BU graduate Nicolas Baxter is setting out to change the shape of the fashion retail industry with an online platform bringing together influencers, retailers and customers.
Nicolas launched Outfts in 2020 with a vision to create an online marketplace where customers could follow their favourite influencers and retailers while shopping for the latest trends via a network of partners. Since developing the idea, billed as ‘a community for creators and curators’, Nicolas and his team have signed up more than 100 retailers and exceeded their equity crowdfunding target to generate more than £250,000 of investment. The platform is currently in development mode with a planned public launch by the end of the year and the business - backed and advised by people who have worked for organisations including Depop, Facebook, The Social Chain and Amazon - is continuing to grow. Having gone from a team of two to 20+ in just over a year, Nicolas and his team are now seeking new graduates to join the business.
Nicolas’ entrepreneurial journey started early. After discovering the world of YouTube online tutorials while at school, he began making his own videos to share graphic design hints and tips at age 14, and quickly built a following via his own channel. This love of creativity and the media led him to study digital media design at BU, during which time he developed his business acumen and networks by running music events with big-name DJs, including the likes of Pete Tong and Idris Elba in his hometown.
Nicolas said: “It was never my plan to go to university, but I am really glad that I have had the experience. Everything you do contributes to your own journey, and I am grateful for the connections I made with the academic and support staff which helped me make the most of the opportunities. My final project was to create a brand book for a fashion brand, which led me to develop my first business out of university and ultimately onto Outfts, so it all connects.”
As a young founder of a start-up, Nicolas has quickly learnt to make the most of personal networking and to win the trust of decision makers at much bigger organisations. He said: “You’ve got to be prepared to present the vision and talk bigger than your current circumstances. That said, you also need to be ready to deliver on the promise and respond to what your customers are telling you is important. It has been a massive learning curve but an extremely exciting and fulfilling one.”
Reflecting on his entrepreneurial journey to date, Nicolas has three key pieces of advice for others. He said: “Recognise that your first idea is never your last and prepare to be flexible; build a really strong advisory board that you can lean on; and get started because you learn so much as you go and if you keep waiting for your idea or product to be perfect, you will never begin.”