Carly Thompsett

Carly Thompsett

Founder of Anaphase Store

Carly has been an entrepreneur for 3 years when she started her business Anaphase Store in 2015

Tell us about the venture/ business/ initiative you have started...

Carly struggled though her educational years with being dyslexic and dysbraxic but she has broken those barriers down to live out her dreams. Since receiving help from the Princes trust, Carly has become a business mentor and ambassador to give back and help other people who may have the same struggles and give them confidence to blossom. Carly has met Prince Charles and personally been invited to Buckingham Palace – Carly’s business Anaphase Store is Online and based in Cardiff. They stock their own designs and slogans printed onto Clothing ranging from newborn to 5XL, Homeware where they make their own candles and bath bombs, Footwear, Cosmetics, Accessories, Gymwear, Art Prints and Holiday items for the upcoming Seasons.

What is your definition of success? What advice would you give to your younger self about "success"?

I think success is defined in different ways by different people at when I was younger, I thought success was having a drivers license or my own house for example but things change as you do. I have always wanted to have my own business, I used to create my own designs and have piles and piles of art books but didn’t know the next step – I wouldn’t change anything about my journey as it makes me who I am today and maybe I wouldn’t have had the same life experiences that I use as knowledge now.

What challenges have you encountered on your journey and how have you overcome them? Is this a common challenge in your industry? How can we tackle it?

I left school at 15 with some GCSE’s but being dyslexic I was told I probably wouldn’t mount too much anyway so why bother. I got a job and I started at College for 3 years, which I did both full-time. I did hair and beauty for the first year and art and design for the last two. I wanted to become a fashion designer that was my calling in life, my room was always piled high with art books and designs, I was always making things and I just never knew what to do with them. I did all this while I became a manager at my job.

I continued working for a total of 6 years but I started to lose interest; so left to change my career. From that moment on I never really stuck to a job, I bounced around every 6 months to a new job.

I eventually became a mobile carer for the elderly, which I did kind of enjoy because I was always on the move and not stuck in the same place. I then lost my grandad and felt I needed to live my life, so I quit my job, packed my things and I moved up here to Cardiff in 2013.

I met one of my friends soon after moving here and we did talk about my business ideas but I didn’t know where or how to go about it, we had completely different businesses so he could only help me so far. So I carried on with my day job, until one day I woke up and really wanted to pursue my dream. I bit the bullet and quit my job, I thought if I wont do it now I wont ever do it, so googled how to start a business, and one of the first results that popped up was The Princes Trust, so I called in and explained I wanted to start a business and asked if they could help me.

They explained they had a course called the Enterprise programme that I could go on and that’ll get me started. So I accepted, what did I have to lose?

I wasn’t expecting much from the course, but was pleasantly taken a back and surprised at how much information I didn’t know I needed to know to run a business; and the depth of the course was amazing. I came out with a new lease of life and excitement for my new journey. I worked with Gemma to do my business plan and had weekly meet ups to go through all my information to make sure I had everything I needed before I went to launch group – I passed which is like dragons den and so scary. My adventure began and Anaphase Clothing was born.

I was given a mentor for 2 years to help me all the way with any problems and advice and I have networked a lot doing their courses. For the few years, The Princes Trust Cymru have held a pop up shop in St David’s 2 on Mothers Day weekend, which I have attended for 3 years and speaking to people that have been through the same journey really helped me.

My business was slow to start off with which did dishearten me a little, especially as I thought I’d be a millionaire by the first month. But I wasn’t ready to give up so I got a full time job to help with the costs and kept my business going on the side; it has picked up a lot and has been a bumpy ride but I still see potential in myself.

The trust were always there for me for what ever I needed willing to put me in contact with other mentors who would help me if mine couldn’t.

Last year I changed the business name to Anaphase Store as I wasn’t just selling clothing now so it made sense to have store to cover the ranges I have. I have developed an online following on my social media accounts, I have my website that gets a lot of attention, I am verified on Facebook, The Tomorrow store that is run by The Prince’s Trust also stocks my items on their online platform.

I have also collaborated with 4 other businesses that went through the enterprise programme and currently have a fully funded office in Caerphilly thanks to the welsh government. I have been growing my brand to attract all different types of customers so I can create a bigger collection.

I was a young ambassador for The Princes Trust, so I would attend events and do speeches on how the trust has helped me; I am now a volunteer and business mentor.

Along the way I have met Paul Mercer, he used to play for Portsmouth Football team, which my dad is a huge fan of, I asked him for an autograph which he was okay about until the whole room saw, rushed over and formed a line. He was stuck there for about 30 minutes, not sure if I left as his friend, also Dan Bigger and Kelly Hoppen. Kelly loved my ˜Don’t touch my hair sweatshirts and posted it on her Instagram along with Giovanna Fletcher who posted one of my candles on her Instagram story, which in turn sent a lot of people my way.

I have done an interview on BBC radio wales along with Radio Cardiff, Heat, Kiss, Kerrang, Planet Rock and Magic. I met prince Charles who laughed at my don’t touch my hair jumper and told me he loves eBay, at the same event I met Luke Evans, who was really nice and was tweeting about some ambassadors during the morning. My business has also been shortlisted for 5 different business awards, we’ve won 3 of them in one day and one of the awards being the enterprise award with the Princes trust awards, we became a multi award winning business all in one day. I was also invited by Buckingham Palace to attend Prince Charles 70th Birthday Celebrations, I was listed as one of the 35 under 35 top business woman in wales 2018, I have been mentioned in 63 new papers and magazines articles through my journey and its lovely to hear that people still find me just as inspiring, I now also have 2 paid staff members, 3 interns and 8 reps around the country working for Anaphase Store – I feel extremely lucky to have achieved what I have in such a small time.

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? If so, are there any examples you can give and tips you can share with other women on how to overcome it?

Every so often I do get imposter syndrome – but it took me a while to even find out it was a real thing. it wasn’t until I was brave enough to speak to someone that I found out it was completely normal – I don’t get it very often but when I do, I just look back at everything I’ve achieved and it seems to do the trick.

Are there women you look up to? Who are they and why are they inspirational to you?

"I don’t have an answer for this – there isn’t anyone I’ve looked up to"

What are your thoughts on work-life balance? Do you apply any techniques to achieve work-life balance?

I am strict with myself on this and a lot of people are surprised I limit my time. A lot of people think you need to work 24/7 to run your business but you don’t wanna burn yourself out or start hating what you do. I work between 8am and 6pm Monday to Saturday; I use this time to check stocks, do my emails – literally run my business and I will only go outside these times if its an emergency or theirs an urgent request with a customer.

How did you know it was the right time to start your own venture/ initiative? How would you advise someone who is just starting out with a project outside of their regular 9-5 job?

To just do it! It’s like planning a baby – there will never be a right time. I always tell people, don’t live a what if life – if I hadn’t had moved to Cardiff would I have ever started my business, would I have achieved everything I have; well I don’t know but if indent give it a shot, how would I have known. even if you fail, you can still say you tried.

What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?

I have found that people think it’s an easy journey and it isn’t – sometimes far from it. I mentor others because when I started my business I didn’t have anyone to help me even with the basics sometimes and it was so frustrating – so I like to let people know I am here if they need assistance but I don’t just give the answers out. I point people in the right direction.

What mistakes do you see people make when they first start their own venture/ intiative/ business and what advice would you give to women so that they can avoid making these mistakes?

More with clothing brands that start up then ask me for help. I don’t mind giving some advice but I had to find out the hard way, so they should too. I learnt a lot of my lessons from failing or having to research something in a different way; I don’t wanna take those lessons away from that person. The main bit of advice I always give new brands when contacted is 1) don’t buy followers, 2) what you like isn’t always what your customers likes and 3) just because you harass a famous person to wear the designs you love, doesn’t mean you will sell out of stock in 5 minutes – cool it and take it slowly.

Are there any resources/ books you would like to recommend for the women who read your #AspiringWomen article?

I haven’t really used any books – I did sign up to 2 courses to help with my business. The first was a digital marketing for business class at Cardiff Uni and the second was ‘how to sell yourself to the press’ these have been so useful and helpful that I don’t think I would be at this point without them.

Join the Community

Share your experience or nominate an aspiring woman you know!

Share your experience or nominate an aspiring woman you know!