Phil Bickley’s fashion degree from the London College of Fashion helped him secure a position with Paul Smith between 1994 and 1996, working for the company in Nottingham and London. He then joined Moss Bros Group PLC as a junior buyer.

Six years later, Phil was ready to set up on his own and decided to leave his now senior buyer role to open a store with a Moss Bros colleague of his. He would go on to buy his partner out and become the sole proprietor of Tonic, a shop that has become a local landmark on Portobello Road, appealing to men with a sophisticated sense of style.

Phil’s latest venture is a menswear label that he started with musician Paul Weller. Phil says that the Real Stars Are Rare line of menswear represents the kind of clothing that he and Paul both like and wear.

Why I’m Supporting #MicroBizMattersDay

When I first started out on my own in the early days, the Portobello Road Business Centre was an invaluable resource. They helped me devise a business plan and their courses provided me with more of the tools I needed to make my new business real success. They also highlighted to me the various startup grants that were available at the time.

When it comes to setting up your own business, there are no rules and that’s why the support and help I received from the business centre was so important. They were there to answer my questions and were always my first port of call when I encountered a problem or had a new business idea.

That’s why I wanted to be a part of #MicroBizMattersDay. The opportunity to provide other micro business owners with tips and advice was one that I grabbed with both hands; especially as I’d received so much help when I first started out.

Join me for the #TuneInHour on January 8 where I’ll be discussing how I’ve managed to stay tuned in to Tonic’s customers over the past 15 years.

Find Phil on Twitter


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