Meet Tamsin Burford, founder and director of Winternational - an online designer ski wear boutique for women, selling beautiful skiwear all over the world since 2006. Winternational source beautiful, exclusive, luxury ladies ski outfits from amazing designers and deliver them to you quickly from their HQ near Oxford in England. Tamsin made it her MISSION to bring ski wear that performs and looks good on the slopes to their customers, wherever you may live in the world, whatever your time zone and whatever your skiing style and ability is. “We are ski wear experts - it's what we do.” states Tamsin, who we sat down with, asking a few important questions of what it really means to set up a business and run with it. Check out her interview below.
How did my career start?
My first job was in a London market selling clothes. I loved the clothing there and so asked the owner of the stall for a job. I was only 13 and worked every weekend for years. Through various iterations of careers, I kept coming back to fashion as my passion. And so Winternational was born when I combined two of my loves – fashion and skiing. We’ve now grown and sell our beautiful designer ski wear all over the world and have many happy customers. We’ve received so many compliments from women who are so happy to have found a company that helps them find their perfect ski outfit, helping them to enjoy every moment of their ski holiday.
Your advice to someone starting their own business?
My advice for someone starting their own business is to make sure you really love the concept and product. You’ll spend so much time doing it, that you need to feel deeply engaged from day one. There will be ups and downs too on your entrepreneurial journey and it helps if you love it even when things go wrong.
What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learnt in business?
Listening to others, be it customers or others in business is one of the most valuable things I have learned in business. It really helps to hear other points of view, and they may be surprisingly helpful. The other key thing is to have quality as a backdrop to everything I do. Whether it is engaging consultants, working on the design and functionality of the website, or planning new collections or photoshoots. I like to try to work with other businesses who have a similar attitude to quality.
What brands do you use for your skiing wardrobe?
For my own skiing wardrobe I tend to test out new labels that we are including in our forthcoming collections so that I can talk from experience when helping customers. This winter I will be wearing a Bogner ski jacket or a Kelly by Sissy ski jacket as those are new labels for Winternational. Goldbergh ski pants are a particular favourite. As I am tall I wear their longer leg length and they are so comfy. I always wear S’No Queen on cold days, goes without saying really. We’ve taken on a new designer ski helmet by French ski Olympian Antione Deneriaz, so I will definitely be wearing one of their Torino helmets.
Top three necessities for a skiing trip?
My top three necessities for a ski trip would be a lip balm with spf – I love Albus & Flora’s snowberry. Secondly, take a large suitcase and pack plenty of options for skiing, layering up and apres and my third necessity is choose your companions wisely. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to be in the mountains, looking good on the slopes and surrounded by people you love being with.
Do you have a favourite piece from the S’No Queen collection?
My favourite piece from the S’No Queen collection would have to be the Royal Gold Polo, I love the band of gold. Makes me feel super glam without being over the top.
Savvy way to stay energised and motivated?
My way of staying motivated and energised is to be inspired! This might be by reaching out to and spending time with other entrepreneurs, taking time out of the office to enjoy the real world or visiting an art gallery. I love networking as I think it is a great way to learn from the journeys of other people and their experiences.
Favourite social network?
My favourite social network is Instagram. I love the images and enjoy connecting but it is a bit of a black hole. A lot of time can be lost!
Something you want to tick of your bucket list?
This summer I am hiking the Inca Trail and visiting Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. I’ve wanted to do that for ages. It’s still all mountains though…and as for skiing, my dream is to ski in Japan. The way the snow clings to the trees there is very unusual and I’d love to see that.
What is your morning ritual?
My morning ritual is simple. Walk the dog, hit the gym for an hour and then head to Winternational HQ to start the day properly after I’ve had a green tea and some granola.
The quote you live by?
The quote I live by is “If not now, when? If not me, who?” Emma Watson said this at her speech to the United Nations. I just love it. It challenges, motivates and makes me take responsibility.