Features - Entrepreneurial Alumni

Tahlia Gray

Tahlia Gray

Posted 01 November 2015

New York Programme

March 2011 Intake


Tahlia is a graduate of International Business from the University of Birmingham and now lives in London. She is currently launching her own business, Sheer Chemistry, an exciting new hosiery brand, specialising in tights for women of all shades of brown that are "made to blend in so you can stand out!"

What your company or product is/does, and your role in it.
As Director and Founder, I am involved in all aspects of the business, from product development, sourcing, finance and marketing. As a born creative with a background in Human Resources, I have found branding to be the most exciting part of establishing this new business as it has allowed me to differentiate Sheer Chemistry in the crowded hosiery market. I have greatly enjoyed bringing together a team of talented people to create a brand that is designed for the confident, radiant and ambitious woman who wants tights that compliment her fashion choices and celebrates the diverse beauty of women of all shades of brown.

What inspired you to set it up?
Sheer Chemistry came about as a result of becoming frustrated by the inability to find tights that matched my skin tone. As a Mountbatten intern living in New York during a blisteringly cold winter and dissatisfied with wearing black opaque tights and the beige coloured tones labelled 'nude', Sheer Chemistry was established to provide tights for women of all shades of brown.
Founded one year after my return to London in 2013, Sheer Chemistry is driven by a mission to create a more diverse perception of beauty. By giving women the opportunity to find their perfect match, we empower them to feel confident and gorgeous in their own skin.

How you went about setting it up and getting established?
Having worked in HR within investment banking during the Mountbatten Programme and afterwards, my passion to create a solution for this gap in the market led me to start Sheer Chemistry alongside full-time employment. Unsure where to start, I began attending business networking events to gain the knowledge and meet the necessary people required. I underwent thorough market research and soon began developing my product range and 5 shades, which during an 18 month period were subject to a series of adjustments and testing. This year however, determined to make my dream a reality, I decided to 'take the leap' and left the corporate world to concentrate on my business.

With the support of the Virgin Startup loan and fellow Mountbatten alumni, Ahava-Shaffra Gray-Read as Press Officer, we are now proud to announce the recent launch of our Kickstarter campaign, which will run until 20th December 2015. This limited time offer, allows customers to pre-order tights in their perfect shade as well as other fantastic rewards packages. Supporting our campaign will not only prove to retailers that there is a demand for our product, but will fund our first stock order and help us launch our very own e-commerce website.

To pre-order your tights now and support the campaign, please visit Sheer Chemistry's Kickstarter page.

What your future plans involve?
Following the completion of our Kickstarter campaign, Sheer Chemistry will launch an ecommerce platform, allowing customers to purchase their tights in a "click".

We also plan to be stocked in large department stores and fashion retailers around the UK and abroad.

Any words of advice/wisdom or encouragement for others thinking of setting up on their own?
One of my favourite quotes is by Martin Luther King Jr. which says, "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase".
If you have a business idea that you are passionate about, my biggest advice would be to START! Although you may not yet have the expertise, the resources or the network, you will be surprised how quickly you learn and the amazing people you meet if you put yourself in the right environments. My business journey to date has been the most exhilarating, enjoyable and character building experience that challenges me every day and requires me to continuously venture outside of my comfort zone.
The beauty of creating your own business however is that you are the architect of your own destiny and your vision has no limits. As long as you are willing to work hard and take some risks along the way, I strongly encourage you to take a leap of faith and always dream big!