off, as she has now cast models for campaigns by Dove, adidas, Pop magazine, i-D and Converse. This is even more impressive given that Squad Agency has yet to launch its own website (due in early 2017), but instead finds new faces on Instagram, including artists, skaters, DJs and singers, all of whom have their own unique style, personality and attitude, as well as good looks and sizeable social media followings. In addition to scouting more models, Thais is hoping to develop Squad Agency into Squad Network, a creative collective that develops collaborations, projects and brand partnerships in all areas of fashion and advertising. Here’s Thais’ big idea.

My Big Idea #74 – how to set up a healthy breakfast brand  

Creator of healthy breakfast range Qnola, young British female entrepreneur Danielle Copperman talks to ASOS editor at large Danielle Radojcin about how she’s gone from modelling (at ASOS, no less!) to wowing the food industry with her super-nutritious quinoa-based granola. And, at the age of just 23, Danielle has managed to get Qnola stocked at the likes of Waitrose and Selfridges, while still maintaining a successful modelling career. Originally hoping to study nutrition at university, Danielle needed a science A-level. As a result, she taught herself a biology A-level, viewing her studies as a back-up if modelling didn’t work out. In fact, Danielle gained regular bookings – frequently at ASOS – so she didn’t go to university, but instead has since studied for a diploma in nutrition, alongside writing a food blog, Having eliminated gluten from her diet, Qnola was born out of Danielle’s desire to fuel up on a quick-but-healthy gluten-free granola as she went from model casting to model casting. Initially testing out recipes with family, her fellow models and Instagram followers, they inspired Danielle to develop Qnola as a product. Qnola was first launched in 2014 at fellow My Big Idea interviewee Lily Simpson’s Detox Kitchen deli, and the product soon drew an impressive following, as well as the attention of retailers such as Waitrose. With a projected turnover of £300k this year, Danielle is hoping to grow the Qnola team, and is looking for international stockists, notably in the US, as well as keeping up with her modelling career. Here’s Danielle’s big idea.

My Big Idea ⌗73 – how to set up an environmentally friendly social enterprise  

Founding director of social enterprise Do Nation, young British female entrepreneur Hermione Taylor talks to ASOS editor at large Danielle Radojcin about how her online platform is inspiring people and companies to make pledges to change their behaviour or start campaigns for the good of the environment. The seeds of the Do Nation concept were first planted back in 2009 when, after getting an MA in Environmental Technology, Hermione decided to cycle from London to Morocco as a personal challenge. Instead of looking to raise money, she asked people to donate simple, sustainable actions to sponsor her trip – such as cycling to work or eating less meat. These donations saved the equivalent of an impressive 84 flights’ worth of CO2 emissions, which inspired her to eventually set up Do Nation. Since then, over 10,000 people have made nearly 19,500 pledges on Do Nation supporting other people’s challenges, and Hermione herself has even given a TED talk on why small actions can help to tackle climate change, using her life-changing adventure to Morocco as an example. Initially a platform for individuals to make pledges, Do Nation has attracted the interest of the corporate world. Today, their clients include popular food and drink brand Innocent and the electronics giant Siemens. Hermione is looking to get even more people and organisations involved with Do Nation and inspire the next generation of leaders focusing on issues of sustainability. Here’s Hermione’s big idea.

My Big Idea #72 – Becky Tong on how to start a music promotion company  

Twenty-something British female entrepreneur Becky Tong talks to ASOS editor at large Danielle Radojcin about her London-based music company Juicebox, a business that encompasses music curation, artist management, press and radio promotion, and even has its own record label. Becky didn’t go down the usual route of university, instead preferring to explore her passion for music by starting out as an intern at Sony Records at the age of 18. She spent three years at the label, picking up valuable experience of developing artists and promoting them. Last year, Becky decided to strike out and launch Juicebox with her business partner Adam Callan. Becky’s role at Juicebox involves bringing new artists into the business, so she’s constantly online, and always on the lookout for fresh, original talent. Her involvement in music isn’t just limited to management and promotion; she keeps her hand in by DJ-ing for fashion parties and club nights, something that’s come quite naturally to her (but that’s no big surprise given that her father is the legendary Pete Tong). With a roster of talent that includes up-and-coming DJ Joe Hertz, Becky is keen to expand Juicebox and sign more artists to the company’s record label – and maybe even persuade the likes of Solange to join their ranks… Here’s Becky’s big idea.

My Big Idea #71 – how to set up a digital fashion agency  

Twenty-something fashion blogger and entrepreneur Natalie Hughes talks to ASOS editor at large Danielle Radojcin about working with Christian Louboutin, Natalie Massenet and building a business that looks after the social media content and strategies for fashion and lifestyle brands. Having previously worked at Net-A-Porter as their social media editor, developing the site’s social media presence and working closely with Dame Natalie Massenet, Natalie then moved to Christian Louboutin, where she oversaw the luxury shoe brand’s launch on Chinese social media channels. In addition to her work at The Fashion Digital, Natalie uses her 10 years of industry experience to lecture on social media at Central St Martins. With an impressive 600,000 followers on Pinterest, she is an influencer for the channel – you may have even spotted her in TV ads for the platform! Currently based at her home office in London, Natalie is keen to expand her roster of clients and eventually hopes to grow her self-funded start-up into something much bigger, offering digital products such as apps and webinars alongside the social media content curation and strategy services she already provides. Here’s Natalie’s big idea.

My Big Idea #70 – How to launch your own fashion label  

Young female fashion entrepreneur Jessica Gebhart, who left Topshop to start her own fashion label, talks to ASOS senior fashion editor Jemma Tibbals about building a brand, the decision to surpass fashion’s traditional seasonal trends and what she values above anything else in a pair of jeans. Applying her background in denim buying at Topshop and styling experience from her time at fashion bible Dazed, Jessica started her own label in 2014. Based online, is home to denim, jersey and a small ceramics offering, all produced with an ethos of longevity and made to withstand the test of time. Jessica discusses the production process, where she looks for inspiration and how she uses social media – in particular Instagram, thanks to its focus on visual curation – to get her label out there. With a second London pop-up store on the horizon and the latest women’s and men’s collections dropping on 24 October, I and Me is a fashion label on the ascent. Intrigued? Here’s Jessica’s big idea.

My Big Idea #69 – How to set up a health food and lifestyle enterprise  

Creator of the popular Detox Kitchen, young British female entrepreneur Lily Simpson talks to ASOS editor at large Danielle Radojcin about building a health food and lifestyle brand that is loved by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Elle Macpherson. A lifelong love of food and a hands-on involvement in her business have helped Lily to establish two delis in London, a concession in Selfridges, a fitness studio and a successful food delivery service, as well as co-write a best-selling cookbook – it’s no wonder that this year her company is due to turn over an impressive £5million. All the more impressive given that she started out with a £10k bank loan. The former caterer launched Detox Kitchen in 2012 when a client asked her to create tasty recipes that would help her shed her post-baby weight. Then, in 2013, the company received a massive boost when Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow endorsed it on her lifestyle website Goop. Currently in the process of revamping her deli in London’s Soho, Lily is also planning three more London locations, has a new vegetarian cookbook coming out in the New Year, and has her sights set on eventually taking Detox Kitchen to New York. Here’s Lily’s big idea.

My Big Idea #68, How to set up your own homeware design company  

Homeware designer Elizabeth Elsey of interiors brand Elizabeth Scarlett talks to ASOS editor at large Danielle Radojcin about producing everything from cute cushions to luxe bed linen and the challenges of making her creative vision a success. Having studied fine art at Central St Martins then switching to a business degree at Westminster University, Elizabeth launched Elizabeth Scarlett in 2013, using her signature hand-painted designs to adorn lifestyle products, which are now stocked in high-end stores such as Fortnum & Mason, and as far afield as Ibiza and St Tropez. Elizabeth has just gone full time with Elizabeth Scarlett, having previously combined her work on her homeware range with working for high-street retailers including John Lewis and B&Q. She has used the commercial knowledge she also gained from her time on the retail graduate scheme at Tesco with her eye for design to create a high-quality but affordable lifestyle range that is increasingly loved by 20-somethings. Now, with a candle collection in the pipeline, Elizabeth is proof that passion, allied with appealing design and commercial nous can take you a long way. (And some wise words of advice from the Oliver Bonas himself don’t hurt either!) Here’s Elizabeth’s big idea.

My Big Idea #67, How to launch a photo-sharing website  

Welcome to the weekly ASOS podcast, bringing you inspiring career advice from amazing women. In this episode, editor at large Danielle Radojcin talks to Katie Hobbs, the founder of private photo-sharing site KatchUp. Katie talks about how KatchUp was born after she graduated from Loughborough University in 2011. The idea came to her when she and her family discussed how they all had great photos scattered across laptops, phones and computers, but they felt that there wasn’t a way for them share their images on social media easily and, most importantly, privately. Here, Katie discusses the challenges of securing government funding for her start-up (she had to submit a 12,000-word proposal!), how she has monetised KatchUp without featuring any adverts on the site and app, and reveals what it’s like working with her family, especially as her parents have their own business. Now based in west London since May 2016, and with an impressive 50,000 downloads for the app, Katie heads up a small-but-dedicated team of marketers and developers and is looking to build the events side of KatchUp, possibly working at larger events like festivals, and one day even going global. Here’s Katie’s Big Idea.

Danielle Pender of Riposte - My Big Idea #66  

Welcome to the podcast from ASOS that brings you awesome career advice from inspiring women. This episode, Georgia Murray chats to Danielle Pender, the founder and editor of Riposte. Billed as ‘a smart magazine for women’, Riposte features interviews with an array of subjects, from the freshest talent around to feminist heavyweights like Gloria Steinem. The publication has been featured on Monocle, It’s Nice That, Creative Review and the Sunday Times Style magazine. Danielle talks us through how her experience as a curator at KK Outlet, the London office of Dutch communication agency KesselsKramer, led to her founding Riposte, the importance of teamwork, and how she spotted a gap in women’s media (and then filled it). This is Danielle’s Big Idea.

My Big Idea at London Fashion Week - Emma Elwick-Bates  

This My Big Idea podcast comes directly from London Fashion Week. In this podcast, ASOS editor-at-large Danielle Radojcin speaks to American Vogue's fashion and news editor Emma Elwick-Bates. Emma graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2002 with an MA in fashion history and joined British Vogue in 2005 as a fashion features assistant, where she also held the position of market editor. In 2013, she was named as American Vogue's style editor. Emma has previously worked at Dazed & Confused, the BBC in their factual entertainment department, and contributed to The Guardian and BBC News. She also sits on the British Fashion Council's NEWGEN panel and has presented live panels with members from brands including Gucci, Marc Jacobs and Chanel. In this podcast, Emma shares her tips on breaking into the fashion industry, her fashion week highlights and what it's like to work for Anna Wintour.

My Big Idea at London Fashion Week - Penny Martin  

This My Big Idea podcast comes directly from London Fashion Week. In this episode, ASOS editor-at-large Danielle Radojcin speaks to Penny Martin, editor-in-chief of The Gentlewoman magazine about how she has made it such a success and her tips for those looking to build a career in fashion journalism. Penny has also served as the chair of Fashion Imagery at London College of Fashion, editor-in-chief of, curator of special collections at The National Women’s Library and curator at The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television. She is also a contributor to magazines including Fantastic Man and The New York Times, W Magazine, has worked alongside Nick Knight and has curated exhibitions at galleries and museums including The Photographers' Gallery and Somerset House in London. The Gentlewoman offers an informed and intelligent view on fashion, combined with progressive journalism and features on influential modern women such as Fatima Bhutto, Alannah Weston and Floriane de Saint Pierre.

My Big Idea at London Fashion Week - Alexandra Shulman  

This week's My Big Idea podcast comes directly from London Fashion Week. In this podcast, ASOS editor-at-large Danielle Radojcin speaks to the editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, about her time at the title, its fashion legacy and her advice for those wanting a career in the industry. The longest-serving British Vogue editor began her fashion journalism career in 1982 at Tatler magazine, subsequently working for a host of Condé Nast publications including the British edition of GQ, as well as being a prominent author and writing for the Sunday Telegraph and the Guardian. Some of Shulman's most memorable issues have been the Millennium Issue, which cast readers as cover models, and the Gold Issue, depicting Kate Moss in silhouette. Shulman has always made a point of working against the promotion of unattainable beauty standards in fashion, addressing the issue in interviews and in her writing. It goes without saying that Shulman has become a legendary member of the fashion community and is in a unique position to give career advice and her thoughts on the future of fashion.

My Big Idea at London Fashion Week - Charlotte Lurot  

This My Big Idea podcast comes directly from London Fashion Week. In this podcast, ASOS editor-at-large Danielle Radojcin speaks to Charlotte Lurot, the director of Bacchus, a creative agency offering public relations, production, and social media services to brands in the luxury lifestyle sector. Lurot began her career working for Thierry Mugler in Paris before co-founding Bacchus. Since then Bacchus has designed, built and managed some of the main show spaces at London Fashion Week, working with the designers to express their visions and bring their shows to life. As well as with the British Fashion Council, Lurot has worked with clients including the famous David Shrigley-decorated restaurant Sketch, The V&A, Nobu, Beyoncé (yes, really), Kenzo, Christian Lacroix, Rihanna, adidas and Soho House. In this podcast, Lurot details her work for London Fashion Week and how she made a name for herself in the industry.

My Big Idea at London Fashion Week Special - Harriet Verney  

This My Big Idea podcast comes directly from London Fashion Week. ASOS editor-at-large Danielle Radojcin speaks to Harriet Verney about her upbringing in the world of fashion and how to break into the industry. Harriet Verney is a London-based writer and journalist who contributes to i-D, US Vogue and, LOVE, GQ, Teen Vogue, Stylist Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Lula and many more. The niece of fashion icon Isabella Blow, who helped to launch the career of Alexander McQueen, Harriet is currently contributing editor at Wonderland and senior editor at LOVE magazine. Harriet has herself been shot by photographers including Mario Testino, Nick Knight and Bettina Rheims. The east Londoner has most recently shot for Teen Vogue (in a self-styled main fashion story), Paper Magazine and Tank. She regularly partakes in SHOWstudio's discussion panels alongside fashion luminaries like Lisa Armstrong, Hilary Alexander and Colin McDowell.

My Big Idea at London Fashion Week Special - Lou Stoppard  

This My Big Idea podcast comes directly from London Fashion Week. In this podcast, ASOS editor-at-large Danielle Radojcin speaks to Lou Stoppard about working in the fashion industry, breaking the internet on a regular basis and generally being a boss. Lou Stoppard is an Oxford University graduate, SHOWstudio editor and a freelance writer, curator and broadcaster. SHOWstudio has been at the forefront of the fashion film industry, collaborating with some of the most influential figures in the biz including John Galliano, Kate Moss, Rick Owens, Comme des Garçons and Alexander McQueen. Lou has interviewed the likes of Kanye West, Jeremy Scott, Alexandra Shulman and David Sims. Lou also curated her first exhibition, Mad About The Boy, in 2016. The show focused on fashion's obsession with and portrayal of youth and featured work by Glen Luchford, Raf Simons, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Kim Jones, Nick Knight and Meadham Kirchhoff. Needless to say, Stoppard is making waves in the fashion industry.

My Big Idea at London Fashion Week Special - Angel Chen  

Welcome to My Big Idea, an ASOS podcast bringing you inspiring and practical career advice. This episode comes to you directly from London Fashion Week. ASOS editor-at-large Danielle Radojcin speaks to up-and-coming Chinese fashion designer Angel Chen who is showcasing for the second time at London Fashion Week after graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2014. Chen’s designs are packed with colour and sequin embroidery, drawing inspiration from mythical creatures, her dreams and from dancing. At graduation, Chen was named as a designer to watch by Fashion Scout and featured in Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30. All Chen’s designs use innovative fabrics, mainly sourced from the Première Vision trade show, giving her designs a unique, eclectic feel. In this podcast, Chen speaks about her ethereal designs, her love of colour and her tips for those wanting to break into the fashion industry.

Jade Golding of The Little Deer - My Big Idea #65  

Welcome to the weekly ASOS podcast, bringing you inspiring career advice from amazing women. In this episode, managing editor Lucinda Greasley talks to Jade Golding, the founder of Brighton-based independent online fashion and lifestyle store The Little Deer. Jade created The Little Deer while she was still studying for her design and photography degree, and has used the skills she acquired from her studies as well as the experience she gained from her previous jobs in retail to realise her dream of being her own boss. The site stocks small independent clothing, accessories, jewellery and homeware brands, alongside The Little Deer’s own in-house interiors collection. Jade does everything from designing the site’s artwork, doing the photography, managing its social media accounts and even packing and posting orders, and she also has a stall at London’s Netil Market in Hackney, which provides plenty of inspiration. Here, she talks about the challenges of setting up a website and running her own business, trying to balance her workload with her downtime, working with friends, and how her retail experience has helped her become a success. With plans to grow The Little Deer team in the future, add more brands and develop The Little Deer’s own collection, no doubt you’ll be hearing and seeing plenty more from Jade over the next few months. Here’s Jade’s Big Idea.

Charlie Craggs - My Big Idea #64  

Welcome to the weekly ASOS podcast, bringing you inspiring career advice from amazing women. In this episode, features editor Jen Lynn talks to Charlie Craggs, the activist and founder of Nail Transphobia. Charlie talks about how she is helping to educate people on transgender issues, by taking her pop-up nail salon around the UK and giving free manicures to the masses, while providing them with the opportunity to ask her about her life as a trans woman. Recently crowned number one on The Observer’s New Radicals list, Charlie also talks about how positive press is helping spread her message even further, and what she plans to do next. With a nail product and a book in the pipeline, you’ll be hearing plenty more from Charlie over the coming months. Here’s Charlie’s Big Idea.

Lucy Moore of Claire de Rouen - My Big Idea #63  

Welcome to the weekly podcast from ASOS that brings you awesome career advice from inspiring women. In this episode, editor Danielle Radojcin talks to Lucy Moore, the director of cult London fashion and art photography bookshop, Claire de Rouen. Lucy talks about what it’s like taking over a business that’s already up and running, why she loves doing wedding lists, and gives us the lowdown on her new space at Selfridges. She also talks about her clientele, which ranges from students to Hollywood actor Benicio del Toro. She also gives her indispensable tips on how to start your own photography coffee-table-book collection, from rare tomes from the likes of Diana Vreeland, to sourcing cool free zines by the likes of fashion designers Grace Wales Bonner or Simone Rocha, not to mention the best hashtags to follow on Instagram for beautiful book sourcing. Here’s Lucy’s Big Idea.

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