Former lawyer turned stylist Beth Goodrham tells Shelley Carter how she made the leap from seeking justice to finding fashion
Beth Goodrham’s Instagram profile featuring her trademark pink front door and daily outfit shots showcases the sort of breezy, effortless style we’re all after. She has the school run well and truly nailed, likes a bit of sparkle as much as the next girl and sports active wear with a flourish.
A body to die for honed through years of running obviously helps; in fact she’s running the inaugural Birmingham Marathon later this year. It could all be a bit intimidating except she’s just so utterly lovely and self-deprecating that you end up wishing she was your mate.
Life hasn’t always been so fluffy though. Beth trained as a lawyer in London and worked for a private law firm for three years before moving to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) based in Birmingham. With wide ranging powers, the CCRC is an independent body tasked with investigating miscarriages of justice. Beth stayed for nine years and loved her work but started to think she’d either stay forever or do something completely different. While on maternity leave with her third child, Beth decided to make a very dramatic change.
BITING THE BULLET
A styling course run by Nicky Hamilton Jones of TV’s 10 Years Younger fame appealed to Beth who had always been interested in fashion. While she was toying with the idea of booking the course a friend asked her to sort out her wardrobe for her as she loved Beth’s style. This gave her the impetus to bite the bullet and go for it – and he hasn’t looked back! Beth recalled: “The course was brilliant and I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to do. Everything just fell into place.”
Slightly daunted by the prospect of such a radical change, Beth began hosting small events like coffee mornings at her children’s school, armed with a rail of clothes and roped in her friends to model. Then Beth made the bold move of hiring a room at Edgbaston Priory for a much larger affair. She said: “I was completely out of my comfort zone in effect selling myself and when I look back I can’t believe I did it. Everything I’d done previously had been academic and behind a desk. This was a bit scary.” Around 100 people turned up and it was a big success.
Beth launched a blog called Style Guile and got to grips with social media with great success. The blog was shortlisted by Marie Claire for the fashion blog of the year award. “The blog has been particularly good,” said Beth. “People can get to know me from a distance. It’s an extra layer.”
Styling individuals is at the core of Beth’s work which is very rewarding. “There’s a trigger point that makes people come to me. They may have had a baby and are going back to work. There are a variety of reasons. I find out where they are, where they want to be, so I can help teach them and hone in on the things that will work,” Beth explained.
Beth’s reputation spread and as well as styling individual ladies she’s worked on campaigns for The Fort and the WI, was an ambassador for Pavilions and has worked with big brands like Boden, LK Bennett and Hobbs among others. A presenting gig on QVC followed where she’s a brand ambassador for Orla Kiely as well as presenting for other fashion and beauty brands too.
Now the children are bigger Beth has more time and would love to work with more brands. “I’ve worked with some smaller businesses recently like Air and Grace which I’d like to do more of. Also, connecting with people and being involved in blogger and Instagram events is something I enjoy, so I’d like to do more of that.”
BIG UP BIRMINGHAM
What of Birmingham’s shopping scene? “In the Nineties it was either Rackhams or nothing, so the change in the city has been phenomenal. The Bullring’s great for high street, Grand Central for top end high street and the Mailbox for high end. What the city is seriously lacking though is independents. “You’ve got Loved & Found at John Lewis and that’s about it.”
Beth recognises the city’s offering has moved on at a rapid pace though and clients that come to Birmingham from outside the city to shop with Beth are always thoroughly impressed even the ones that travel from the capital.