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Small Business Stories with Moira Frost

Moira Frost

Moira Frost is an independent stylist for Cabi Clothing, an American clothing brand for women, which came to the UK market four years ago. She explains how Cabi works on the intersection between network marketing and franchise. Moira shares her experiences have been running her own business.

Getting Started with Cabi  

Moira Frost has been involved with Cabi since the company entered the UK market. She starts by explaining Cabi’s mission, what makes the brand so popular with the customers, and how she decided to become a Cabi consultant. 

“Our main aim is to build a close relationship with women, to listen to them and help them to look good and feel good in whatever they’re wearing. And we have an amazing collection of clothes with which to do that. As an organisation, Cabi is still run by a core of 12 women who set it up 20 years ago. What appealed to me was that it’s a very flat structure.

They listen and take on board what we say, and they were very conscious that some of the approaches they take in the States will not work in the UK. They accept that culturally we are slightly different, we are a bit more cynical and sarcastic, and they were willing to work with us on that basis.”

“Before Cabi,” she continues, “I was with another brand which sells children’s clothes. But my original career was in retail banking, and then I moved across into IT training and change management. I worked with NatWest, with Bank of Scotland and Ofsted, and I did that for 15 years until I took a career break to have two children. Then I had a bit of a rest, and I was a stay-at-home mom.

At the same time, I felt something missing, and I wanted to do something, but I couldn’t work out what it was, which could help me balance running around after small children and running a house. That’s how I got into selling clothes on a personal basis. What appealed to me was the flexibility to sell clothes when I wanted and work around my commitments. It’s worked really well, and I’ve continued in that vein.”

Moira Frost tell us about The Benefits of Running a Business.  

As a family person, Moira Frost found that running her own business has empowered her to contribute financially to her family while also having the flexibility to organise her time and do what she loves.  

“I have always been reasonably independent. Having contributed financially to then suddenly stop and not contribute financially when I had kids, I found that quite hard. There was no pressure, but it’s something to do with me, and the way I am and my principles. So having that extra income for me to spend how I wanted to, I felt as though I was contributing in the way I wanted to, on my terms, and also to be able to do something that I enjoyed and not have that Monday morning feeling. I’ve never had that since working with Cabi, so that’s a massive benefit as well.” 

Selling on a Personal Basis During the Pandemic 

Cabi works to build personal relationships between the stylists and customers, so Covid has posed a big challenge to the established sales practices.  

“All of us were in shock for the first month. On the business side, Cabi owners were excellent. They said, forget everything, focus on your families, which was fantastic. As a group in the UK, we decided to pivot and start working with Zoom, and Zoom has worked successfully for us. What I have tended to do where possible, if it’s not too far physically, is to follow up on a one to one basis from a distance. So people would have the clothes for 48 hours, they tried them on in the comfort of their own home, they might collect them, they tell me what they like, what they don’t like, and I take them away, I steam them, and then get them ready to go out again.

It’s a bit of a longer process, but at least you’re still helping people and seeing them and continuing to give them the customer service that they need. As a whole, it has worked well. Now we’ve got some new technology, which is more sophisticated and works off our website, which gives us more flexibility, and that’s great.”

Long-Term Marketing Goals for Moira Frost

Moira explains how a business model such as Cabi advertises itself in the UK market. 

“Initially, we had a soft launch, so it was networking with who we knew. We had a proper launch a couple of years ago, and since then, the coverage has increased. We’ve got quite a few influencers on Instagram who follow the brand, which is great. This last month, we’ve had more coverage online in regional newspapers and some magazines, and that will continue. But on a personal level, it’s more virtual, so I do quite a lot on Facebook.

I have a private closed Facebook group, which I started in lockdown, which has worked really well. Also a business page, on Instagram, but I need to work on my Instagram presence. I’m also working on LinkedIn, and my LinkedIn profile is increasing. My view was that I’d rather do one piece of social media well”

The Future

“My long term goal is for people if they want to look at some clothes they should come to me. As opposed to me approaching them. I want them to come to me, and it is happening, but it just takes time. One of the things I’ve found over the last four years is you’ve got to be patient. There are no quick wins, you’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to be consistent, and it will come,” Moira concludes.

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