Rachel Beattie

My name is Rachel Beattie, I am twenty-three years old and I am co-founder of luxury ethical womenswear brand, Careaux with my sister and best friend, Laura.

From an idea when I was fourteen combining my love of fashion and Maths we have created a world first dress.

Careaux creates timeless, classic dresses that change to fit each and every woman. The Careaux dress has a hidden zip around the waist which allows the dress to completely separate into a top and a skirt and then be reattached. This enables the dress to have a different size top to bottom or the same size throughout. Not only that, the tops and skirts can also be interchanged to create different styles, colour and fabric combinations. All handmade locally in Manchester.

I was studying for my GCSEs and my two favourite subjects were Maths and Art. I have always loved clothes and for my Art project I decided to create a dress with my Nana who had been a dressmaker since she was fourteen as well. She spoke so passionately about the importance of quality, fit and tailoring each outfit to the individual, I fell completely in love with the dressmaking process from start to finish. Alongside this I used to borrow Laura’s clothes, but as we were very different shapes, it never used to fit, it was either too big on top or small on the bottom or sleeves were too short or skirt was too long. This brought to the forefront of my mind, how each and every one of us were different – our own, shape, style, personality and lifestyle but clothes had not changed and do not accommodate this fact. One night ten years ago I had the ‘lightbulb’ moment for Careaux, as soon as this happened I told Laura and it has been our sole dream and focus to make the Careaux dress come true.

However, we did not know anyone who had ran a business and we had not run a business before, therefore we started researching and learning as much as we could. I carried on with my GCSEs, A-Levels and I then went on to study Maths at The University of Manchester. During my time at University I worked for a charity called The Tutor Trust as a primary school tutor to tackle educational inequality and also completed an actuarial internship at a big 4 firm. In my third year at University, I studied abroad in North Carolina and this gave me a chance to delve deeper into the Maths behind Careaux looking at Combinatorics (the number of different ways you can combine different things) for e.g. number of tops and skirts to make Careaux dresses. When I returned from study abroad after years of searching we found our first dressmaker in 2016 and developed the dress for the next two years whilst I was apart of the Natwest Entrepreneurial Spark accelerator programme in my final year of University.

I graduated with a first class Masters of Maths in 2017, soft launched Careaux late 2017 to test the idea and we then launched our bespoke services in July 2018. As well as being on an actuarial graduate scheme at a big 4. In the last 6 months, we’ve been lucky enough to create pieces for Royal Investitures and I have won the Barclaycard Everywoman in Retail Innovator Award, The EVAs Young Entrepreneur One To Watch and have been named on the Northern Power Woman Future List 2019. We have just launched our kickstarter campaign to pre-order the debut core collection and will be launching the e-commerce site this year proudly supported by The Princes Trust. I am also a Code First Girls, STEM and Pankhurst Centre Centenary City Ambassador.