CEO of Hirestreet, Isabella West, who has featured in Forbes 30 under 30, is bringing her impressive business acumen to Newcastle High School for Girls Business Alumnae Network Group, having taken a position on the committee.
Isabella, 30, recently named the North East Business Person of the Year 2021, will be speaking at the next online event on 14 July, giving insight on how she built a global retail empire in under five years and why sustainability has been key to finding her niche within a crowded industry.
Hirestreet, established in 2017, after Isabella identified a gap in the market for affordable rental fashion and the opportunity to disrupt a traditional industry, is the UK’s leading fashion rental service.
The company was impacted hugely by the pandemic and saw a significant decrease in rental sales as national and local lockdowns meant social venues closed and people stayed at home. The company has experienced revenue growth of 200% since April, with increasing rental sales correlating to the UK opening back up.
It was during this downturn that Isabella, who studied economics and management at Oxford University, developed the recently launched Zoa Rental, the UK’s first white label fashion rental platform, which gives brands the opportunity to step into the rental market, offering their customers a more sustainable and affordable option, alongside traditional buying.
Now, Isabella is ready to take on a new role, as member of the committee for Newcastle High School for Girls Alumnae Business Networking Group.
Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) was formed in 2014, under the umbrella of the Girls’ Day School Trust, as a result of two schools, Central Newcastle High School for Girls and Newcastle Church High School, joining together.
The alumnae business group was established in December 2019 to create networking opportunities for all GDST alumnae working in business in the North East. The group hosted its first event at the school in March 2020, just days before the UK went into its first national lockdown, with an inspirational talk from global mindset coach, Maurice Duffy.
As Covid restrictions took hold, the network moved online and, appropriately, the group’s second speaker, Caroline Oswald, of RevLifter and alumnae of Central Newcastle High School, Class of 2000, gave an in-depth presentation on the future of technology in business.
Jane O’Mahoney of Bradley O’Mahoney Public Relations and chair of NHSG alumnae business network, said: “Technology is now a critical component of all aspects of business, which Isabella knows only too well, alongside the importance of having a strong network of supporters.
“Isabella, is an excellent addition to the committee. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and is highly respected within the region’s business community.
“We have had an extremely high level of interest from alumnae regarding our next event and, as a result, the networking group is growing at an exponential rate. The group offers fantastic support and connections for alumnae working in business and this is only set to continue in the future.”
Isabella, who left Central Newcastle High School in 2009, said: “I am a firm believer that the successes of any entrepreneur lay not in the individual but the cohesiveness of the people they surround themselves with. This is something I learnt whilst at school and has been proven to me throughout my career.
“When times get tough, it’s your network you should turn to for support and I have not yet found a greater one than the girls I was surrounded with whilst at Central Newcastle High School for Girls.
“The joining together of the two schools has increased the networking opportunities available, both to the girls at school and the women who are making noise whilst they do what they do best, succeed.
“The pandemic has been devastating but it has also made us all realise why our networks are vital to keep us strong and empowered. We must keep adding to them.
“I am passionate about the support I can offer the alumnae as a committee member and this starts with my talk at the next event.”