An Interview With Wear Eponymous

April 25th, 2014

Hailing from Glasgow,  new fashion brand Wear Eponymous have introduced a fresh and fun approach  by strongly championing emerging designers and showcasing exciting limited edition lines as well as believing the fact that everybody should embrace their individuality.  So this week I’m chatting to the lovely three founders – Elaine, Laura and Alan, to find out more …welcome…image

ALAN: Hi! Wear Eponymous is a new fashion brand with a fresh and fun approach to the industry we know, love and as individuals have worked in for many years. We think everyone should embrace their individuality and eponymous means uniquely you. Shopping with us you’re choosing to dress for yourself, to follow key trends without following the crowd and, most importantly, be your own story.

You’ve all got good vast knowledge of the fashion industry from the photographic, MUA, and technical knowhow. What inspired the founding of Wear Eponymous?

We wanted to create a sustainable future for ourselves after many years working as freelancers but we have key goals to achieve that align ethically with our own sustainability plans. As many creatives will tell you, there is very much a ‘working for free’ attitude that has crept in to the creative industries (and others) over the last few years and we want to address this. We feel that providing quality products at affordable prices will allow us to achieve our goals of sustainability and in return will allow us to pay creatives and give something back to people in the industry.

imageYour idea is that everyone should embrace their individuality and the word “eponymous” means “uniquely you”. So who thought up the brand name? Was it difficult to find a name that really sums up your ideals?

We wanted to create a sustainable future for ourselves after many years working as freelancers but we have key goals to achieve that align ethically with our own sustainability plans. As many creatives will tell you, there is very much a ‘working for free’ attitude that has crept in to the creative industries (and others) over the last few years and we want to address this. We feel that providing quality products at affordable prices will allow us to achieve our goals of sustainability and in return will allow us to pay creatives and give something back to people in the industry.

imageYou’re a new fashion brand with a fresh & fun approach to fashion and you also feel strongly about championing emerging designers, such as your first guest emerging designer, fellow Scot, Laura Sherriffs. So, when designing or choosing outfits to represent your brand, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences or bits of all those?

LAURA: As a team, we have an extensive background working within the fashion and beauty industries and as a result, working at the likes of London Fashion Week helped to educate us in trend forecasting and observe the process of runway collections translating into high-street everyday looks. When choosing collections to represent our brand, we’re always mindful of our customer base and combine their thoughts with trend forecasting to deliver an affordable but high-quality product. When it comes to selecting our emerging designers, we use a criteria of exceptional talent and originality of design.

My favourites from your collection are the turquoise checkered shirt and the black classic clutch bag. What outfits are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

The dress collection in particular has been very popular and we have seen a sellout in our classic black bag.

imageOut of all the outfits in your collection, what is your favourite?

I’m torn between the contrast collar dress and the high-waisted faux-leather skirt! The great thing is our products are designed to be extremely flattering on the body and as a petite but curvy lady, the struggle to find dresses and skirts that don’t swamp my figure up is over! The contrast collar dress is completely timeless, but with the collar, it adds that little element of personality other little black dresses are missing. As for the high-waisted faux-leather skirt – being a fan of leatherette textures, it’s perfect for helping the transition into spring/summer – black faux-leather is too harsh for summer! It teams up perfectly with pastels.

Wear Eponymous aims to prioritise good ethics in everything you do from chosen suppliers through to product packaging and model casting. How important is it to you and your designers that your models promote a positive body image?

ELAINE: We think it’s so important to promote a healthy image as life is tough enough without scrutinising your body and focusing on what you don’t like or wish was different. No-one is perfect and we don’t want to promote an unachievable image. We want everyone to embrace our tagline of ‘be your own story’ and encourage our customers to dress for themselves.

imageWhich famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of Wear Eponymous?

We love and admire anyone who has fun with fashion and dresses for themselves. From a fun point of view, someone like Paloma Faith clearly epitomises ‘be your own story’ and injects so much of her personality into her outfit choices and we love that! We select pieces that fit with trends but are also timeless too so a classic beauty such as Jourdan Dunn fits our eponymous ethos; you instantly know her style.

Your collection is full of cutesy pastels and striking monochrome – What colour(s) are you personally leaning towards this season?

Always a fan of pastels, I’m really channelling baby blue and pink! The blue hues seen in our pastel skinny jeans and pastel blazers are so fresh and bright – just what we need after what seems a very long and miserable winter. I’m always a champion of monochrome as it really is seasonless – it will never go out of fashion, but as always, in summer I lean more towards white, and in winter towards Black. The third trend I’m really tapping into this season is “Geo” – which is the trend based off of an earthy palette. Nudes and earthy tones are very underrated and used, but incredibly complimentary to all skin tones – the trick is to select the right hue for you. I’m personally in love with the W.E. Classic trench coat in beige – the toning is so rich and unusual for a trench coat.

imageLooking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2014 – what styles/ colours / era do you hope to see being worn?

There is a fair emphasis on a neutral colour palette predicted – a lot of grey, black and nude tones present on the A/W 2014/15 runways. That being said, there’s also hints at colour bursting through, particularly in tones of burgundy, purple and burnt orange, as well as a touch of deep blue. In terms of shape, we’re definitely moving away from skin-tight clothing and heading towards traditional feminine silhouettes, as well as boxy oversized tailoring.

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

I love classic pieces that are comfortable to wear and allow me to go about my varied working day knowing that I won’t be held back by an uncomfortable heel or super tight skirt! When I’m working on shoots or rushing between meetings I opt for a tailored trouser, classic shirt and a ballet pump or boot. I love dresses for events and will definitely opt for a heel then but at 5ft 9” it’s never too high!

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

I always like to visit House of Fraser as they have a great selection of brands (personal favourites being Biba and Mary Portas). Warehouse has always been a go-to for classic pieces and you can’t beat New Look for some fast fashion.

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

We’re already looking towards our autumn/winter collection, but for spring/summer we’re hoping to bring in some more pastel palettes in our shirts and dresses and we love the monochrome trend, in particular we have spied the most stunning dogtooth heels which may have to make a debut before the change of season!

Boots or Shoes?

This is hard! I’m always a sucker for a great court heel – get the right pair and you can wear them with anything! However, if I were to base it on trends, it has to be the cut-out boot – black for winter, tan for summer! They have a great versatility and I just adore how clunky and grunge-like they look with any outfit. Other classics include a Chelsea boot for a great 60’s mod vibe and a pair of tan Oxford brogues – comfort, androgyny and sophistication all in one shoe!

Links you would like to share:

http://www.weareponymous.com

http://fashion.weareponymous.com

http://www.twitter.com/weareponymous

http://www.facebook.com/WearEponymous

It’s been great chatting to you and learning about what Wear Eponymous is all about.  You have a great future in front of you and I’m sure you’ve gained some new customers/fans amongst my readers!

Linda x

Photo credits:  All photos have been published with kind permission from Wear Eponymous.

An Interview With ROSAvelt

April 17th, 2014

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.

An Interview With The Little Cufflink Shop

April 10th, 2014

Although the first cufflinks appeared in the 1600s,  they did not become popular until the end of the 18th century. During the 1970s, cufflinks almost disappeared completely as male fashion was dominated by the Woodstock generation and shirts were manufactured complete with buttons and buttonholes, making cufflinks virtually redundant. Even after the hippie era passed, cufflinks were not worn but then in the late 1980s they made a reappearance, thought to have been triggered in part by films  such as “Brideshead Revisited” and now in the 21st century,  cufflinks are still flying high as popular male jewellery pieces.  Today cufflinks are mini works of art and the humble cufflink enables the wearer to show an outward expression of their personality.  Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to introduce onto the blog Findlay Downing, owner of The Little Cufflink Shop, who sells more than 800 cufflinks …. welcome Findlay:image

Hi! I’m Findlay Downing, I’m a 19 year old Web Developer from Northumberland.

What inspired you to start up your business?

I’ve known from a young age that I didn’t want to go to University. I’m not an academic type of person and as such, hated school. I hate textbooks and much prefer to learn by physically doing something. After leaving school a year into Sixth Form, I spent 18 months in a Web Design apprenticeship before starting The Little Cufflink Shop. It became so popular that I decided to finish my apprenticeship early to run the business full time. Another bit of inspiration for me was to prove that not all teenagers are awful! Young people only ever get bad publicity so I’m on a mission to prove there are some successful young people in the world.

When choosing designs/styles/colours for your range of cufflinks, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, fashion trends, your own tastes/needs or bits of all those?

When I first started the business, it was a case of offering as many different styles and designs as I could. Within a few months I was beginning to see patterns in the type of designs customers were buying and so I spent a long time removing some cufflinks that I thought nobody would be interested in. We do get a lot of requests from people asking if we stock a certain design (the answer is normally yes!).
imageTo date, what has been your most popular style of cufflinks ordered from your website?
To date, there are a few designs that are selling really well. We don’t have a stand out favourite as yet, but we do get a lot of good comments about our USB stick cufflinks.

You have a fabulous range of designer cufflinks too – I like the Grey Fabric Button cufflinks by Claireabellemakes. What featured designer has really proved popular this season?

At the moment, most of our designers have had at least one order through the website. Claire fromClaireabellemakes has had 4/5 orders now for her Wooden Scrabble Tile Cufflinks so they’re proving a hit!

imageOut of all the novelty cufflinks, what sport/hobby has been most requested this season? Is there a marked shift in popularity of certain sport/hobbies when it comes to cufflinks from when you started in December 2012?

We haven’t really seen a difference in sales for our Sports cufflinks. During the Winter Olympics in Sochi we were posting a range of our Winter Sports Cufflinks and they were proving popular on Social Media with a lot of people interested in them.

imageYou offer also tie pins and cufflink boxes. Have you any plans to extend your range or to introduce any new designers?

There are currently no concrete plans to expand the range although we are always on the lookout for new designers who want to have their products on our website.

What’s the most unusual style of cufflinks that you stock or the craziest request for a type of novelty cufflink?

There are a lot of unusual cufflinks, that’s why people love us! I’d say the most unusual are either the USB Stick cufflinks or the Spirit Level cufflinks.

imageWhat are your future plans?

I’m currently working on a new project to try and get more young people into business. I’ve now set up three online shops (links below) and have just helped a friend to start a fourth “Little Shop”. They’re all under The Little … Shop name, and the idea is that young people aged 16 – 24 will be able to start their very own Little Shop. This idea is only just starting and The Little Memory Shop (the fourth shop) is the first to be started under this new project so stay tuned to see a whole host of new Little Shops!

imagePersonal now – how many cufflinks do you own? What’s your favourite pair that you own and your favourite from your website?

Believe it or not, I own just 3 pairs of cufflinks. One pair was a Christmas gift from relatives a few years ago and they’ve never been worn. I’ve also got two pairs of gold engraved cufflinks that I’ve worn on a couple of occasions. I never really thought much of cufflinks, but then I started a business selling them. Makes sense, right…?

What outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Most days I can normally be found wearing jeans, a t-shirt and walking shoes but if I’m meeting clients or doing any promotional work I’ll be in jeans and a nice shirt. I love shirts!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I get most of my clothes from Next these days. They’re a bit pricy but I still wear shirts that are 2 years old because they still look brand new. Their jeans are brilliant too!

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes – I’ve never liked wearing boots for anything other than long distance walking. I don’t understand how men can wear big bulky boots around the house. Maybe I’m just a wimp, boots hurt my ankles..

Links you would like to share:

www.thelittlecufflinkshop.co.uk 

https://twitter.com/TLCufflinkShop     

https://www.facebook.com/TLittleCufflinkShop

www.thelittlememoryshop.co.uk

www.thelittleshops.co.uk

I wish you all the best in the future Findlay – your plans certainly sound exciting and I have no doubt that many of this blog’s readers will visit your websites and become  customers.  It is great to see such entrepreneurial spirit in one so young!

Linda x

Photos have been published with kind permission from Findlay Downing.

An Interview With Valencia Christina

April 4th, 2014

Rising out of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the sazzy city of New Orleans, my guest this week is not only gobsmackingly gorgeous but she has weathered bad luck and has emerged like a phoenix to grace the catwalks in New York City and New Orleans; as well as being on magazine covers and featuring in films … but that’s not all, this beautiful model/ actress/ promoter/ MUA  may wear a few “hats” but she also helps other aspiring young talents … Hi Valencia Christina…image

Hi!  I am Valencia Christina aka Vcbarbie.

You’ve been modelling for over 5 years, acting since the age of 5, promoting for over 7 years and a make up artist since 2009. So, when you was 5, did you hope to be an actress or a model or something completely different?

I’d hope to be a veterinarian or marriage counsellor. 

Sadly after Hurricane Katrina hit your hometown of New Orleans you became separated from your family members, and you left school to search for your mum. How did you manage to get your life back on track to pursue your modelling/acting aspirations?

Honestly I’m a mother. It was never my dream to be a model but acting I’ve loved since a kid. I just looked at it as if it were my hobby instead of a career. Where I come from you get through it. No matter what you keep pushing. Once I got in contact with my mom, my dad, my brothers and housed a few family members I was cool. Still very emotional subject and I’ll leave it at that. 

imageYou have modelled in fashion shows both in New York City and in New Orleans, but have you been on any unusual or strange modelling locations? Have you had any strange/unusual modelling experiences?

OMG yes! I’ve done a show walking on a bar, I’ve been in a show in water, body paint photo shoot, abandoned buildings…. 

To date, what has been your most favourite photoshoot?

New Orleans CVBtourism was my absolute favorite because I was representing my city and getting paid to do it!

imageIs there any style of photoshoot /modelling / famous photographer that you would like to try that you haven’t yet experienced?

There are several photographers I’d like to shoot with. A style I would like to try is GOTH.

Have you any favourite models whose style/attitude you admire?

I know you might have heard this name before but I’ll say it anyway… Tyra Banks, Naomi, Eve, and Meagan Good. Why? Each of these beautiful black women came into the game being told no, no, no and still continued moving forward and now look at them. Not to mention they also crossed over from model to actress and one even has her own talk show! I admire these women not only because of their ambition but the fact that they are still relevant and killing the game.

imageYou have featured in films such as The Green Lantern and the Revenge of the Bridesmaids. Just supposing you can have any film role you desired, what role & film would you love to star in?

Im pretty versatile when it comes to acting so I don’t have a set role I’d like to play. I have serveral names that I would love to work with. Producers, directors, and actors/actress such as Stephen Speilberg, Ice Cube, Tyler Perry, Kimberly Elise, Kevin Hart, Kyla pratt, Waynes, Taraji, Dana Elise Owens (Queen Latifah), …….. This list goes on and on. In a nutshell I could fit any role anytime any place. Just hire me!

imageStill on the film theme, have you got a favourite genre of films you like to see? Favourite film?

I have some fav movies but I won’t name them because you’ll see how much of a tomboy I am. LOL . I like action, comedy, horror/thriller and romance.

You give inspirational speeches and give help to other aspiring young talents looking to find their feet. What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to aspiring young models or actors/actresses?

Be patient and research your butt off! Get some training by credible professionals and make sure your portfolio is on point at all times. Depending on what type of model you want to become the research varies. (Fashion,Vixen,Glam,Print,Commercial,Editorial etc) But the most important thing it to do is KEEP GOD FIRST!

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

Normally I’ll have on some BEBE/BCBG jeans with my Michael Kors boot/sneakers and cute designer shirt and DVF/LV speedy/clutch purse.

Have you any favourite shops or online stores?

I’m really not a “fav shop” type person. I’m more of the ” I don’t want nobody wearing it” type so I go anywhere even a thrift store when I’m looking for something to wear.

imageWhat’s next on your clothes/shoes wishlist?

Actually right now I don’t have my eyes on anything in particular. Just shopping and looking for pieces. When I see it I know instantly I want it!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots and shoes! Why can’t I have both? When I want to be cute I need my Girly Gianni Bini flats or Tory Burch. If  I’m feeling like taking on the world I like to be comfy and I’m not a sneaker head so boots are my choice.

Any links you wish to share?

You can follow me on twitter: @vcbarbie; on instagram: @valenciachristina and like my facebook page: Valencia Christina XOXOOXOXO

For All serious Business Matters Contact Gate City Management www.gatecitymanagement.com 678-249-3467

It has been a real pleasure chatting to you  and I wish you continued success in the years ahead.  I’m sure readers of this blog will keep an eye out for you on the silver screen and in the glossy mags …. :)

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos have been published with kind permission from Valencia Christina.

 

An Interview With Booticamp Babes

March 28th, 2014

Now is the time to get our bodies in bootilicious shape for the beach and the pool and apart from the inevitable chocolate blip at Easter ( and if you’re a mum, this Sunday too!) we have a few weeks to make an impression – the weather is warming up so let’s warm up our bodies too!  If you’re bored with the diet and exercise DVDs or you need an incentive to get going, why not go for some action that is fun, exciting and motivating? What about a boot camp run by women for women? – it’s a great way to achieve rapid fat loss, tone up and feel great!  Tonight I’m chatting to the beautiful Sarah who launched Booticamp Babes in July 2012. Hi Sarah …image

Hi! My name is Sarah Whitehead, I’m 35 and I have been a qualified nurse for 14 years and specialising in aesthetics for the last 10 years. I am MD of a fitness company called Booticamp Babes and have just launched my brand new Aesthetics Clinic called SW Aesthetics offering globally award winning products, treatments and procedures to help you look and feel your best, with the name you can trust.  I’ve been with my husband since I was 18 and we have 3 children.

Where did you get the inspiration from to start Booticamp Babes?

I was overweight through most of my childhood and pubescent years, so I have never been skinny. I put on nearly 5 stone during my pregnancy and tried every diet with short term success, it was the same old story I lost weight then gained it again. I then started attending a local bootcamp, started clean eating and exercising 3-4 times a week and the pounds fell off. When the opportunity arose to start my own bootcamp, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands as I knew I could add value to the programme and put a unique spin on it. I can relate to every woman that comes through the door as I know what it feels like to be miserable, overweight and unfit.

imageThe Booticamp Babes have an unique “Real Women Real Results” plan- so what is this plan and how does it provide a real alternative to traditional “bootcamps” and mundane workouts in the gym?

We follow a clean eating plan, no wheat, dairy, sugar,caffeine or alcohol. It’s not easy to start with but when the girls start to see the results it spurs them on to keep good habits and even if they fall off the wagon they get back on it easily. We offer constant support motivation and send out weekly recipes, meal plans, tips and advice, ranging from choosing a good sports bra to how exercise can spice up their love lives.We also have a lot of fun and ensure that no one is left out or made to feel uncomfortable. We offer our class’s to any women over 16, any shape, size or fitness ability. My nursing background ensures that I can also offer medical and nutritional advice. With being an aesthetic nurse I can also discuss and consult on what treatments and procedures can help my ladies look and feel their best. At the gym you start off with good intentions but there’s no one there to keep you motivated, so you lose interest quite quickly, we have a secret Booticamp Babes members Facebook page to keep everyone motivated and up to date with the latest news,recipes etc…. There are absolutely no cliques and everyone supports one another which is truly fantastic.

imageSo what do you enjoy most about instructing at Booticamp Babes?  Have you a favourite exercise?

Instructing gives me a real buzz, some nights I’m tired but as soon as I start shouting and hollering and having fun banter with the girls my mood is instantly lifted – it’s kind of a natural anti depressant that’s totally free of side effects. My personal favourite is a Burpee as it works your whole body.

What exercises or aspects of Booticamp Babes seem to be the most popular with your clients?

The girls like to work on their abs, as it’s a place where all women struggle with reducing especially if you’ve had children.

imageWhat exercise(s) seem to yield most results? What seems to be the least popular – or gets the most groans when you suggest it? ( I hate push ups personally!)

Most popular is anything ab related, for reasons above, Least popular are either one leg squat thrusts as they burn your legs or Burpees as they require effort and leave you breathless if performed correctly. However it’s our press ups that leave our girls with fabulous toned arms- they are so proud when they finally do a press up on their feet as opposed to their knees- it gives the girls a real sense of satisfaction and achievement.

Must admit I’ve now managed to do press ups properly but I still like to cheat occasionally and use my knees! 

imageYou have some famous supporters eg Sky Sports presenter Clare Tomlinson. What famous lady would you love to see strutting through your doors?

I would love Jennifer Lopez to come strutting through my doors, but would equally be as happy with someone like Chantelle Houghton, Lauren Goodyer as to me they are real women with realistic curves- women hate to feel intimidated by a body shapes that requires complete and utter daily dedication to maintain. However just by exercising and clean eating they are all realistic shapes and sizes and are happy with the way they look.

imageHave you had any funny moments that you can tell us about whilst boot camping?

The funniest moments are always the partner sessions – every Valentines Day we invite women’s partners to attend the session with them, the men think we just gossip at Booti but they are hit with the stark reality at these sessions. There is nothing more satisfying and funny as seeing the women whoop their partners ass into gear with the men dripping with sweat and not being able to walk the next day.

imageBooticamp Babes are currently in Derby, Belper, Ripley and Long Eaton. Have you any expansion plans?

We would love to expand in the future and have got interest from around the country and even international interest – I’m off to India in October for discussions on franchising and teaming it up with a well-being clinic. Hopefully it will be the blueprint to launch in other parts of the world.

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

When I’m not in my workout gear I love to be immaculately dressed, so I like classic tailored clothes. When I’m in my aesthetics clinic I like to look professional so fitted dresses and heels are the norm.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love Zara, my daughter works there so I’m lucky to get the best pick of the outfits first. For professional outfits you can’t beat House of Fraser.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

Mulberry Handbag

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes- as I’m quite short, I like to wear heels

Links you would like to share:

Check out www.booticampbabes.co.uk to find out more about us and my new website www.sw-aesthetics.co.uk, to find out about the latest aesthetic treatments and procedures to help you look and feel amazing.

Thank you for taking time to chat to me Sarah… I hope the predictions of a long hot summer in the UK this year will get us all in the mood to get fit and toned….

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos have been published with kind permission from Booticamp Babes.

An Interview With Gate City Management

March 21st, 2014

This week I’m truly honoured to chat with the suave, family-orientated and musically talented Chris from Gate City Management.  Hailing from Atlanta, the “Gate City”,  Chris grew up with a love for the entertainment business and by the time he left  high school he was proficiently playing 5 instruments.  But that’s not all… fashion is also in his heart.  So, without further ado, let’s welcome the man himself… hi Chris, a big warm welcome to the blog..image

Hello my name is Chris Waymon, CEO of Gate City Management. I am a musician, businessman, a father, a husband, and a friend.
Where did you get inspiration from to start Gate City Management?
I was once an artist myself. Growing up and learning the entertainment industry, I saw and experienced what it takes to be a successful artist through artist development such as, vocal lessons, stage presence, dance lessons, interview techniques, styling, branding plus many more. Longevity is what we are striving for through artist development. This is why the artists I grew up on were so successful. This is what a lot of artists now are truly missing and they are wondering why they are one hit wonders. So I created Gate City Management to help bring this concept back.
imageYou have experience as a producer, production manager, and event organiser as well as a big love for music. So what “hat” do you tend to favour the most?
My favorite hat will always be music. It has always been an outlet when I needed to express myself. Over time I have evolved to be a producer/ production manager, and event coordinator but each one was still for a musical project.

Gate City Management only seek those who have worked a minimum of 3 years in their chosen genre of the entertainment industry, and currently working full time in that said career.  You are not a firm for those seeking to ‘get discovered’. However for those new to the entertainment business you do offer workshops, conferences and career consulting.  What seems to be the most popular type of service you offer amongst your clients?
We are also looking for the next superstar, whether it’s a model, actor, or artist. How the entertainment industry used to work is the record label used to pay for artist development, but since most artists are looking to go the independent route they miss out on the artist development phase. Being the “Starving Artist” many can’t afford or understand artist development. So as of now our most successful service is being a producer/ production manager.
imageYou were born & raised in Atlanta so it’s hardly surprising you have a love for the entertainment business. In fact, Gate City Management is named after Atlanta’s nickname back in the 1800s, Gate City.  Was it difficult to pick a name for your company or was it just an obvious choice? 
It was kind of hard, because I love my city and the history of Atlanta so of course I had to do my research to find a way to show my two loves music and Atlanta. The problem I had was finding a way to represent Atlanta and still connect with others, because overall I want it to be a universal household name.
You went to Georgia State University and majored in music;as well as when you were in Middle School you formed a group which emulated The Fugees; so what career did you dream of having when you was studying?
Growing up I idealised Sean “Diddy” Combs as a successful businessman in the entertainment industry. I planned to be an artist, and afterwards have a record label. So once I stopped being an artist I could focus on my own entertainment company almost like Bad Boy.
imageI’m impressed that you can play 5 instruments including the iconic sax! What’s your favourite instrument to play?  What sort of music genre do you enjoy listening to?
My instrument was the sax even though I learned the bassoon, trumpet, baritone, and drums I still appreciated where it started from which was the sax. As far as the type of music I enjoyed, I like jazz & blues with a appreciation of the instruments and if it was R&B and Hip Hop, it’s lyrical content. 

Are there any new services you hope to introduce in 2014?  

I have one of my consulting managers that wants to do sports management so we have been discussing it but as of right now not at the moment.  We have enough on our plate. 

You have worked with talent in the past such as Jermaine Dupri, Nivea, Young Bloodz, Bone Crusher…. is there anybody (alive or dead) you would love to work with if you had the chance?  Who would make you totally awestruck?

If I was still an artist, I would love to work with Andre “3000” & Kanye West. I would also like to work Jay Z  from a business aspect of the entertainment industry. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
 A lot of people don’t know but I have a background in fashion. I am slowly working on three different clothing lines but that is further down the line. So I like to consider myself being fashion forward. My favorite brands are Akoo, Polo, and Gucci. As far as shoes are concerned, I’m a sneaker-head and collect shoes but I only like Air Force Ones and Retro Jordans, and Gucci and Prada dress shoes.
 
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Being that I’m 6 ft tall I don’t have many shops that cater to my height, so my stylist gets most of my clothes from different places. I’m  just not sure where from.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I’m looking to work with upcoming designers to help build their line as a brand ambassador, so if there are any designers reading this, please contact so we can talk. I’m looking for something different.
Boots or Shoes?
Both it depends on what I’m wearing that day jeans or a suit.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and Gate City Management.

It was so nice chatting to you Chris and I wish Gate City Management all the best in 2014 and beyond. Don’t forget, my designer friends, to get in touch with Chris …

As always, join our Facebook group Boots Shoes et Al, for daily shoe pics, shoe bargains, and lots more …just press the button! Whilst you’re pressing buttons, press the subscriber button and be one of the first to receive my new blog post each week… I look forward to hearing from you :)

Linda x

 

Photo Credits: Photos have been published with kind permission from Chris Whymon and Gate City Management. 

 

An Interview With Alex Proud

March 14th, 2014

Tonight I’m really proud to be interviewing the man about town, Camden Town that is, Alex Proud.   I can’t remember exactly when I first became aware of Alex – it was either through watching one of my favourite TV programmes, Channel 4’s Four Rooms, where Alex is one of the regular dealers; reading one of his highly entertaining articles for the Telegraph Men section ( I know I’m not male but I love Alex’s writing style and wit and quite often I agree with his sentiments);  or, hearing about his fab entertainment venues – BUT most recently I discovered that he had a love for Jeffery West shoes, a love shared by most of the men that I’ve interviewed as well as by my darling husband too.  So, without further ado, let’s meet the man himself….hi Alex, welcome to the blog:image

Hi! Alex Proud, pleased to meet you.

Although you are a nightclub & gallery owner & dealer & TV dealer & journalist, you studied politics at the University of York.  Do you still have a love for politics?  Is being a politician next on your impressive career list or is writing a regular column for Telegraph Men a sort of “political” outlet for you?

Yes I still love Politics, I used to be Charles Kennedy’s advisor, and I still actively engage with the Liberal party. Also, I am the Vice Chairman of the local business improvement district and I’m heavily involved in Camden politics. But yes, sometimes I do see this column as an outlet for my political passions.

You started your dealer career by selling Japanese art and eventually moved on to Rolls Royces.  Were you driven to selling items that personally appealed to you or because these items were in demand?  What made you opt for Rolls Royces?

I hate to destroy any romantic imagery, but I did what I did to make a living. Ha! But I do love British cars – I currently drive an Aston Martin and I love Jags – the new advert is fantastic; it is good to be bad!

imageYour fabulous famous photography gallery, Proud Central, was opened in 1998 and has become one of the world’s foremost private photographic galleries.  What inspired you to open such a gallery?

A series of coincidences led me to put on Dennis Morris’ Sex Pistols exhibition and when I saw the reaction it garnered, I quickly developed a passion/love affair that has endured since.

imageThe photography shown in your galleries focus on popular culture, encompassing rock & roll, fashion, sporting moments etc.  What sort of photography do you like to look at? Have you a favourite print?

Somewhat like the referee of a football game, it would be undiplomatic of me to express my personal favourites. I enjoy all good photography.

In 1999 you set the publishing company, Vision On, with well known photographer, Ian Rankin. I am a great admirer of the work of Ian Rankin, so I am well impressed! Do you do any photography yourself, as a hobby?

Yes. I’m a keen Instagram-er if that counts? But I have to admit I’m pretty dreadful.

imageIn 2006 you opened the stunning 700 capacity bar & music venue Proud Camden, which was soon followed by Proud Cabaret, the burlesque restaurant within Proud Camden; and Proud Brighton. What’s the most memorable gig held at Proud Camden? 

Most memorable gig would be the launch of the first Proud Bar, when The Libertines played…

imageBeing a bit of a party animal, having co hosted parties with people as diverse as Paul McCartney and Hugh Heffner,  you probably are not easily starstruck … so any great party anecdotes?

I’ve got hundreds of great party anecdotes. You will have to take me out for dinner and get me drunk to get them. Sounds good to me… ;) 

imageYour close ties with Mencap has led you to put together club nights in an effort to change people’s attitudes towards people with learning disabilities.  What inspired you to help in this way?

I dislike the way the British are obsessed with puppies and kittens and donkeys and we seem to ignore human beings with far more desperate needs. Mencap and people with learning difficulties are a wonderful way for all of us to put a little bit back into society. I only wish I, and many of us did do more.

You appear on Channel 4’s Four Rooms – I love that programme – so do you enjoy the TV experience?  What item would you say was your best deal as a result of the TV programme?

It’s great fun, albeit long-winded and tiring and I don’t deal well with the early starts that are necessary in the television industry. The best deal I’ve done as a result of the show is still purchasing the world’s first passport which I’m holding onto, but which I believe to be worth much more than I paid for it.

imageYour wife, Danielle, is an interior designer, Creative Director of your Proud establishments  and in her previous job, Head Designer at Biba,  so she obviously has taste too for certain items – do you share a similar taste for objects?  Have you ever done a deal and brought home or to the gallery an object which didn’t quite meet her approval?

Danielle and I don’t have very similar tastes but we respect each other enough to manage to live with each other’s differences. Yes, I regularly bring home things that don’t meet her approval and ditto the other way around. It tends to mean that things disappear. Like some sort of dictatorship when things randomly disappear in the middle of the night.

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

I normally wear Jeffery West shoes and Gresham Blake suits.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love ASOS, because I hate walking into shops. Again, Jeffrey West shoes, I have them handmade bespoke for my feet and I have blue croc skin, brown with flames up the side…

I like Mr Porter for the odd treat.

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

A new tailor that Holly introduced me to – he’s going to make me a suit. He’s called David Brooke.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots. Always. I just think that Chelsea Boots are cooler. And preferably with Cuban Heels to make me a bit taller.

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

Twitter: @AlexanderProud

Instagram: alexproud55

Proud: www.proud.co.uk

 

Wow, thanks for a great interview Alex!  If any readers are in London, pop into the Proud Chelsea gallery and view the fab photographic exhibition currently on show until May 4th 2014 charting the career of legendary Formula One driver Ayrton Senna – as 2014 is the 30th anniversary of Senna’s debut as well as being the 20th anniversary of his death.  Entry is free.

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photographs have been published with kind permission from Proud Publishing Limited 

An Interview With Mel Boteri

March 7th, 2014

I’m talking bags again this week, although this time I’m chatting to Melanie, the gorgeous person behind the luxury handbag company, Mel Boteri.  Not only has she designed fantastic bags to die for, but she has written a bag guide providing an unique and exciting inside look into the fab world of handbags.  So, a big warm welcome to the blog Melanie:image

Hi! My name is Melanie Mueller, and I am the Founder and Creative Director of Mel Boteri.  My mission is to inspire women to discover their unique style and to express it confidently through luxury, one-of-a-kind custom and bespoke accessories.  

What inspired you start up your business? 

Shopping frustrations are what ultimately inspired me to start Mel Boteri.  There have been countless times where I envision something precisely as I want it – a dress, a piece of jewelry, a handbag – whatever it might be, and it would either be impossible to find the right size or the style simply did not exist. I felt stuck in the world of mass-produced fashion and wanted to make a change. Luckily these frustrations hit their peak while I was studying to get my Masters in Business Administration, so I was able to lay down the groundwork for my business during my last semester of school.

imageWhen choosing designs/styles/colours for your bags, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, fashion trends, your own tastes/needs or bits of all those?  

I believe keeping up with current fashion trends is part of my job so that I can intelligently consult with my clients.  However, I do not believe each trend is appropriate for every individual.  It is all about incorporating the elements that work for you, your body, and your unique personality and style.  That being said, when designing my bags it is a bit of everything you listed – trends, client requests, my own taste – that directs the look and style of the finished bag.

You launched your brand in 2009, how did you come up with your brand name, Mel Boteri? 

The name came to me over a few glasses of wine with my parents.  As a first generation American (my mother is Colombian and my father German), it was important for me to incorporate my family heritage into the name.  Mel therefore stems from the German name my father gave me, Melanie, and Boteri stems from my mother’s maiden name, Botero. Oddly enough, soon after starting my business I discovered that my maternal grandmother also designed bags, which she hand-knitted for family, friends and neighbors in her small town of Calarca, Colombia. I guess I was destined to have this fabulous job.

To date, what has been your most popular bag ordered from your repertoire?

That is difficult to say since the majority of my orders are customized to the particular needs of each client, but most recently I have noticed the ‘Blake’ style to be quite popular.  I believe it is the perfectly-sized everyday bag, holding all of your essentials without looking or feeling too bulky.

imageI love your handbags, especially from your latest collection the cobalt blue “Sayde”shoulder bag with its gorgeous turquoise suede lining. What gave you the idea to line in suede?

Mel Boteri has evolved quite a bit from its inception until now, but one thing that has never faltered is the dedication to quality.  To me, suede was the most luxurious lining option against the fine Italian exterior leathers.  Lambskin lining is used in our new line of exotics, but the turquoise (my favorite color) is signature across the board.

imageOut of all the items on your website,what is or has been your favourite?

My favorite would have to be the ‘Boteri’ tote.  This was the second handbag I ever designed (the first being the ‘Mel’ hobo), and so it is the most representative of my personal style.  

Mel Boteri has partnered with luxury brands including Mercedes-Benz and Hideoki Bespoke to create both co-branded and private label accessories for a discerning and selective clientele.  If you had the chance to design a handbag for any famous lady in the world (living or dead) who would you like to see flaunting your handbag? 

Hands down Jennifer Lopez (I hope she sees this)!!  Even before Jennifer became as popular as she is today with all of her music, movies, and especially American Idol, I have always looked to her as a style icon.  She is the epitome of a confident woman, who knows how to take a trend and make it her own to flaunt her best assets.  I would LOVE to see what kind of handbag she would customize!!

imageAll your handbags on your website can be customised with a choice of leathers and hardware. What has been the strangest or most memorable bespoke handbag request you’ve received?

The most unique handbag I have created to date was a patchwork version of the ‘Cynthia’ tote.  I love a good challenge, so it was also one of the most exciting ones to bring to life.  

You’ve written the first of many bag guides planned, “7 Secrets of Handbag Shopping”, created to provide an inside look into the fab world of handbags.  With secrets including how to learn to select a handbag that will best flaunt your body, what are the most popular handbag mistakes you feel that ladies make?

To me, the most prevalent mistake women make is carrying a handbag simply because it is the current “It Bag” or because all of her girlfriends are coveting the same style.  A handbag, just like any other piece of fashion, should be personal and a representation of your unique style.  Bag Servant, one of my favorite sites for scoping out what’s new in the world of handbags, has a fabulous tool where you can shop by personality.  A “Vintage Queen”, for example, should not be carrying the same handbag style as the “Boardroom Perfectionist.” Once woman make this switch and begin to discover their personal style, they will look and feel much more confident.

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

I have a saying, “when all else fails, wear black and accessorize,” and with my hectic schedule, I often find myself doing just that!! Depending on the day, my shoes will either be part of the “all black” of my look or more of an “accessory” in leopard-print or a pop of color.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

I cannot get enough of Net-A-Porter.com.  They literally have something for every fashion mood that comes my way – classic, trendy, sporty, girly, you name it and you can find a beautiful version of it on Net-A-Porter.com!!

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

I am a huge fan of Tamara Mellon, not only for what she created with Jimmy Choo, but more so for her innovative approach to business and the fashion industry specifically.  I am dying to get my hands on few of her #BuyNowWearNow shoes and clothing.  

Boots or Shoes?

It really depends on the season. During fall and winter, you won’t see me in anything other than boots, and in warmer months my go-to are strappy, platform wedges.

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

Sure!! Readers can follow me and Mel Boteri on the following sites:

Website – www.MelBoteri.com

Download “The Bag Guide” -http://shop.melboteri.com/pages/7secrets

Facebook – www.facebook.com/melboteri

Twitter – www.twitter.com/melboteri

Instagram – www.instagram.com/melboteri

Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/melboteri

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+MelBoteri

It has been great chatting to you Melanie – your bags are fantastic and I’m a big fan already.  I’m sure you’ve inspired a lot of my blog readers to check out your wares too!

Linda x

Photo Credits: Photos have been published with kind permission of Mel Boteri

An Interview With Isla Rule

February 28th, 2014

imageLadies, what do you look for when picking a bag?  For me, I look for spaciousness, sturdiness and it has to be stylish.  It needs to be big enough to perhaps carry a change of shoes, pack of baby wipes, make up bag ….and if it can house a technical gadget or perhaps a bottle of wine then I’m happy …and if each item had a compartment pocket so that I could locate my keys without tipping out the contents of my bag …well that would be heaven.  If that sounds good to you too, then you’ll love my interview tonight with the lovely Gisela of the bag company Isla Rule …plus she has a fab competition for you to enter to design your own bag.  First though, let’s welcome to the blog Gisela… Hi, Gisela!

Hi! My name is Gisela Rule. I’m the Marketing Director of an international company by day and an artist by night.

imageWhat inspired you start up your business?

My job requires a lot of international and local travel. Finding the perfect all-purpose handbag became the bane of my life. I either had to lug around several bags to cope with all the items I would need in a  day (change of shoes, cashmere wrap, 3 types of technology, make up and all the other handbag essentials) or I would compromise and hurl everything into one tote, only to spend the entire day fishing through the contents of my bag in search of a nail file/umbrella/mint/book. I shared my frustrations with my husband and he suggested that we have a go at designing our own range of luxury laptop handbags. And the rest is history!

imageWhen choosing designs/styles/colours for both your bags and your pashminas, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, fashion trends, your own tastes/needs or bits of all those?

I love classic timeless pieces, particularly when  it comes to bags. That’s why I design bags that will become wardrobe staples. Unlike most designers, I start with the interior of the bag. My philosophy is that you should love what’s inside.

imageI love the secret double compartment in the Hannah bag – ideal for housing baby wipes, flat shoes etc.  What did you envisage the use of the secret compartment when you first designed the bag – what would you store in the compartment?

I use mine to carry a change of shoes. I often find myself running through airports (ballerina flats are the best footwear for that!) and I then change into my heels en route to my meetings.

imageTo date, what has been your most popular item ordered from your repertoire?

Our flagship bag, the Hannah, has been a winner.

A bonus for handbag lovers is that every gorgeous bag ordered includes a free Isla Rule umbrella and a crystal nail file – 2 handbag essentials,how brilliant! Spill the beans, who came up with that idea for those particular items?

In discussing our initial designs with friends and family, these two items consistently came up as handbag essentials. In keeping with our philosophy of loving what’s inside, we wanted to surprise our customers with something extra when they buy one of our bags – hence these practical gifts with purchase.

imageOut of all the items on your website,what is or has been your favourite?

The red patent Hannah, definitely.

You offer 14 colour choices of pashminas – all gorgeous – although I am drawn to the bright Biscay Blue and Harvest Pumpkin. Have you a favourite colour?

I think I gave it away already, it’s bright red.

imageI am pleased to note that your pashminas are made from cashmere in a small family run factory in Nepal and not mass produced in large factories in China/Mongolia.  How important was it to you that your company adhered to fairtrade principles?

Very, very important. I would never want to build a business on the suffering of others.

imageAt the moment you offer bags, tablet and eReader folio cases, and pashminas.  Any plans to extend your range?

Yes, we’re working on several new designs at the moment.

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

Classic dresses and jackets are my go-to look.

imageDo you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I am addicted to the Polyvore app.

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

There is a Teal Rag & Bone blazer I have my eye on at the moment.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots for winter; shoes in summer.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Isla Rule.
www.islarule.com

Thanks so much for chatting to me tonight Gisela and I wish Isla Rule continuing success.  

Linda x

Don’t forget to enter Isla Rule’s fabulous competition!  Go on… release your imagination and design the ultimate dream bag….


image image

Photo Credits: All photographs have been published with kind permission from Isla Rule.

An Interview With Feel Fab! Look Fabulous!

February 21st, 2014

As I type this blogpost the sun is streaming through the window and after weeks of seemingly endless rain, this February sunny morning I’m feeling really good and full of the joys of Spring!  How appropriate that this week’s interview is also about feeling fab –  I’m chatting to Rose, co-founder of Feel Fab! Look Fabulous! a beauty and well being events company.  Hi and welcome to the blog Rose…20140221-150535.jpg

Hi I’m Rose Holden and I’m co- founder of Feel Fab! Look Fabulous! I’ve just read an article in the Sunday paper and I guess I am best described as a Mumpreneur as I’m a proud working mum of two teenagers, Nick 14 and Kitty 16. Having been in the corporate world of Brewing for over 35 years, I opted for redundancy two years ago and decided to start my own business which would allow me more time and flexibility to spend with the children in their important final school years.

Where did you get inspiration from to start a beauty & well-being events company?

Two years ago I decided to take on a matchmaking franchise and found advertising a minefield. I had confidence in my ability but didn’t know how to reach the right audience. Being a new starter I was easy prey to the relentless touter of advertising space, genuine and sadly some scams. I also became a distributor for Forever Living, which has a fantastic range of Aloe and Bee Pollen products. I found these often helped my clients with improvement in their inner well-being and outward appearance. Sitting down one day over a cup of coffee, with a fellow networker, a style and life coach, we found we had a similar client database and the same aim which was to help improve our clients’ overall wellbeing. We had had the same advertising nightmares and hit and miss success at local trade fairs. And so we came up with the idea of running our own event, where we could market our individual businesses to our target audience. Deciding the name was the hardest part! And so Feel Fab! Look Fabulous! was born.

Have you always been in the beauty/wellbeing industry or more the events side of things?

My background was brewing and I worked in many divisions: sales, marketing, finance, but never actually brewed a pint! I had always been involved in project planning to some degree and latterly my role in facilities and contract management meant dealing with suppliers and event profitability at our in house conference centre and hotel.

You take a prestigious setting, add local sole traders or small businesses, stir in some retail therapy, sprinkle in some mini treatments, & mix in the general public – so what sort of venues or event seems to be most popular at the moment?

The events we held last year were in a luxurious 4 star hotel and a Golf and Country club, both in prestigious surroundings. We find that people like to come out and make an evening of it, with family and friends or as individuals where they can socialise, take time out for a drink or a coffee in between waiting for treatments or a spot of retail therapy. We discovered early on that people love mini treatments, head and shoulder massages, holistic therapies and manicures are always in demand, so we are increasing the number of these. People love to shop and we seek out good quality, unique products. Handbags and jewellery are firm favourites and we couldn’t hold an event without a chocolate and cake retailer present. This year so far we have a real mix of events planned. The Octagon Shopping centre in Burton for a Saturday daytime and evenings at Trent Lock Golf Club, Hilton House Hotel, Trent College and 107 Station Street, Burton.

20140221-150527.jpgHave you had any memorable events you can tell us about? Any funny moments?

We had to laugh when we discovered that we had arranged our first event on Comic Relief night! It didn’t seem to put people off though and many said they were glad to escape the television for a few hours, all though it was on in the bar just in case.

How do businesses benefit from booking at your events? You usually run a charity raffle too. Who has benefited so far?

Firstly, the host location is important. We work in partnership with businesses that, apart from meeting our criteria of style and ambiance, also wants to enhance their public awareness and increase footfall with repeat business. The host will often offer a free meal or spa day, for example, as a raffle prize. Our ‘showcasers’, as we like to call them, are often local sole traders or small businesses who are looking for a low cost method of marketing themselves to the general public. They don’t usually have a high street presence unless they are working independently in a shared shop or office. We give them a platform to ‘showcase’ their products and services, gaining experience and confidence along the way. We are on hand to offer advice and tips too.

 We normally let the host decide on the charity. We ask each business showcasing to provide a raffle prize, a product or service which is an opportunity for follow on or repeat business. The charity takes the prizes and runs the raffle on the night so that everyone wins. We have so far raised money for St Giles Hospice and Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness. The charities that will benefit this year are the YMCA and Breast Cancer. We are also helping the purchase of a defibrillator for a local golf club and school charities.

What mini treatment or “service” is your absolute favourite when visiting an event, either as a host or customer?

That’s a tricky one. I personally adore a shoulder or head massage but a foot massage wins every time.

You can also arrange corporate events – what type of business benefits from your event?

We like to work with companies who value their employees or customers and would like to reward them in a unique way. What better way to say thank you than with a beauty treatment or therapy and time out for themselves. We offer half days or evenings which can be incorporated in away days for example. We try to use local traders too who may get repeat business afterwards. We work within our client’s budget parameters to deliver a memorable event from which everyone leaves feeling and looking fabulous!

You also have a monthly networking group – Not Just Networking – set up for individuals & small businesses operating mainly in the beauty/health/wellbeing industry and apart from networking you offer support, education, personal & business growth. What do you believe are the main advantages of belonging to such a group? What do you enjoy most about belonging to a network group?

Phew! That’s a lot of questions. I am passionate about networking and am in several clubs. I love meeting people and discovering how I can help them as an individual. It’s a bit like being a matchmaker, where you spot that two people have things in common and together they would make a good couple! Networking isn’t just about you selling your product or service, it’s about getting to know someone, building trust and being able to recommend them to someone you know who needs them. You can only really do this by being part of a regular group. If you have a group of like-minded people with similar goals then it’s a great recipe for success.

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

At this time of year I’m always in boots and have few shoes. I love jeggings and thick tights and long jumpers or knitted dresses. I only wear a dress for a formal occasion and then I like to really dress up. In the summer I’ll go for A-line dresses and flip flops. I don’t like my legs so shorts are a no no.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I’ve probably bought most from Fat Face and Phase Eight in the past. I prefer the whole shopping experience and day out to on line shopping.

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

I’m determined to find a pair of comfy shoes that preferably have a bit of a heel. I had a toe operation some years ago and find it really difficult to find shoes to fit. Hence why I wear boots and flip flops!

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

People can find out more about what we have going on at our website www.feelfabevents.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @Feelfabevents or like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/FeelFabLookFabulous

Thank you very much for a FAB interview and I’m sure my readers will be looking out for your events in the future…

Linda x

Photo Credits: Photos published with kind permission of Look Fab! Feel Fabulous!

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