Category Archives: Vintage

An Interview With Bagsy Me First

A few years ago I interviewed Tink from Bedhead Boutique who made bags out of old vinyl records. This year I have discovered another lady who makes bags but this time out of books! My love of books and bags first attracted me to Kate Lowe’s website, Bagsy Me First.  In  June 2016, Kate was awarded #WOW Winner (Women In Business) and the award is well deserved too.These handbags are exquisite, and being inquisitive, I had to interview Kate to find out more. Welcome Kate…

Hello! I’m Kate, and I make purses, wallets and all kinds of bags out of books. (I do love books and I am very gentle with them, I promise. But if you shudder at the very thought of a folded page corner, look away now.)

What inspired you to launch Bagsy Me First!?

As a bookworm and inveterate ‘maker of things’ I was inspired by celebrity book clutches to evolve my own recipe for turning real books into bags. When people realise your bag is made out of an actual, for-real book… *Big smile!*

Where do you find the books to use to turn into handbags? Where do you source the fabric used for the lining?

I find books online and in second-hand bookshops/charity shops. Very occasionally a customer will supply a book. The fabric is from a local shop; sometimes online. It’s best to see/feel fabric up-close and personal.

You have an online shop and cater for custom orders. Have you had any unusual requests?

I’ve had custom orders for bags constructed out of gig posters and a ‘Goosebumps’ book handbag that lit up, for a stage show.

What are the most popular titles/authors requested/sold?

All the classics. And Harry Potter, of course.

What book are you turning into a bag at the moment?

Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ is on my sewing table right now and it’ll be a handbag tomorrow.

To start a company like this, you must have a love of books! What genre of books do you like reading? Any favourite book or author? Have you got a favourite book bag?

I have a weakness for vintage green Penguin paperbacks. My own wallet is made out of a 50 year old green Penguin paperback by John Dickson Carr (I collect his books) and using it daily gives me joy.

Do you read the books before they are turned into bags?

No, but I made it a mission to read some of them afterwards. If a customer wants a bag made out of a particular book then it must be special! I have a long list of handbags that I’ve now read, that I wouldn’t have read otherwise.

Growing up, did you always hope to have a career connected with books or were your dreams directed elsewhere?

Driving a mobile library around villages is something I’d love to have a go at. My ‘proper’ job is a graphic designer.

Where do you prefer to read – in bed, in a comfy chair, in a library surrounded by books or elsewhere?

Over breakfast with a cup of tea.

You are based in the UK, do you ship overseas too?

Yes; I have customers using my items in 30 countries (so far!) which feels pretty cool.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Mostly thrift-store dresses of varying vintage, and DM’s or pumps.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Vintage/thrift shops and second-hand book shops make me go ‘Oooh’ quite a lot.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe/accessory wish list?

A pair of trail shoes for X-country. Going to give it a go this season.

Boots or Shoes?

Can’t beat boots for comfort (and stomping!)

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Bagsy Me First.

Oh, do come say ‘hi!’ Help yourself to a good ol’ rummage in my shop and if you fancy something made out of a particular book, just ask. The kettle’s on, and we have Hobnobs; welcome to Bag End!
http://www.bagsymefirst.com
https://www.facebook.com/bagsymefirst/
https://www.instagram.com/kate_bagsymefirst
https://twitter.com/Bagsymefirst

Did someone say “hobnobs”? Thank you very much Kate for joining us on the blog! I am having a hard time trying to think which book I would love to have as a bag… The Alchemist is a contender … and Lady Chatterley’s Lover … or perhaps, The Great Gatsby… dear readers, which books would you pick? Do share your thoughts, I’d love to know…

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Kate Lowe, except for the black & white pin later photo which is by Linda Hobden

 

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An Interview With Fashion Blogger Ivy Ekong

Based in both London and Nigeria, Ivy Ekong is a wardrobe consultant and independent fashion blogger, whose fashion website offers instant exposure into the escalating African market.  She is well known on her blog for combining luxury items with pieces from up-and-coming designer collections, high street outlets and vintage finds; and she has also launched her own jewellery line too.  I caught up with bubbly Ivy to find out more…. Hi Ivy!

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Hi! My name is Ivy Ekong. I am a wife and a mum of 2 gorgeous girls. I am also a Fashion Stylist and a Fashion Blogger. I attended Ambrose Alli University in Nigeria where I graduated with two degrees in Business Management and Economics respectively. I also trained in Personal Styling & Image Consultancy through the well known Colour Me Beautiful Academy in London. I draw upon my knowledge and experience as a high fashion model and a stylist to bring my blog (IvyEkongFashion.com) to life. I have always had a passion for fashion, and  I now share my professional insight on my blog – I document my colourful fashion sense and OOTD’s , including high street wonders, up and coming designer collections and vintage finds. Ivy Ekong Fashion is not your ordinary fashion blog. It’s a multicultural online community. I am a very fun and loving person. I love taking on projects that are challenging. I also hope to the make my mark in the fashion industry in the long run.

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You founded your own exclusive personal styling and image consultancy company, Icon Mode. What was the inspiration for setting up the company?

I have always known what I wanted to do and be in life, even at a tender age. I had a dream and I am currently living that dream. “IconMode,” which means “Fashion Icon,” is a business name I picked out when I was just 13 years old. I wrote down the name in my diary and said that one day that name will be a household name. I will change people’s lives and careers through effective personal styling. I also worked in the banking sector for some time, not because I loved working in a bank, but because it was part of the preparation process to get me to my vision. The world is evolving everyday. Men and women are more conscious of what they wear now and
are more interested in knowing and learning more about colours, styles that suit them, etc. Celebrities also want to be branded by their personal style. These were all part of what inspired me to set up IconMode.

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IconMode offers a range of services – luxury personal styling range of services – luxury personal styling, personal shopping, fashion styling – as well as workshops offering courses such as Make Up and “Body Language & Influencing Skills”. What services and courses are most popular?

The most popular services are the Full Image Consultation, and the How to Style workshop.

Your IconMode shop sells your range of costume jewellery, Hair Extensions, Pre Owned Fashion Items and “Colour Me Beautiful” cosmetics. I love the IconMode Costume Necklace “Genevieve” –
Which products are most popular this season?

Thank you Linda, “Genevieve” sold out quite quickly, it a very lovely piece. What we sell on IconMode shop are products women have daily need for. If you noticed we do not have bulk items. So once a particular product sells out on the site, they are not restocked. The cosmetics and hair extensions are also very popular this season.

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Any project or new shop lines/services for 2016 planned?

I am focussing on my blog in 2016. IconMode has been my baby for so many years  now but it has now evolved to something bigger and better which is IvyEkongFashion.  My blog has a huge social media following and subscription which makes me believe this is the right direction to go. I am working tirelessly now to make the blog a huge success. I am hoping to work with more brands as well. 

You are one of the most successful black fashion/beauty bloggers in the UK, with your iconic style of combining luxury items with up-and-coming designer collections, high street pieces and vintage finds. What do you like most about blogging and how did you become a blogger?

I love dressing up and posing for the camera, which is very important in fashion blogging, especially if you want your content to be original, which I do. I love being an inspiration to other women who are still trying to determine what their personal style is. I didn’t start blogging until 2 years ago when a lot of people encouraged me to start a blog because they love my style. As a fashion stylist, I am privileged to get invited to fashion events and shows which you have to dress up for. It was only natural to create an avenue to showcase those outfits so that people who love my style can shop those outfits by creating direct links on my blog. Over the years, the blog has grown from being just an avenue for showcasing my outfits to being a huge platform for the multicultural community. We have YouTube videos now too, where we discuss topics that are very important to women, such as self-esteem, confidence etc.

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Have you always had a passion for fashion and beauty? If you weren’t in the fashion/beauty business, what career do you think you would’ve pursued?

I have been in the fashion industry since I can remember. I have always loved fashion and living a healthy and luxury lifestyle. Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Beyonce, Grace Kelly, and Diana  Ross were all fashion icons I looked up to,even at an early age. At the age of 8 I had my own unique style. My mum would always say that I was the “Fashion Icon” in the family. When I was younger, I used to style my friends, family and close relatives. They would seek my opinion before they put on or buy any outfit, and I would say wear this with that, don’t wear that, etc. I don’t know what other career path I would have chosen if I wasn’t in the fashion and beauty industry. I believe I was born to do this.

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Have you a favourite style icon, past or present?

Beyonce Knowles and Victoria Beckham.

I like dresses from the 1950s; tunic dresses of the 1960s; the hippy styles of the 1970s; the colours of the 1980s… what decade of fashion are you drawn towards? Which popular styles of any decade didn’t/don’t float your boat?

I am  City-Chic with a bit of Classic. I love both vintage and current styles.  I am not such a great fan of the hippy styles though.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I would normally be found wearing a skirt (pencil skirts or big bonded skirts) with a bodysuit, a pair of Louboutin pumps and a Chanel Classic Bag. Or a pencil dress. You will hardly find me in a pair of jeans unless I am running errands or picking my kids up from school.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I don’t have a favourite boutique – as a blogger I am always on the go and I shop wherever I find something that is of interest to me. I love both designer and  high street brands. I do shop at Westfield or at Selfridges when I am out and about. My favourite online stores are ASOS, Net-a-Porter, Houseofcb and Very.co.uk.

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What are some of your current fashion obsessions?

– Vintage Chanel bags and accessories . A must have for every closet . They are timeless and will never go out of style.
– Chunky jewellery . I loved jewellery so much that I designed a jewellery line.
– Black trench coats are very handy and are very stylish as well.
– Jimmy Choo and Louboutin heels are definitely an obsession. Once you have a pair of these you will definitely want more pairs. They enhance a woman’s legs perfectly.
–  I am also obsessed with the two piece outfits popularly called the co-ords.

Boots or Shoes?

I choose shoes over boots anytime, any day. That’s because boots are seasonal and cannot be worn with some outfits. Shoes, however, can be worn during any season and are more versatile.

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your blog.

TWITTER: https://mobile.twitter.com/account
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/ivy_ekong
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ivyekongfashion?ref=hl
EMAIL: ivyekongfashion@gmail.com
BLOG: http://ivyekongfashion.com

It has been great talking to you Ivy! I love to mix and match outfits too – I have worn an Alice Temperley designer dress with some vintage wedge sandals; and I like to revamp and update my old outfits with new season shoes and accessories.  Do you, dear readers, like to update old outfits, mix & match or do you enjoy finding bargains in charity shops? Do tell !

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Ivy Ekong.

 

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An Interview With Vault Couture

Continue reading An Interview With Vault Couture

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An Interview With Messina Hembry Clothing

If you enjoy hunting for vintage clothing and preloved designer garments on websites such as Ebay and ASOS marketplace, then my guest this week would be a familiar name to you.  Messina Hembry is eBay’s largest retailer of secondhand branded clothing and is one of the top 10 boutiques on ASOS marketplace. They have now launched their own new stand-alone e-boutique to compliment their existing outlets and I caught up with founder Zac Hembry to find out more. Hi Zac…image

Hi there! I’m Zac Hembry the founder here at Messina Hembry Clothing.

What inspired you to launch Messina Hembry?

I always had a desire to start my own business once I had left university. I wanted to create something which could offer people real savings and doing it in the most environmentally friendly way possible. I always had a keen interest in buying and selling second hand designer clothing on eBay which lead to the creation of Messina Hembry.

Have you always had a passion for fashion?

I have always loved designer brands but I found the new price tags really limiting. I always had to shop smart on places like eBay or etsy. There is something really satisfying knowing that someone has already paid 4-5 times the price for the same item. My passion for fashion definitely came from the savings from buying second hand pieces.

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When choosing outfits to represent Messina Hembry, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences, the uniqueness, the brand or bits of all those?

We always try to choose our most exclusive pieces when picking out styles for Messina Hembry. We want really want to show off the pieces which people can’t get hold of anymore. Some of the more difficult stuff we like to show off include any Moschino, Versace and YSL are always winners!

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My favourite items from your website are the collection of Diesel jeans – timeless pieces! What outfits/brands are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

We’ve always got a high demand for any Ralph Lauren and Lacoste. I think we because we offer such great savings on these brands it’s really pushed the demand forward. Whenever we can get hold of the more expensive brands like Burberry, Armani and D&G they always go really fast as well!

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Your company is the largest retailer of secondhand branded clothing on eBay and one of the top 10 boutiques on the ASOS marketplace as well as having your new standalone e-boutique. What do you feel was the hardest part of getting your company launched? What advice would you give to others who aspire to see their passions materialise into reality?

The hardest part has definitely been building the inventory up. As every individual item has to be photographed, measured and listed online we had months of really hard work to ensure our stock levels were large enough to give our customers a lot of choice. There was a lot to learn in a short space of time so I would advise anyone with a similar idea to ensure they’ve done their homework and make sure you are familiar with the rules and regulations on any marketplaces you’re thinking of selling on.

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Which famous lady or man would you love to see as the “face” of Messina Hembry?

It’s a long shot but we’d really love to see someone like Leonardo DiCaprio representing the brand. He loves his designer clothing whilst having a keen interest in the environment and I really think that’s the way I want to push the company forward. We want people to understand not only are there great savings in second hand clothing but the environmental benefits are astounding as well.

As you are based in the UK, is your clothing range available overseas too?

We currently ship worldwide on our eBay store & ASOS marketplace boutique. On our website we only currently ship to the EU, Australia and USA.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Normally it has to be a Ralph Lauren shirt, Diesel  jeans, Nike trainers and Barbour jacket. All of course from Messina Hembry.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?(apart from your own!)

There are some really good online thrift stores in America like Twice or Poshmark which we tried to use to as guidance for the business. We also really like Etsy for unique designer vintage clothing.

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Messina Hembry

www.messinahembry.com
https://www.facebook.com/messinahembryclothing
https://twitter.com/messinahembry
https://instagram.com/messinahembry/

Thanks for chatting to us today Zac and I wish your business every success. Dear readers, what has been your best vintage/preloved fashion item that you’ve bought?  I once picked up a fab dotty Next dress that still had the tag in it from a local jumble sale about 12 years ago for the princely sum of 50p – I was really chuffed with it as the tag marked it up around the £50 mark! It saw me through quite a few social events & parties that year!

Linda x

Photos have been published with kind permission of Zac Hembry

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An Interview With English Rose Cosmetics

I love to wax lyrical about a product or company that I’ve discovered that has made a big and lasting impression on me – it’s even better when the company agrees to an interview! I first came across the English Rose Cosmetics last year – my skin is extremely dry and prone to itchy eczema occasionally around my eyes during my hay fever season ( Feb – June  – tree pollen) – and I spotted a post on Facebook about English Rose Cosmetics night cream.   Luckily enough Karin was looking for people to review the product, I applied and got my chance to try this cream. Thus started my love affair. So here’s a quick review on the Night Cream along with two other products I’ve used over the last few months:

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Nighty Night Cream –  on the tin it says it plumps out wrinkles, reduces age spots, controls oiliness & improves skin texture.  I am used to putting on thick cream in an effort to combat the dryness/eczema.  In contrast, this cream is light and very lightly fragranced – it soaks into the skin well, without leaving a sticky residue nor does it tighten the skin.  It feels refreshing and soothing on the face.  It has hydrated my skin and has improved my skin texture – as for the wrinkles, well, they do seem to have been smoothed away.  9/10

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Bright Eyed & Bushy Tailed Eye Cream –  I had noticed dark bags appearing under my eyes over the last 6 months or so, despite wearing make up to try and camouflage the effects.  Combine that with my itchy eczema, I was at the end of my tether as to what to do.  However, once I tried the night cream I decided to purchase the eye cream (it says it reduces dark circles, bags  & puffy eyes whilst plumping out fine wrinkles). Dabbing the light cream around my eyes twice a day for the last 2 months I have found that my dark bags under my eyes are not as pronounced – in fact they’re barely noticeable; the skin around my eye area is smooth and virtually line free, no hint of dryness; and best of all, no sore eczema patches on my eyelids! Very pleased! 10/10

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Fair of Face Facial Cleanser –  I’ve only recently tried this cleanser.  It is said to combat oiliness, soothe acne and inflammation without drying the skin.  As my skin is dry, oiliness and acne has never been an  issue.  The cleanser is a light foam, which exudes a pleasant ginger  aroma which is very refreshing and uplifting. A little goes a long way, and leaving it on your face for a few minutes before rinsing off, really wakens up your skin. It certainly made my face feel clean, no itching and no dryness. A fab base before applying moisturiser, foundation and make up.  My face felt so clean that I bypassed the toner stage altogether. 8/10

Without further ado let’s meet Karin, the lovely lady behind English Rose Cosmetics… hi Karin, welcome…image

Hi! I am Karin Mckay, and have worked 17 years in the cosmetic industry. I’m based in Reading and I do pretty much components, packaging, designing the packaging, the social media, sales and marketing.

What was the inspiration behind setting up English Rose Cosmetics?

It literally started out of nothing. My sales & marketing career had ended as due to neck and back injuries in 2009, I’ve had 2 back operations and several neck injections. So I really could only work 3 days a week, without commuting and needed adjustments made in the work place, so that basically made me unemployable. I had been out of work during 2012 and was getting more and more despondent as to what I could do with my life. So when I had the inspiration for the English Rose character, I drew on all my knowledge on ingredients, formulating, manufacturing of cosmetics and contacts in the industry and started working on my own products.

Have you always wanted to be in the makeup /skincare/ beauty industry?

The trends and innovation start with the cosmetic manufacturers, they train their agents around the world and then people like me would present the new ingredients/trends to cosmetic scientists and marketing personnel at the brands. We would make really fabulous example formulations to demonstrate new ingredients. Sometimes the marketing department didn’t “get” the science and sometimes the Cosmetic Scientist were on a tight budget or were under pressure to use existing approved ingredients. Really amazing ingredients never made it through, as brands continued on with the same old formulations and boring ingredients because they didn’t want to be innovators. So all this time I was thinking about the “perfect” skincare and what it should contain.

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What products seem to be most popular with your customers?

Bright Eyed & Bushy Tailed eye cream is the biggest seller, as there are not many eye creams that tick all the boxes with under eye problems and customers are really seeing results, some instantly but the majority after a couple of weeks. Customers with more prominent eye bags really notice it’s working when they run and their problems become more noticeable. A lot of people try the concealer route with under eye problems, and this is fine up until the point when eye bags develop. I cannot stress the importance enough of using this eye cream to clear up dark circles and puffy eyes quickly, as in addition, you are putting back elasticity into the under eye area, which will help prevent bags in the future. For customers aged 38+ ideally you should be using this eye cream daily, as our skin loses elasticity and this can lead to under eye bags. The second best seller is Nighty Night Cream – I probably have more customers for Daily Defence Cream, but the ladies that use Nighty Night Cream usually buy 3 at a time online. This can be used day or night and I highly recommend starting at the décolletage and sweeping up the neck to the face. Mature skin needs more moisture and it needs actives that stimulate the cells in the dermis to improved firmness and elasticity and this cream really delivers in that area. I usually recommend to customers to try it on their neck and then feel that area where they applied an hour later. What they notice instantly is how quickly it sinks into their neck; any cream that sinks in quickly is a good indication at how compatible with your skins own oils it is, and how desperately your skin needed a ”drink”. Feeling the area where the cream was applied an hour later, gives a good indication on the ongoing benefits which high quality ingredients deliver.

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I love the Nighty Night Cream – it smells fresh and makes my skin feel delightfully soft. What’s your personal favourite skincare item from your range?

Well, I do love them all and when I create them I think about how to make it the most perfect product in its category and use innovative ingredients with strong evidence behind them. My 48 year old face is a really good advert for my products. If I had to choose only one, I would have to say Fair of Face is very unique and I’m really impressed with every aspect of it. I rarely wear mascara, eye shadow, foundation or powder so I didn’t need an oil based cleanser, but I like to use a good product on my face in the shower as I’m a lazy cleanser. I used to get cyst like spots on my chin every couple of months that would last for about 7 days. Since using Fair of Face I have not had any spots, despite occasionally forgetting to remove make up. Also when I’ve washed with it in the morning and spritzed with Rose Kiss floral water, I have sometimes forgotten to put on moisturiser because my skin does not feel dry. Every other cleanser has left my skin feeling dry, but not this one. I have also put it to the test and used a makeup remover after Fair of Face to check that it’s removing grime thoroughly and it is. I have got into a routine of turning on the shower, applying Fair of Face and then rinsing it off in the shower, as that bit of contact time on the skin allows the plant actives to work.

In a nutshell, what ingredients have you used to make the Nighty Night Cream so effective at plumping out those wrinkles and softening my skin?

Bidens Pilosa (Revinage) is the hero ingredient in Nighty Night Cream. When I developed the night cream I knew I wanted to work in the dermis to boost collagen and elastin production (Extra cellular matrix), and that Retinol/Vitamin A was a good benchmark with proven deep wrinkle reduction. So when I came across a plant with retinoid properties that had strong evidence behind it, I was very interested. The problem with Retinol is it can cause irritancy, so it’s used at very low levels, or customers need to get a prescription to get a higher level and hope they don’t get a reaction. Bidens Pilosa doesn’t cause this type of reaction, which means it can be used at a higher level and therefore be more effective. In addition to plumping out wrinkles its’ been clinically proven to inhibit melanin cells that form age spots. Hyaluronic acid is also in Nighty Night Cream and this is something that’s present in our skin and its function is to hold water, which makes it good at plumping out wrinkels too. There are also a lot of plant oils; rosehip, shea, linseed, cottonseed, evening primrose oil, wheat germ oil etc. and they will provide essential fatty acids to the cellular wall in the epidermis, keeping that functioning optimally, healthy, moisturised and supple. The skin is the biggest organ in our bodies and its important to work with it and give it what it needs to keep it balanced and functioning optimally and this is t he theory which underpins English Rose Cosmetic products.

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What plans, if any, have you got to extend your range of products? Any new products in the pipeline?

If the funds were there I would bring out 7 new products a year, as I really love researching and developing the best possible product. But it takes investment and faster turnover of existing products.

There are three formulations that are ready and they are:
1. Mermaids Cleansing water – a micelle water to remove make up with a seaweed active that calms inflamed skin
2. Moisturising lip gloss in 3 amazing shades, this feels like a molten lipstick and the base makes the colours look vibrant
3. Facial oil with trio of Omega oils and some collagen firming properties – I’m undecided about whether to add a fragrance or not.

These are ideas as I haven’t got the formulation right yet:

1. Land Girls Face Mask with honey, oat and apple                          

 2. Powder Cleanser/Mask – that forms an interesting texture when mixed with water and has potent Vitamin C and fruit acids.

English Rose Cosmetics has been approved by PETA and is licensed to carry their logo. How important was it for the company to get this approval?

As animal testing on finished cosmetics was banned in the UK back in the 90’s, it was misleading to put on packaging “Not animal tested” as a UK or EU company would be breaking the law, and it inferred that other UK cosmetic companies were. The key thing is and always has been the ingredients selected, some products that have been in use for decades would have been tested decades ago, but the majority of EU and US suppliers do not test new ingredients on animals, which is why I prefer to source from them, so I can get declarations at the development stage. In recent years a lot of brands entered the Chinese market and the government there requires finished products to be tested on animals. I believe this will change as the Chinese industry catches up with EU testing techniques which have been adapted to deliver good results without using animals. However A LOT of brands have lost their PETA and BUAV status because of this. I like PETA as they don’t just focus on cosmetics, they focus on animal welfare in all areas, and it’s thanks to their newsletter that I made the decision to stop eating meat (I do have the occasional lapse) as I didn’t feel comfortable about the industrial farming of animals for human consumptions. I don’t judge meat eaters, as I acknowledge that some people love the taste of meat, I never really liked meat so it was easy for me to stop, but I do think it would be wonderful all round if everyone reduced their meat intake.

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I love the names you give to your products – e.g. the Fair of Face Gentle Foaming Cleanser. Where does the inspiration come from when naming your products?

I try and stay true to British phrases that we all know and have a nostalgic feeling towards and try to make it relevant to the product. Example:-
Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed eye cream – gives us the impression of looking fresh and wide awake, exactly what one wants from an eye cream, but I make no guarantees on the Bushy Tail!
Lay Back and Think of England is a cheeky reference to the aphrodisiac properties of rose fragrance.
Rose Kiss Spritz – spraying pure Rosa damascene floral water on the face is like a kiss from a rose, with fresh rain drops on it.
Cocoa Ration Body butter references rationing during WW2 and contains cocoa butter as well as shea and avocado.
Daily Defence Moisturiser – I didn’t manage to come up with an old fashioned name, so I focused on the benefits of the day cream which are: protect against urban pollution and free radical damage.
Nighty Night Cream – most of us remember being told as children, Nighty Night sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!
Fair of Face – this comes from the Monday’s Child Poem, and as the Soap tree bark is very effective in regulating oiliness and clearing up spots, without drying the skin, thus users will have a clear, unblemished face.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Pretty much all of my jumpers seems to have glitter going through them! Everything I wear is well fitted and has some interesting detail to it. I like tailored suits and feminine tops. Because of back problems I mainly wear flat shoes now, brogues, loafers and patent leather or animal print flats. I also quite like a bit of camo and military looking jackets and have the most amazing camo handbag in the shape of a dog, even the zips look like dogs bones. It’s very unique but doesn’t really go with anything.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Online I like Campbell Crafts, I really admire Lindsay’s style, and she has a really good collection of vintage reproduction that is very wearable. On the High Street I like TK Maxx as you can really pick up something a bit different but affordable. Unfortunately I don’t have the finances to spend much money on clothes, so I often check out charity shops and Vintage Events for something wearable and Made in UK.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

The Edith dogtooth wiggle dress from Collectif! I ordered online before Christmas but it was too big, so I’m waiting for my size to come in! I’m always on the look-out for new outfits at Vintage Fairs, I have a love of Made in UK – good quality clothes in tartan, tweed, Prince of Wales, Herringbone, Dogtooth, and of course I would love to find a beautiful Dior Couture outfit from the 50’s, the epitome of feminine elegance.

Boots or Shoes?

Unfortunately I have large calves so battle to find knee high boots that fit, so for me it’s shoes. My favourite pair of shoes is a turquoise/gold Irregular Choice with swans and a Perspex heel. The first time I wore them was to a wedding and I was tasked with looking after the camera to take photos, but apparently when my friends looked at their photos they were mainly of my shoes!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/Facebook/twitter etc. so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your products

http://English-rose-cosmetics.jimdo.com
https://www.facebook.com/english.rose.cosmetics
https://twitter.com/1940EnglishRose
http://beautyinsiderreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

STOP PRESS…. English Rose Cosmetics will be at the RHS London Rose Show 2015 at the RHS Horticultural Halls 29 – 30 May 2015.  Do go & say “Hello” if you are there!  As usual, let me know if you’ve fallen in love too with English Rose Cosmetics – what products tickled your fancy?

Linda x

Photo Credits: Linda Hobden; English Rose Cosmetics

 

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An Interview With Hollie Kamel (Wedding Singer)

With less than a fortnight to go before Santa does his rounds over the world’s rooftops, I felt that my guest this week should be someone who is a bit Christmassy yet a bit sazzy …. someone like the dropdead gorgeous Hollie Kamel, with her seasonal name, her angelic voice, and her sazziness!  Hollie is a popular wedding, party and event singer – and I caught up with her recently to chat about music, her wedding business and her passion for fashion too .. welcome Hollie…image

Hi – I am Hollie Kamel and I am a Professional Singer and UKA Salsa Dance Instructor & proud mummy to a gorgeous little 5 year old called Jasmine Lila.

You’re a professional wedding, party & event singer. When did you realise you had a passion for singing?  What made you take the plunge to pursue wedding singing as a career?

I first started singing as a child, as I come from quite a musical family (my brother has had a few top 40 download chart hits!). To begin with I was in the school musicals and then went on to perform on radio and at about 16 started to train classically to give me a strong foundation of technique and skill to perform from. However, my career took a very corporate path, in media, marketing and sales and my singing and dancing was always a part time profession. This all changed once I had my little girl, as part time corporate doesn’t really exist, so I took the leap of faith to launch myself as ‘Hollie your Wedding Singer’, perfect for Weddings, Parties & Corporate Events!! 😉

imageYou offer an excellent range of bespoke entertainment including solo singer, duo, and a mini function band.  What tends to be the most popular package?

I provide Solo Singer, Party Duo & Themed Show packages and to be totally honest, they are all really popular and different in their own right. Where everything I do is bespoke, I always tailor make the package to meet and exceed the client’s needs and depending on their event, the service they choose will reflect this. (I do find that Vintage/American Songbook/Jazz is hugely popular & of course, Party Singer!!).

What do you love most about being a wedding singer?

What I love most about being a wedding singer, is that you are blessed to share and be a huge part of their wedding day and all the love, celebration and emotion that surrounds it.

imageYou have a vast range of songs in your songlist portfolio. What are the most popular songs requested for the wedding ceremony, wedding breakfast/reception, and for the evening do?

Most popular Wedding Ceremony songs include:
• How Long Will I Love You
• At Last

Most popular Breakfast/Champagne Reception songs include:
• Let There Be Love
• All of Me

Most popular Evening Reception songs include:
• The Shoop Shoop Song (in his kiss)
• All about the Bass
• Dance with Me Tonight

imageIs there any song on your list that you really enjoy belting out? Any song on the list that makes you groan?

Songs I love to sing:
• Somewhere over the Rainbow
• At Last
• Rather Be

Songs I could live without singing for a while
• Wind Beneath My Wings
• I Will Survive

What music genre do you enjoy listening to?

Where do I start with the genres I like listening to…..I love SO many kinds of music and it really depends on my mood. I love vocal based music like Eva Cassidy and the Carpenters, James Taylor etc, but I also love R&B and of course Salsa!! I have a HUGE passion for West End Musicals!

imageIf you had the chance to sing a duet with anybody in the world, dead or alive, who would be your partner and what song would you sing?

If I could duet with one singer (dead or alive) in the whole world then I would love to choose to sing with Jessie J (as I think she is vocal Viagra) but her range is SO huge that I wouldn’t be able to – so instead I choose to sing Somewhere over the Rainbow with Eva Cassidy !

Have you had any unusual song requests?

I have had some very strange requests in my time including ‘Gilbert O’Sullivan’ numbers and Copacabana!

Singing all year round at weddings, parties and events must be a strain on your voicebox. How do you try to keep your voice limbered up and ready for performing? How do you avoid the dreaded sore throat/croaky voice etc?

As a Singer it is really important to continually look after your voice, so I always do the following before a performance:
• Warm up
• Avoid dairy
• Take Vocalzone
• Drink lots of water

As a cure for a ‘sad’ voice I do the following:
• Take Singers Throat mix (the most evil tasting liquid in the WORLD)
• Drink Honey and Lemon (Hot)
• Steam
• Hum
• Vocal REST!!

imagePersonal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing on and off stage?

On stage you will find me wearing very glamorous evening dresses or ‘themed’ attire (such as Vintage) with ridiculously high heels and accessories and ALL my hair and make up intact!! Lol!
Off stage you will normally find me in skinny jeans, ugg boots with a skinny rib t-shirt in the summer and a trendy jumper or hoody in the winter!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

As far as retailers go Amazon is amazing for costumes and accessories. I love QUIZ at Lakeside/Westfields for glamorous party wear and Ali Express for every kind of costume, dress or outfit (but it takes about 8 weeks to arrive but is CRAZY cheap!!)

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

My next purchase needs to be another shorter style, sparkly or sequinned party dress for xmas season (more laid back events).

Boots or Shoes?

For me, boots or shoes is hard, because boots at home and shoes at work nearly always!

Links you would like to share eg website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow you and your career

https://www.facebook.com/holliekamelsinger
https://twitter.com/holliekamel
https://www.youtube.com/user/holliekamelsinger
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hollieyourweddingsinger
http://www.pinterest.com/holliekamel/

Many thanks for chatting to us today – I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous, Fun  & Eventful New Year! For those readers in the UK who are looking for some fabulous entertainment then Hollie is your girl – she’s simply divine! My wedding song was Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” – what was yours? Please do tell!

Linda x

All photos were published with kind permission of Hollie Kamel.

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An Interview With Born Bad Betty

Glamour with a capital G is what you’d experience from my guest this week – from the limited edition vintage inspired shoes, seamed stockings and those oh-so-sexy wiggle dresses and plenty more inbetween!  For those office parties, New Year soirees, vintage weddings and numerous other social events through to every day office attire with a 50s twist, Born Bad Betty has it all. So a big warm welcome BBB….image

Hi! I’m Mariam Vossough – aka Betty from Born Bad Betty. I run the company by myself, so I’m owner, designer, order packer – everything!

What inspired you to start up Born Bad Betty?

Clichéd though it may be, I fell into a mid-life crisis on turning forty. My low mood was very much focused on how I looked. My body had changed shape so dramatically I hardly recognised it any more. I didn’t want any of it on show, so I started buying baggy tops and long, shapeless dresses to cover myself. During that time, I lost my sense of style and – worst of all – my confidence. On a weekend away with Mr BBB, we wandered into a vintage-inspired clothes store where a red and black polka dot dress caught my eye. A stunning red and black polka dot wiggle dress. I gazed at it lovingly and Mr BBB urged me to try it on. But it was fitted. Really fitted. Somehow, my husband twisted my arm and I scurried off into the changing room. The minute the fabric hugged my curves I felt amazing. It was like my body shouted ‘I’m back, baby’. We were the perfect partnership – wiggle dresses need curvy girls and curvy girls need wiggle dresses. From that moment, I was on a mission. I wanted every woman to feel the way I did when I tried on that dress. For the first time in many years, I was no longer hiding my curves, I was flaunting them. Born Bad Betty was born. So, I began searching for dresses that all women could feel fabulous in and designed a collection of lust-after shoes to go with them. I now have a vintage business, a wardrobe full of wiggle and some wonderfully supportive new friends.

imageWhen choosing stock/styles/colours of shoes, bags and accessories etc for your website,do you go by popular styles, customer requests, “vintage” fashion trends, your own personal taste, their uniqueness or bits of all those?

Firstly, and most importantly, whatever I’m buying has to make me go ‘wow’. If not, I won’t get it. I think you have to trust your own instincts. If you start trying to second guess what other people might like, you’re bound to end up compromising. After all, sometimes customers don’t know themselves what they want until they see it. We’ve all been there – you say to yourself “I really don’t want another floral dress”, then you fall head over heels in love with one! In order to keep Born Bad Betty unique, I’ve started looking further afield for dresses and also asking designers for exclusive colours and designs.

Out of the current clothing & accessory range, I adore the fun Jive seamed Dotty Stockings; the bamboo clutch; and your range of wiggle dresses – so, so sexy, especially the Mistress Black & Leopard 50s Dress. What clothing & accessory items have been most popular amongst your customers this season?

Floral swing dress are always popular. Worn with a petticoat, it’s the fifties look most people aspire too. Polka dots are also a popular choice. The Isabella dress in jade has flown out this season.

imageYou do a fab range of shoes, and although I’m a real boot girl, I do like to dress up on occasions and I love, love, love kitten heels! The shoe for me this season is the lush Bad Kitty and it does live up to its description – “for the girl who wants to look feminine whilst getting up to no good”! What footwear has been the most popular this season?

In the summer, my flat shoes ‘Pump it, Cherry’ and ‘Good Kitty’ were super popular. So many flats are dull, and my customers appreciated being able to wear something comfy and gorgeous! Constantly popular are Hello Sailor and Strawberry Fox. Hello Sailor were the first pair I designed – and my signature style – and I’m so happy that people love them.

imageHave you got any personal favourites from your collection?

Ooh, you can’t ask me to pick between my shoes! That’s like asking which of my children I love the most! I have two favourite dresses at the moment. The two tone wiggle dress in teal – which is an exclusive colour to BBB – is super sexy. I haven’t seen any woman who doesn’t look drop dead in it. New in is the Estelle dress in a black lace print. It’s so lovely – such an unusual print – and cut especially to fit and flatter the fuller figure. I love it!

You’re currently running some “Bringing Sassy Back” challenges for your fans – including such challenges as wearing red lipstick every day! The challenges are a lot of fun! What has been your favourite challenge so far? What has been the most popular?

The very first one – wearing lipstick everyday – seems to have really taken off. It’s so easy for us busy woman not to bother doing things to make ourselves feel good. We’re always last on the list. Putting some lipstick on is a quick, easy way to add a touch of glamour to your day. However, my personal favourite was to wear a hair flower every day. I have some gorgeous ones and don’t wear them often enough. I have very exciting one coming up, so keep an eye on the blog!

imageLooking forward to Spring 2015 – what vintage inspired colours and styles will we be seeing on your site?

I’m always on the lookout for killer wiggle dresses and cute swing dresses. I never set out with pre-conceptions about what I’m going to buy. Although, I do make sure I have a good mixture of styles. One thing I’ve started to do, and will definitely continue, is to buy more plus size clothing. The latest dresses in all go up to a size 20.

imagePersonal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I love to wear comfortable day dresses like the Edie Rose Sailor dress teamed with a pair of BBB pumps. It has to be practical (and gorgeous) for when I’m working. If I’m not in a dress, I’ll be found in Freddies jeans and tops. They are fabulous and very flattering for us curvy girls. This time of year, I would wear them with some chunky motorcycle boots or my trusty DM’s.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I’m rather partial to Etsy. I love buying up-cycled vintage items. I’m also slightly addicted to vintage-inspired jewellery (which Mr BBB will confirm!) so spend far too much time gazing at Luxulite and Bow and Crossbones.

imageWhat’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Don’t tempt me! But, seeing as you’re asking, I got my eye on a cute vintage snood hat. I also wouldn’t say no to a new pair of motorcycle boots

Boots or Shoes?

If I could only choose one it would have to be shoes. Like a lot of women, I have an emotional attachment to shoes in a way that I don’t with boots. Some shoes are so beautiful, you could place them in a glass cabinet on the mantlepiece. I can’t see myself ever doing that with a pair of boots!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Born Bad Betty.

www.bornbadbetty.com
www.facebook.com/bornbadbetty
Twitter: bornbadbetty
Instagram: bornbadbetty
Pinterest: Born Bad Betty
blog: http://bornbadbetty.com/blog/

Thanks Mariam for chatting to us – your shoes are an absolute delight!  The question this week ladies is, what has tickled your vintage inspired fancy? Kitten heels, wiggle dress, pencil skirt or the total Fifties skirt & petticoat combo?  Do tell! 🙂

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Born Bad Betty (Mariam Vossough)

 

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An Interview With ROSAvelt

This week I’m interviewing Sadia of ROSAvelt, an independent British clothing label whose women’s clothing has wowed me with their fab mix of classic, contemporary and vintage influences. I really adore touches of lace, crochet and the sensualness of silk –  classic touches that can be updated each season to accommodate passing trends, that can also easily be worn during the day yet still come alive at night. Welcome to the blog, Sadia…image


Hi! My name is Sadia, founder of ROSAvelt. From a very young age I had a lot of interest in fabrics, colours and fashion; as a child, I used to design my own outfits and hand-sew doll outfits for my crafts homework. I embarked on a career in Engineering and Investment banking, but it didn’t allow me to pursue my creative interest to the degree I wanted. However, I persevered, slowly working towards my goal and after years of background work, research and personal enthusiasm, I was able to launch ROSAvelt in 2012.
imageROSAvelt is an independent British clothing label established in 2012. What inspired you to start the business?
I feel that most retailers and even designers are easily going out to markets abroad, sourcing products in mass quantities and pushing them onto buyers well over 4 times a year on the name of “Fashion”. Salaries unfortunately do not change with the same rate as does the fashion, so consumers are left out of pocket with these ever changing looks & trends. I researched the products which were loved by consumers season after season, year after year – call it the “wardrobe constants” if you will. These are the products which ROSAvelt specialises in. We want to bring evergreen, all season boutique concepts so our customer make the most out of their money and wear an outfit with many seasons, holidays and parties to come. Our dresses are classic, clean cut and tailored beautifully, with an added benefit of them being Limited Edition. Let me elaborate on the Limited Edition concept a little bit more – I once went to a wedding where 3 girls turned up wearing the very same electric blue dress which was retailed by a well-known high street clothing brand. Much to their annoyance of course, let’s face it – it’s hardly an ideal situation! So going completely against the mass production retail market out there, we are creating pieces in truly limited quantities using old school, traditional tailors. You’ll never bump into someone wearing the same outfit at a party ever again.

imageYour limited edition women’s clothing combines classic, contemporary and vintage influences. So, when designing your outfits do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences or bits of all those?

 I follow and research all possible fashion events;  red carpet looks, colours of the season, fashion runways, Oscars, movies, all-time favourite fashion icons…you name it. Sometimes just a passing by bus with a massive promotional banner can give me an idea. My main source of inspiration is nature, which is why I used a lot of natural backgrounds in the photography and used real pictures with no air brushing of any sort.

imageMy favourite dresses from your collection are all the floral printed silk dresses and the flower printed silk dress. What dress/outfit is proving popular amongst your customers this season?

Linda,you certainly have a good taste! Indeed, our silk dresses are proving quite popular – I like to call them our “Multi-tasking dresses” because they are made of pure silk, very lightweight for your holiday wardrobe, colourful for a summer party, barbeque or a wedding. We intentionally use pure silk to create these dresses because silk is natural fibre,so it adjusts itself to your body temperature, unlike polyester which sticks to the body and works against its natural temperature. Also very popular is our handmade collection which required a lot of effort and precision.

imageOut of all the outfits in your collection, what has been (or is) your favourite?

I personally love our pure silk printed trousers. They are very versatile; easy wear yet luxurious for all season wardrobes, especially spring/summer. I like the comfortable, no fuss look which doesn’t require too much time but still look fashionable. Our silk printed trousers always receive many compliments and I wear them with our lace tops for work, casual T’s for a holiday and with plain T shirts/cardigan for a day out.

What do you feel are the advantages of shopping for limited edition outfits?

I think it’s for women who do not wish to be consumed with the ever changing fashion industry. They want to own looks which they know they can safely wear for a few seasons for a few different occasions. Also, for women with certain taste who like the delicacy of pure silk, pure guipure lace, original jacquard and of course hand embroidery.

imageI’ve also a soft spot for your white embroidered crochet dress – it has a definite 60s wedding dress vibe to it – reminds me of the sort of thing that the young Twiggy would’ve worn!  Which famous lady would you love to see strutting their stuff in one of your dresses?

I can see Olivia Palermo and Big Brother House’s Emma wearing it. This dress was in fact inspired by an Oscar after party look which caught my eye and I created a more “wearable” version of it.

I love the idea of the monthly competition on your website, “Face of ROSAvelt” giving customers the chance to appear on your website and could potentially get a chance to model for future collections. What were the reasons behind launching such an initiative?

We are a young company and really want to connect with our customers. I mentioned above that photography was real with no magic wand techniques of air brushing so it’s something we want to adhere to in our future shoot, therefore we want to find models from real life instead of professional models only. It’s a win- win situation both ways because it gives newcomers a chance to start their modelling career and it gives us a platform to connect with our customers and see how they wear our clothes. We are open to ideas and all ages are welcome to become Face of ROSAvelt.

Your collection is full of bright colours! My summer wardrobe seems to be leaning towards the bright citrus colours, intertwined with shades of blue and snatches of red, white & navy too! What colour(s) are you personally leaning towards this season?

Yellow! An all-time summer favourite! Yellow is a very safe summer hit almost every season and I love the Canary yellow Crochet dress in our collection. Pink is another colour you can’t go wrong with; it instantly lifts the mood. In fact, I was reading an article just the other day and one of the recommendations to enhance your mood is to wear bright colour outfits – I couldn’t agree more. We also have some great new additions to our collection coming up soon so look out for Nautical dresses, Ceramic print silk and sequinned shift dress featured on our website in coming weeks.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

In summer: Sandals, skirts and tops as casual and always a dress for some outing/formal event.Winter: Velvet skirts, Cashmere clothing, boots/heels etc. This winter I teamed our hand embellished velvet skirts with some cashmere plain tops for evening outs and they gathered many compliments because they are so lightly embellished without overpowering the entire clean look.  

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (apart from your own!)

I like Vivienne Westwood for her edgy looks, Marc Jacobs for his laid back approach and Jenny Peckham’s styles.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

This summer I plan to experiment with many of ROSAvelt’s collection for nights out and work, I do however have a Burberry black handbag on my wish list at the moment.

Boots or Shoes? 

Boots – they are easy to run around in rainy London.

Find out more about ROSAvelt by checking out their fab website:

www.rosaveltonline.com

Thanks Sadia – I certainly love your current collection and I’m going to give those printed trousers a try too!  

Linda x

Photos Credits:  All photos have been published with kind permission from ROSAvelt.

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An Interview With The Miniature Perfume Shoppe

20140130-133720.jpgLove is in the air… it’ll soon be Valentine’s Day and what lady doesn’t like to be wooed by perfume? For this week’s interview I’m chatting to Leslie Ann and Allen Aaron White of the Texan based Miniature Perfume Shoppe – a perfume bottle shop and museum rolled into one. Leslie Ann White is the Founder and Owner of Miniature Perfume Shoppe. Her professional career of more than twenty five years in the cosmetics industry includes time spent as the Cosmetics Buyer for Foley’s (now Macy’s) Department Stores, and an Account Executive for Clinique Labs responsible for 24 accounts and $10M in annual sales. When not out on the hunt for the next great mini through either her travelling or surfing the web, most of Leslie Ann’s time is spent researching, processing, and professionally cleaning/restoring minis for Miniature Perfume Shoppe. As co-owner, Allen Aaron White (Leslie Ann’s husband), created the MPS website that launched online in 2009. With a varied and successful professional career that has included work as a retail manager, human resources executive, and ordained minister, Allen joined Miniature Perfume Shoppe full-time in 2011 where he currently serves as curator, photographer, and resident perfume historian.

A big welcome to you both, I adore your idea of a miniature perfume shop – it is the first & largest online store of its kind in the world devoted exclusively to the collector of miniature perfume bottles – where did you get your inspiration from?image
Leslie Ann : The inspiration for Miniature Perfume Shoppe began with a small sample bottle of Chanel No. 5. My mom had  just finished using a mini of her “signature” fragrance and asked me (I was thirteen and living in Scotland at the time) if I would like the empty bottle. Little did either one of us realize then that this would not only be the beginning of my personal miniature perfume bottle collection, but also my professional career in the cosmetic industry. Soon, I had two, then ten, then dozens of tiny perfume bottles. My collection continued to grow through the years (I still have that original bottle) with some of those minis ultimately becoming the first inventory for Miniature Perfume Shoppe. My personal collection today is less than a hundred bottles – mainly vintage Chanel minis – but being surrounded by literally thousands of minis every day, I feel a special connection with each and every one. It’s hard to let them go!
20140130-133731.jpgYou stock over 5,000 minis including limited editions,famous brand names, antique, vintage and new too.  What’s the oldest bottle you have, the rarest, the most extravagant, the priciest and the newest?
Allen: First launching with about a hundred bottles, Miniature Perfume Shoppe has since surpassed the 5,000 bottle mark (we currently have our eyes set on that 10,000 mini milestone.) Truth is, since we’re constantly searching for and buying minis from all over the world – individual bottles and entire collections – our inventory is constantly changing. With collectors in more than 35 countries our minis are often here today and gone tomorrow, and with hundreds of “new” minis arriving each week, every day is like Christmas around here. Through the years, some of the oldest (and rarest) minis we have had include miniatures from the mid-1800s, with quite a few regularly arriving from the 1920s such as a Grossmith Phul-Nana, Jaspy Myrodata, and a scarce La Mysteree by Lothaire. As for the most extravagant mini, well that is in the eye of the beholder, but it is hard to beat an Adrian Designs miniature or early Irice Czech glass bottle. Although most minis sell at our shoppe (on average) in the $10 – $25 price range, we also offer “Paris minis” as low as $2.95. Of course, scarcer, hard to find, discontinued miniatures in very good-to-mint condition sell for much, much more. The Priciest? A sealed Guerlain Shalimar “Umbrella” bottle from the 1950s, and a signed, numbered, Serge Lepage Botticelliana mini by Schiaparelli c1970s come to mind – each valued at around $200. We work hard to maintain as diverse a selection as possible with a mini for every taste and every pocketbook. As for the newest, well that depends on what arrives on any given day. Last week it was Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift and Flora from the Gucci Garden Collection.
20140130-133756.jpgTo date, what has been your most popular bottle requested?
Allen: There are some minis that are considered timeless and classic, usually because of either the bottle design or the fact that the fragrance has been discontinued or reformulated. Minis that we find very difficult to keep in stock (and usually sell within days of arriving) include: the original Shalimar, Lauren, Must de Cartier, Poison, and Anne Klein II.
What’s your most favourite perfume bottle?
Miniatures
Leslie Ann: Chanel No 5 from the 1920s-1930s
Allen: Champagne (with wire) by Yves Saint Laurent
 
Commercial
Both: Hedonist by Parfums Viktoria Minya, Paris
You also buy in bottles – have you any that you are particularly hoping to come across?
We are always on the lookout for very early Guerlain minis (especially Jickey and Shalimar) and early ornamental Czech glass minis – the older the better.
You’re a big supporter of the Institute of Art and Olfaction – every mini that is bought you make a donation to the Institute – plus you’ve made a donation of books for their perfume library.  How did you get involved with the Institute?
Allen: Since we first opened for business, we knew that at some point we wanted to partner with and financially support a worthy non-profit organization. That happened last year when we discovered the Institute for Art & Olfaction, based in Los Angeles. For us, it was love at first sight (or sniff) because in the IAO we found the best of all worlds: fragrance, art, and perfume education. When we learned they were trying to build a perfume library we jumped at the chance to help, so since their opening in January of 2013 we’ve supported the IAO monthly. We also donate 10% of any sale made with an IAO discount code. The Institute is involved in some of the most innovative, cutting-edge work being done in the perfume world today and we’re proud to play a mini part in their success.
20140130-133709.jpgThe Vintage Bottles are intended for display purposes and not for use as an everyday personal fragrance.  So, tell me, what is your perfume of choice for everyday wear?
Leslie Ann: Because our miniatures come from diverse people and places from all over the world, we seldom know for sure how a bottle has been cared for over the years. Ideally, minis are kept in a closed display case protected from light and extreme heat or cold, but we cannot always say that with absolute certainty. For that reason, we don’t guarantee that “the juice” in a bottle is still good or wearable. That said, often the perfume in a bottle may be perfectly fine – even after decades of sitting on a shelf, although more often than not some of the top notes have “gone off.”.  As for my personal perfume of choice? That’s easy. My “signature scent” at this time in my life is Hedonist by Viktoria Minya. I think it is the most beautiful, intoxicating perfume on the market today. In fact, I love it so much (and my husband loves it on me so much) that we now carry the line at Miniature Perfume Shoppe. But I also have a fragrance wardrobe that I can choose from based on the season or special occasion. Of course, I also have the luxury of being surrounded by thousands of minis and fragrances every day. Depending on my mood, I can wear just about any fragrance I want anytime I want.
You also sell very cute perfume pins/brooches – I love the Montana silver tone – what’s the most popular? What’s your personal favourite?
Leslie Ann: All of our perfume pins and brooches are adorable – that’s why they are so collectible (especially in Europe), but you’ll almost never find my favorite in stock. That’s because they sell as quickly as they come in – vintage sterling silver perfume pins by Judith Jack.
20140130-133805.jpgYou have a library/resource area too – a great idea – what sort of historical enquiries do you get?
Allen: There is no shortage of great books, websites, and blogs on perfume. Through the years we’ve tried to include links to some of the very best on our website. But we’re excited to have just launched a perfume project we’ve been working on for sometime – The Mini Museum. (www.TheMiniMuseum.com) Although our ultimate goal is to one day have a brick-and-mortar building for our collection (we’re looking at sites in Houston and Paris, Texas), our virtual museum and timeline provide a photograph, fragrance facts, and perfume history for “every” miniature perfume bottle in our collection. It’s still a work in progress, but we’re hoping over time it will become a great perfume resource not only for mini collectors, but lovers of fragrance as well.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Leslie Ann: Less now, than when I was in the corporate world, I have always enjoyed wearing timeless, classic, tailored clothing and accessories. Generally, some of my favorites include: Clothing: Christian Dior & Talbot’s, Cosmetics: Clinique, Handbags: Gucci and Coach, Shoes: Clarke’s (casual) and Vaneli (dress), Watch: Gucci, Coach, Mondaine
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
Leslie Ann: With my many years in retail, I do very little shopping at department stores anymore, preferring to do almost all of my shopping online. Besides, the internet is open 24-7-365 and delivers right to my front door! However, Allen and I both love vintage so we really enjoy “going antiquing” (and mini hunting!)
 Boots or Shoes?
Leslie Ann: Always shoes, maybe an ankle  boot. I prefer comfort and simple elegance. For me, I find boots too constricting – like I can’t breathe, lol. Besides, more often than not here in Texas the boot of choice is the cowgirl variety. Definitely not me.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about the Miniature Perfume Shoppe
Miniature Perfume Shoppe
Spring, Texas 77388 USA (Near Houston)
 
 
(New) Instagram/Miniature_Perfume_Shoppe
Thank you both very much for chatting to me…I love perfume and have found your shop and museum really fascinating. Hedonist is the featured fragrance of the Miniature Perfume Shoppe this Valentines Day – so don’t forget to sniff out a bottle soon…
 
Linda  x
 
Photo credits:  Photos have been published with kind permission from Allen Aaron White and for the Hedonist photo, with kind permission from Parfums Viktoria Minya, Paris.
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An Interview With Hotel Pelirocco

Rock & Roll seems to be definitely alive and kicking in the county of Sussex. Travelling to Hastings this Summer, I encountered 50s style diners/music venues en route, and Brighton attracts a nightlife that makes it the destination of choice for music fans of every genre, appealing to all ages and orientations! Add to that the vintage shops, trendy hair salons etc … the place is really buzzing! It seems appropriate therefore to welcome onto the blog this week, Mick Habeshaw Robinson, co founder/owner of the unique and exciting Hotel Pelirocco, England’s most Rock ‘n’Roll hotel situated in the pulsating heart of Brighton. Welcome Mick!mickpick

Hi! I’m Mick Habeshaw Robinson, co founder/owner of Hotel Pelirocco and a fan of Rock’n’Roll. As a hotel, we are truly independent and proud. In a more and more bland and corporate world we like to stand out and be unique. Customer service, I think is also important – we genuinely love this place and our guests! 

Hotel Pelirocco has been dubbed England’s most Rock ‘n’ Roll hotel,  so where did the inspiration come from?

The idea came about 14 years ago now, back then there was no other hotels, that I was aware of, that catered for a younger contemporary crowd, who wanted to stay up late, listen to music, in a relaxed hotel environment and get up late for breakfast possibly in their pyjamas and no one would mind!

Have you always been in the hotel business?

No, it was in at the deep end! I think when you go into a new business with no pre-conceived ideas, you have a fresh outlook which brings new ideas.

Do you enjoy running a hotel, especially one as flamboyant as Hotel Pelirocco?

Absolutely,it’s fun! It’s changed my life , and I’ve met most of my record collection!!

PlayRoom2All the rooms are decorated & furnished in different themes – I love the look of the “Play Room”, definitely the ultimate “dirty weekend room” !!! What room tends to be the most requested?

Hands down the Playroom then Betty’s Boudoir, people want to have fun!

A lot of thought has gone into decorating & furnishing the rooms just so!   Was it difficult getting hold of the knick knacks?

Initially the drive of getting the place off the ground kinda sourced everything, it was fun finding relevant stuff.

If you had another room to create into a “Hotel Pelirocco” what theme would you turn that into?

There are tons bubbling under – all secret…..

Sounds intriguing…

You have a range of Hotel Pelirocco merchandise.  What item sells the most?

T Shirts and Coasters.

Your hotel offers a variety of “Extras” for your guests to enjoy -boudoir photoshoots PoleDancein the rooms, cocktail classes, a karaoke room,naughty erotic hampers, massages & reflexology, classic afternoon cream teas, private DJs, burlesque performances…. so, what “extras”are most requested?

A razor ha ha!!

Obviously your hotel & the rooms are a great backdrop for photoshoots  – what’s the most popular room used for photoshoots?

BettysBoudoirThe Playroom and Betty’s Boudoir.

Name drop time!! Have you had any celebrities stay at your hotel?

Lots, only like to mention bands rather than individuals, Beastie Boys, Primal Scream, Scissor Sisters, Rizzle Kicks….

Which famous person would you love to stay in your hotel – who would leave you totally starstruck!!?

Bowie, Weller , Lydon,  Ice T…

Your legendary bar hosts gigs, book readings as well as being renowned for its cocktails – I just love a pina colada (not very adventurous, am I?!) – what cocktail is THE most requested? What’s your favourite?Bar

Named after the Sex Pistols – The Dirty Fuckin Rotter!

As well as running this fabulous hotel, “Pelirocco Platters” broadcasts twice a week on Brighton’s community RadioReverb.  What’s your musical taste and what sort of music do you get to broadcast?

I love everything, well apart from X Factor rubbish, Old Punk, Soul, Acid House but new music still excites me.

How did you get involved in broadcasting/DJing?

I was asked onto a show as a guest and thought I could do that.. I have also dj’d at parties for years

 SoulSupremeOn a musical note, my first album bought with my first ever wage packet after leaving school was Human League’s “Dare” … so what was yours?

I started young whilst at junior school, my brother got me into Bowie so I bought the Ziggy album.. all thanks to him.. Thank you Geoff ( R.I.P)

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Into clothes big time.. sometimes im a bit modernist, sometimes a bit of a rocker, I tend to like bits and pieces of all different styles.. on a non smart day – converse, straight jeans with turn ups, hoops; smart day- Westwood shirt, white jeans, bass weejuns..

 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

Present in London or vintage/ Ebay

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?Cardi1

Always Westwood, if I can afford it, they do some great loafers at the mo…

Boots or Shoes?

ONLY  Converse boots! I LOVE SHOES!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about your hotel.

www.hotelpelirocco.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pelirocco-Platters
Blog: http://hotelpelirocco.tumblr.com/
Podcast: http://www.mixcloud.com/PeliroccoPlatters/

Thanks Mick – brill place, brill music taste too! Next time, readers, if you’re heading for a weekend away in Brighton pay Mick and the Hotel Pelirocco a visit – you’re sure to have a WOW of a time!

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission from Mick Habeshaw Robinson

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