UAL alumni Charlene Hurlock

Co-Founder and Alumni Charlene Hurlock talks to the University of the Arts London

Hey, fabulous readers! 👋 I’m Charlene Hurlock, the golf-loving, networking enthusiast, and Co-Founder of the coolest thing in kids’ fashion – Swoperz! Let’s dive into my journey from being a BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design graduate at LCC to the co-creator of a platform that’s turning heads and saving the planet, one pre-loved outfit at a time.

Arts Over Academics: Embarking on my educational journey, academic subjects were always a challenge for me. However, upon completing the 6th form, I decided to veer off the traditional path and enrol in an arts college. After college I then found my home at LCC in 2008. Artsy vibes, creative freedom, and a sprinkle of chaos – just what my non-academic soul needed. LCC felt like home, where I could explore media advertising, branding, and all things graphic design.

London, Baby! 🌎: LCC wasn’t just about lectures; it was my ticket to the big, diverse world outside Dagenham. Imagine going from rarely leaving your hometown to rubbing shoulders with creative minds in the bustling heart of London! Collaborating with some hip advertising agencies made me realize I was meant for the dynamic and creative scene.

Networking Ninja Moves: To compensate for my limited academic ability, I leveraged my exceptional networking skills. Who you know often matters more than what you know, right? This mindset stuck with me, guiding my journey from the salary-based exhibition sales trap to senior sales roles, collaborating with global brands through in-person events. Thank you, UAL, for teaching me the art of making connections!

Swoperz: The Lightbulb Moment! 💡: Fast forward to the real game-changer – Swoperz! Vicky Fuller and I, besties introduced by our husbands (who clearly knew we’d be a powerhouse duo), embarked on this adventure during the chaos of 2021. Our daughters, Pretti and Sophia, unwittingly sparked the idea by swapping preloved clothes. We smelled a global need for sustainable kids fashion, and Swoperz was born!

Saving the Planet, One Swap at a Time: Our mission? To tackle the outrageous cost of school uniforms and the environmental havoc wreaked by fast fashion. Swoperz is the answer – a safe, verified space where 6–16-year-olds control their fashion destiny. Free school uniform swaps? Absolutely! Because every little helps, especially when your child grows a foot overnight.

Bestie Business Bond: Working with your best friend isn’t always smooth sailing, but Vicky and I make it work. As a creative dream-seller, I lead the charge while Vicky, the analytical one, keeps us grounded. Our yin-yang dynamic secured us a sweet pre-seed funding round of £250,000. Who said work can’t be fun?

Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster: Yes, being an entrepreneur is a wild ride. Late nights, financial hurdles, and the feeling of being on a different rollercoaster every day – check, check, and check. But trust and authenticity? They’re the keys to success. Stay true to yourself, build connections, and make a lasting impression.

Dear UAL Dreamers: Thinking of diving into entrepreneurship? If the burning desire is there, go for it! Trust your instincts, de-risk your situation, and validate your idea economically. It’s better to have tried and failed than live with a ‘what if.’

What’s Next for Swoperz 🚀: October 23, 2023 – Swoperz has landed! Get ready for a kids’ fashion revolution where style meets sustainability. Stay tuned for the awesomeness we’re about to unleash!

That’s a wrap for now, fashion-forward friends! Until next time, keep swapping, keep styling, and stay fabulously sustainable with Swoperz! ✨