Claire Watt Smith


Claire Watt-Smith, founder of Bobelle 

BoBelle’s ethos is to supply fairly traded and hand made accessories.


I was bored of the generic and cheaply produced fashion on the high street and wanted to engage my entrepreneurial flair into doing good for communities. With that in mind, BoBelle was founded. I started selling an array of gifts as well as accessories, but in late 2008 I decided to branch out and produce my own BoBelle fashion accessories.

midnight_blue.jpgI started to design my own goods and source by-products that were available. Eel skin leather is a fantastic leather as it is three times stronger than cow’s leather yet is much softer. It wears incredibly well and has such a unique feel to it.

I would like the masses to realize that fairly traded fashion worth the extra pound.  When I had my concession in Topshop on Oxford Street it was wonderful educating those about the use of by-products and the talented artisans that hand make each of our designs. I would like the BoBelle ranges to grow accordingly and for the brand to expand organically. Ideally I would like BoBelle to be available in both large and small shops in order to reach more people and for those to be more educated on fair trade, high quality fashion.  

Striding Out has been fabulous both for BoBelle as a business and for me personally.

Being one of the Future 100 winners as one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs was such an achievement. As a result, I have been featured in many publications including The Oxford Times and Business Review, as well as presenting on Entrepreneurship at London School of Economics and the University of Oxford. Being featured has helped me immensely and has introduced me to such a wide variety of people and given me such opportunities. Indeed, it was at the Eco-Fashion event held by Striding Out where Topshop approached me and I was asked to have a concession! We are now stocked in over 60 shops across the UK. Without Striding Out I can safely say I would not have made it as far this quickly.