But the Leeds designer, founder of GoGuy clothing, has reached the final of the new BBC Three show, billed as the fashion version of The Apprentice.
The show searches for the next big streetwear brand, with nine young designers vying for the chance to take their brand globally with luxury retailer Flannels.
Competing against the other contestants in different challenges each week, Sophie experienced fierce competition and impressed the judges with her entrepreneurial spirit.
The 28-year-old grew up in Brighouse and founded her label in 2016 while still studying at Leeds Beckett University.
Ahead of the premiere of the latest episode on Monday, Sophie spoke to the Yorkshire Evening Post about how the GoGuy journey started.
“I was super shy and quiet as a kid, but I expressed myself through fashion,” Sophie said.
“I was always dressing up, then in high school I went through all the trends – looking for what suited me best.
“When I went to university, that’s where I developed my own style. Everyone said that I dressed differently and unique.
“I realized there were no clothes for me, so I started making my own clothes.”
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While in her final year of her event management degree, Sophie launched GoGuy from her bedroom after winning £500 and mentorship sessions as part of a business concept award.
By 2017, the company had tripled its sales and a collection was purchased by TopShop.
“Luckily it paid off, but otherwise I think my guardians would have killed me,” laughed Sophie.
“I knew I didn’t want to get into event management, but I had gone too far to give up.
“I had a sewing machine in the conservatory, and then I’d be upstairs writing my thesis.”
GoGuy now has a three-storey head office on the outskirts of Leeds, is supplied by 11 retailers and has over 110,000 followers on Instagram.
Sophie’s bold designs merge streetwear with festival fashion and have been worn by some of the world’s biggest celebrities including Paris Hilton, Perrie Edwards and Mabel.
Sophie said: “Although it seems like a great brand and we have achieved a lot, there are only four girls running the business.
“Cathryn is our head seamstress, she makes all the clothes, the one-offs and liaises with the factory.
“Danielle, my partner, is responsible for events and manages social networks, in liaison with influencers.
“So Molly is our graphic designer – I’ll create a sketch of whatever I want, or a mood board, and she’ll bring it to life on the computer.”
Sophie and her team have capitalized on social media, posting eye-catching content and collaborating with influencers to help build the hype around the GoGuy label.
“GoGuy wouldn’t be here without Instagram,” Sophie added.
“It’s a free marketing platform – I’ve never paid for online marketing. The power of influencers and celebrities is insane. It’s so important for brands to use it.”
GoGuy was put through rigorous testing when Sophie filmed The Drop last year as she battled to impress streetwear fans and the judging panel led by R&B superstar and fashion icon Miguel.
While she struggled to create the clothes – she gave up the sewing machine during her first year at the helm of the company – her business acumen, marketing campaigns and bold designs helped her. carried through to the final.
Sophie said: “I loved testing myself every week with the different challenges and being under so much pressure.
“It took me through every stage of the business on a competitive level, figuring out what I was doing wrong.
” It was hard. Because we shot during the Covid, we had to live there and it was very isolated.
“And people who watch the show will know that I’m very business-oriented, but I’m not a seamstress, I’m a designer, so I really struggled to create the clothes.
“But I learned so much about myself and my brand from being on the show. And I can’t believe I made it to the final.
“Everyone was so talented, while I’ve never had any training – I’m self-taught through YouTube.”
Mentorship from other rising stars
Sophie now mentors other aspiring designers on Zoom, and the GoGuy team will launch comprehensive training packages this winter.
Attendees will learn everything they need to know about building a brand on a budget, from photoshoots and creating clothes to designing a logo.
“Hard work really pays off,” Sophie said.
“Times will get tough and not everything will work out. I’ve had so many failures with the business, but I’m continuing because I believe in it and I know I’ll make it in the end.
“I’ve learned so much over the years through trial and error.
“Some people think it takes a lot of money to do it, but it’s not. You can do it if you believe in the brand and put in the hours.”
While receiving feedback on the show, the judges expressed concern that Sophie was working too much and risking burnout.
But Sophie said she was stuck in all aspects of the business, including packing parcels, because growing her brand “didn’t seem to work”.
She said: “Everyone thinks I’m a workaholic, which I am – I start work at 4am. But we do it because we absolutely love building the business.
“There’s nothing more exciting than drawing clothes, concepts and mood boards on a sheet of paper, then seeing the orders come through on the computer.
“A lot of times I can’t sleep because I’m looking at Google to see how many people are on the website.
“Even wrapping parcels is something I really enjoy – knowing that customers have purchased my products and then seeing them style my designs.”
Since the release of the first episode, Sophie has already been inundated with offers from retailers and will be launching GoGuy’s sister brand Impact this winter, a fluid brand that comes at a higher price.
There are plans to incorporate more flowing pieces into the GoGuy range, which is especially important for Sophie and her partner.
“Being on the show has already opened so many doors,” Sophie added.
“The show isn’t even over and I’ve already been contacted by some really big brands. We have big collaborations with other brands going on, as well as a collaboration with another celebrity.
“Expect GoGuy to be everywhere.”