California Dreaming

As far as ‘Busman’s holidays’ go, my recent sojourn to LA served up a pretty balanced combination of work and pleasure.

For those who know me and in true ‘Nadia style’ I made sure that I maximised every minute of my 10 days, as well as every opportunity I had to enjoy the blue skies.

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Having spent the first part in Downtown LA showing our Nadia Minkoff London collection at the California Market Centre I spent the latter part visiting vineyards, driving along the coast, exploring desolate beaches, collecting moonstones ( for real) and finally back to LA for some much needed retail therapy.

My chosen ‘companion’ on this journey? The Richmond midi tote in yellow and I am happy to say it didn’t disappoint.

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Going to let the photos do the talking as they are SO good. A big thank you to Director of Photography Dennis Madden for these beautiful captures.

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My travel lowdown:

I flew out from London Gatwick  to LAX  with Norwegian Air on the brand new Dreamliner, can’t recommend enough! Return trip with luggage and x 2 meals from as little as £500

Stayed at the  Millenium Biltmore Hotel, in downtown LA. This hotel has seen more glamorous days the lobby is grand but alas the rooms are in need updating, still the location is great. Rooms start at  £150 per night.

Don’t leave downtown LA without trying Pitchoun Bakery, the raspberry croissants are as tasty as they are beautiful! You will be spoilt for choice

For some of the best handmade noodles you will ever try and an impressive selection of beers to boot visit Peking Tavern

Mexican with a twist at B.S.Taqueria, so bloody good, take me back today!

The Landsby boutique Hotel in Solvang, Scaandi interiors to die for, wanted to move in. Double rooms start at US$350 per night

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Fireside Inn on Moonstone Beach, if you are after spectacular ocean views, moonstone collecting and sea lion viewing, this is the perfect location… complete with your very own in room  fire place , Doubles start at US$ 200 per night

Rock n Fish restaurant, Manhattan Beach LA, for some regional food and super fresh fish dishes, beautifully served in this gorgeous seaside corner of LA

The Griffith Observatory, immerse yourself in La La Land, watch the stars, the Hollywood Hills, the view of LA, have a dance if you want!

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Running up that hill

Just a day left before the year is over and as I sit at my desk, reviewing 2015, the enormity of what we have done over the past 12 months is quite staggering. So much so that I am really not sure where to begin.

I guess I may as well start with the highlight of the year, which was winning the runner up Award for ‘Most Enterprising business’ from the Federation of Small Businesses.

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Being nominated was exciting enough, celebrating on the night with my motley crew was great, winning felt like having my cake and eating it.  Before the night ended, changes were heading our way that are now forming the backbone for an interesting and new journey that we at Nadia Minkoff London have already begun.  Recognition for fashion from the financial sector is never easy to get, nor one to be taken lightly and I am very proud and excited that we have been given the opportunity to work and be mentored by none other than Grant Thornton. Who said number crunching, spreadsheets and forecasts aren’t creative? They are, very much so!

We’re also up for the Dot London Award, in the ‘best lifestyle’ category. The awards will be held at the new Savoy Place, hosted by Katie Derham.  River views all round, entrepreneurs, dragons and investors, at the ready.

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Thank you to all those who voted for us, votes close on Jan 8th and if you still want to vote for us pls do so by following this link , find us in the ‘Independent lifestyle retailer’ category.

 Some of our other highlights for 2015 have been:

  • With the help of stylist Charlene Campbell we made the Christmas issue of OK magazine

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  • The lovely Aizak Buyondo styled our jewellery as only Aizak could and made our day

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  • Beautiful Opera star Aylin Perez wore our Shard necklace for her Grand Finale at the Dallas Opera house and Nancy Dell’olio stepped out for her West-End stage debut wearing one of our ‘one-off’ necklaces

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  • We have partied, yes- a lot of parties, too many to attend all but we did quite well!

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  • We’ve exhibited at Scoop London and INDX and opened new doors across the UK

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  • We have had so much support from the Blogging community across the globe, all of which can be found on our website. Thank you Bloggers, we love you!

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We’ve held events at Liberty London and have seen our designs become best sellers at some of the leading UK multiples who we supply

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But most of all, we have loved it all, even if we are forever running up that hill!

Wishing you all a successful, healthy, happy and especially peaceful 2016, from us all at Nadia Minkoff London.

 

 

 

New Year, new season, new workspace

Some 10 days before Christmas I decided (or should I say the impulsive side in me decided) to take the plunge and get the ground floor of my office building refurbished. I’ve been wanting to do so for ages but having never had luck with London builders, I kept putting it off.

So happens that this festive season I had a window of opportunity to get some work done when the office was closed, a 10 day break between Christmas and the New Year. On the other side of this break I knew I had a 4 week countdown to our first show of the season at London’s Scoop International. I also had a builder willing to work over the holidays who assured me the work would be completed and on time.  So I agreed, the day before Christmas Eve work commenced at 13:00, by the time I left the carpet downstairs had been taken out, as had the shelving units and cupboards, my office had morphed into a complete building site at the blink of an eye.  Next morning, Christmas Eve I was already wondering what I had let myself into with the realisation of what a big job it really was: a partition wall to take down, a floor to lift and then redo, doors to remove, windows to remove, a breakfast bar to build, a lot of painting work, shelving, re-wiring and all other ‘hidden’ pleasures that come out of the woodwork as soon as you strip the top layer.

No sooner was Boxing day over I spent my time tooing and frowing to the office, progress was on schedule but it still was a complete building site ,not to mention the state of our upstairs offices which had become a store room for the downstairs contents.

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The building work was completed on time, a day early in fact, when we returned to work on Jan 5th all was in order. And our new working space? Well it’s bright, comfortable, functional and as for the breakfast bar?  It now has a coffee machine- best thing if you ask me apart from the  fact that we are now eating too many biscuits and drinking too many coffees.

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Our new collection is inspired by our new space,  less than a week to go before the show begins, we’re on schedule!

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London Fashion Weeks ends with a real bang at the Bloggers Love event

Some of you may have seen my blog post way back in March  where I was almost a complete novice to the wonderful world of blogging and bloggers.

Well, we’ve come a long way since  and were hoping for a great turn out at the Bloggers Love event on Monday Sept 15th, the icing on the cake on what was already a busy London Fashion Week for us.

The event, held at the Penthouse in London’s Leicester Square was busy, bubbly, enjoyable, inspiring.. in fact it ticked all the boxes and more, so here are some quick snapshots of how our evening unfolded…

 

When you name is on the main board, and the view over London is that spectacular… you know you are in a good place 🙂

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Our corner is ready and the venue is already packed

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The catwalk is on, there are some bloggers with pretty impressive manicures and we have a visit from beautiful model and blogger Alisha White

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BL-modelAs well as the  beautiful and talented girls from new girl band Vanquish who give us ( well, our bags actually) the thumbs up ( and our very own Sheena joins them)

BL-VanquishFinally it is time for my two girls, Sawako and Sheena to wrap up, what a night!

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How we venture to pastures new

Globalisation of a brand is such a difficult thing when you run a small to medium size business. Apart from deciding on a clear strategy of where you want to be placed , the financial expenditure on pastures new is large, somewhat risky and certainly not to be taken lightly.

Working with agents in foreign lands is a great solution and over the years I have worked with many, in many countries. Some successful, some less, it was a good way of getting a ‘foot in the door’ so to speak and a great way to establish new markets with insider knowledge and without crippling expenditure.

Things have changed, being an agent used to be a great job, but alas these day… it’s tough and more often than not-without sufficient financial rewards . If you are a travelling sales person, fuel , hotel and food bills mount up quickly- you need to be taking a lot of firm order at a short period time to make the travelling pay off, easier said than done. If you work from a showroom it’s all about the brands you attract for your portfolio and of course it’s all about the triple ‘L’- Location, Location, Location- beautiful, central showrooms are hard to find and cost the earth.

In the UK it feels like agents and showrooms have all but disappeared-it used to be that at a Fashion trade fair such as London Fashion Week or the Paris pret, we were inundated with cold calls from agents looking to discuss our brand for their territory. These days, in our UK shows we hardly ever get approached by a single agent, where have they all gone?

But agents and agencies still exist, in some countries more than others and I genuinely believe that as long as you start off on an even footing, both parties looking to support the other with the objective to grow, albeit taking small measured steps- it’s a recipe for success.

I have been looking closely at Germany and Scandinavia as two new potential markets for Nadia Minkoff London, in fact I have been looking at these territories for just over 2 years ( yes- I am a slow mover).

Eventually I decided, my decision was to aim for Scandinavia to start off with and with that said.. I  got an offer  I couldn’t refuse from an agency in Germany- how the cookie crumbles!

Having signed the agency agreement and sent out our collection a couple of weeks ago this week is the first real ‘test’,  we’ve collaborated to show at the GDS fair in Dusseldorf. So far so good, everything got there, the stand was set, our lovely agent Annette is at the helm, making sure it all runs smoothly and looks the part!  It’s the last day of the show today, next week we shall be reviewing it together and plotting the next steps- exciting times.



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If you have something to say…. Blog about it!

This week I attended the Bloggers Love Fashion week, a true eye opener for me. The 3 day event took place on the 7th floor of The Penthouse, 1 Leicester Square, smack bang in the heart of London, with some pretty spectacular views over the square and beyond. I’ve never done an event like this so confess I was a complete novice but I was so impressed with the fellow exhibitors-  space was tight but they were so organised with their collection and promotional material. They had a variety of events going on, as for Nadia Minkoff London on the Monday we took part in the ‘Bloggers Boutique’ At 17:00 the doors opened and in came a flood of beautifully dressed bloggers, camera in hand and plenty of smiles. Snap, snap, chat chat and before I knew it the night was up. On Wed we took part in the Bloggers Tea Party, an opportunity to tell them all about us in detail and find out about their blogs. ..after which it’s all about checking to see what they had to say!  Most bloggers have a day job and blog at of passion in their spare time, a totally fresh and different perspective on fashion to that of the glossies, more personal, more raw, more current- I really loved it.

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Catwalk report #1: So, who was in the front row???

SO… who came to our catwalk and who sat in the front row then?? well, we certainly had a stylish crowd with some prestigious A list guests: Massimiliano Mazzanti General Consul of Italy in the UK, Maurice Mullen the Head of fashion and luxury goods of the Evening Standard, Thomas Heatherwick CBE, designer of the Olympic Cauldron and other spectacular creations (http://www.heatherwick.com/), conceptual artist and international Vogue favourite Pandemonia, socialite Nancy Dell’olio, glamour model Nicola McLean with footballer husband Tom Williams,  actors, stylists and lots and lots of lovely people! Yep, it was a good one!

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