All that is good (and bad) about Pure London

Its not only another milestone for our fledgling brands but a great honour to be stood next to some of the most respective fashion brands in the business. For all of you that haven’t heard of or ever experienced Pure London, its probably the best fashion event for the trade buyers currently in the UK. The other trade shows such as Moda or the Spring Fair may disagree but we wanted to launch our wholesale collections at the right show to suit us and so we chose Pure London.
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Now I have previously attended the event as a buyer but have never exhibited and blimey….how different the 2 sides are!
The show itself is extremely well organised and you can spot ‘the old pro’s’ a mile away by the trolleys they cleverly bring to carry all of their equipment and the show ‘virgins’ by the red faces at having to carry everything by hand up and down the lift about 10 times!
Anyway, our stand wasn’t in the best location for what we really wanted to achieve but we were blessed by being next to some of the nicest and most genuine people in the business!
One of my old gripes with the fashion world has always been the lack of generosity and goodwill shown by so many who see personal success as a greater achievement than being creative or ethical in everything you do. Well some of my faith has been restored by our experience at Pure and in particular by meeting 3 companies who shared our space at Olympia.

The first is ‘Envy Jewellery’, a fabulous wholesale company selling the most stunning jewellery (and yes, we were so impressed by them, we have now launched them on our website). The 2 owners of the business are sisters and they could not have been more welcoming to us! They were obviously very experienced in setting up their stand as it took them almost a quarter of the time we did and they had a bigger stand! They made our time at the show more enjoyable by their humour and generosity of spirit so thanks to them, it is truly appreciated.
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The second company is ‘MissShorthair’, a wholesaler specialising in scarves and again, we were so impressed by them and their products that we are now also ranging their scarves on our website. These guys were amazing, they do all of the shows, one after another and they truly work it hard everyday.
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The last and by no means least is ‘Ollie&Nic’, a handbag and accessory company who have been established for over 10 years. One of the owners was not only generous with her time but also made me realise that maybe we are doing the right thing and that fortune does favour the brave so keep going!
So a massive massive thanks for making our 3 days not only enjoyable but also very rewarding.
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It was also a great opportunity to finally get to meet a huge number of our Twitter friends, sometimes it is brilliant to put a face to a twitter feed and finally meet all of the amazing people that you have been talking to, sharing with and laughing with for so long! Some of them were exhibiting and some even came to the show specifically to say ‘Hi’ to us so we couldn’t be more grateful for having amazing friends. #createnotcompete

And so why have I added ‘the bad bits’ into the title, well there were moments during the first day where I thought ‘what have we done’ and ‘why have we spent so much money’ simply because it is a very daunting experience to launch your new product in the midst of brands who have been doing it for years and hoping you are accepted! We did have a great show but if you asked me if we would do it again then I may have to wait before I gave you answer! Why, well I am not sure if I prefer attending the show as a buyer or an exhibitor yet although as an exhibitor you do get to ‘people watch’ a lot more and believe me…..the fashion pack are an amazing group to watch but I think I best leave it there….enough said!

Take care,

Nikki x

Posted in Communication, Fashion, From the management, Handbags | Leave a comment

Motivation

We spend a lot of time on social media reading inspirational quotes, motivational sayings and similar philosophical comment. Some of these sayings are great, they can really lift you up at just the right moment, others are trite at best but either way they are incredibly popular and show no signs of becoming less so. People really seem to want to share what they feel speaks to them, and after all, that’s what social media and web 2.0 is all about, right?

And that started me thinking. Where does my motivation come from? Who has said it best for me?

I came across this paragraph on the www.becauseimaddicted.net website recently, and I love it. Obviously, there are synergies for me and our business but that last sentence really sums it up for me. Just keep doing it. Don’t stop. Don’t give up and keep your focus. That’s incredible.

 

Thanks Clare.

“Don’t look around; just keep looking ahead. By that I mean it’s easy to get caught up with what everyone is doing around you. When I was thinking of starting my bag company, I’d think, ‘Well, so-and-so already has a bag company. And they do it better. And they do this and do that.’ But you can’t think that way. Just focus on what you’re doing, look forward, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.”—Clare Vivier, fashion designer

 

NikkiB x

 

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Clare Vivier

 

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First blog of the New Year – 10 things you didn’t know about me!

Happy New Year!

A great way to kick off the new year…this blog has been inspired by a great friend of Fred&Eve – Stevie Couch.
She writes the fab blog called ‘ A Cornish Mum’ and has asked other bloggers to list facts about themselves to help everyone get to know them better!
So here are mine…..

1. I am mildly obsessed with Forrest yoga!
After a back operation in my twenties, I had to find something that would challenge my fitness and flexibility and Forrest ticks all of those boxes and more!

2. My favourite food ever is Cheese….any type, hard, soft, blue…even stinky, I just love it!

3. I am a trained beauty therapist!
Whilst on maternity leave, I decided it would be the ideal time to try something new as obviously looking after a baby wasn’t challenging enough (ha ha), so took a course at the local college! Have never used it but can pluck a mean eyebrow!

4. This may not be such a shocker but I am very very obsessed with handbags! Having owned so many and realising that I could actually make a living doing what I loved, Fred&Eve was set up! I feel the luckiest person alive doing what I love and having new challenges every day!

5. My favourite place in the whole world is Cyprus! We have been going for the last 10 years and it never lets us down with not only the weather but also the people and the relaxed feel that everyone has there.

6. My creative inspirations are Stella McCartney and Emmanuelle Alt! Both ladies are at the top of their game and do it with an effortless style that I am simply in awe of !

7. My favourite book is Pride&Prejudice…I have now read it over 20 times and I see something new everytime!

8. I have 2 beautiful children and the most incredible husband who are my life!

9. I have a Blue Peter badge for a poem I wrote when I was 7 years old

10. My trip of a life time will be to drive down the west coast of America in a Winnebago

And so that’s mine, I am not sure if it gives you a clear idea of me but it may make you smile a little bit!

And now I pass the baton to you guys – over to you

@tattoochic89
@fortyfiedbeauty

Nikki x

Posted in Communication, From the management | 1 Comment

2014….over already?

Its that time of year again and doesn’t it come around too quickly?

2014 is nearly over and 2015 is 48 hours away…..but are you ready for it?
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For me, 2014 has been an absolutely exceptional year…we launched our own handbag labels and we have met some amazing people along the way, what more can I ask for ?

Well you know what, I can ask for lots more and certainly will do…..my dreams and wishes keep getting bigger and bigger with everyday and I hope that’s the same for all of you!
The end of a year and the start of a new is a great time to reflect, be grateful and dream for what is round the corner whether 2014 has been good or bad!

Our year here at Fred&Eve has been amazing and one that will never be forgotten!
Our 3 new ranges were launched and have so far exceeded our wildest dreams! We have met some amazing companies who share out vision and dreams and will hopefully be part of everything we do in the year ahead!

We have had our tough times too but the one thing that keeps this ‘engine’ going is our customers! Every sale, every comment, every review shows us that we are doing it right and our handbags are putting a smile on someone’s face!

And so to 2015, well what a year we have ahead of us, we are due to launch our wholesale range at Pure in February at Olympia so if you are in London then pop along to stand W4 and say hello!
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We are also hopefully going to break into the US which will be simply amazing as its a tough market so keep your fingers crossed for us!
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And we will of course be growing and developing our 3 fabulous ranges so you will have more beautiful handbags to choose from!
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The end of a year always causes people to reflect and be grateful but we here at F&E are truly truly grateful for all the support we have had from not only our customers, our friends in the handbag world but everyone we have met on Twitter and Facebook! You guys have left us speechless with your generosity and wish you even more success in 2015!
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And so HAPPY NEW YEAR…..we hope all of your dreams come true!
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See you in 2015!

Nikki x

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FORGET DIAMONDS: HANDBAGS ARE A MODERN GIRL’S BEST FRIEND AND PERFECT AS A GIFT

When it comes to gifts, forget diamonds, because handbags are a modern girl’s best friend.

Whether it’s for Christmas, birthday, Valentine’s Day or “just because”, what self-respecting girl would turn down a shiny new handbag?! We have created a brand of beautiful, high quality designer-inspired handbags that every girl will love. The designer look doesn’t have to mean designer price either as we really believe in style and quality at affordable prices.

With their great quality, workmanship, classic exterior style with a fun, colourful interior, all our handbags are perfect as a gift. For mum, daughter, girlfriend, wife, aunt or bestie, and don’t forget there are three distinct collections to choose from, providing a choice of beautiful handbags to suit every hand!

A self-confessed handbag addict and tired of buying beautiful but useless bags, I have developed my own system of selecting and designing handbags:

All of our handbags are appraised at design level using our own 26 point “handbag usability factors or HUFs. This ensures they are not just stylish, but also suitably useful and practical as well.

And all of our handbags are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside and feature colourful, contemporary, contrast linings to give each bag some extra pizazz!

So remember….a handbag really is a girl’s best friend and you can’t have too many of them!

FRED & EVE COLLECTIONS

· Fred&Eve – Classic, styllsh, quality. A range of high quality leather fashion handbags. This eponymous collection of timeless, stylish and functional designs is aimed at women who want contemporary style without being restricted by short-lived fashion trends. This range is for a woman who is self-confident, has her own style and prizes elegance and quality above everything.
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· SaintB – Fun, contemporary, stylish. A range of high quality faux leather handbags with an easy style, combining a laid-back joie de vivre with a clear statement about the individual. Stylish, practical and fashion aware, the SaintB girl knows what looks good on her, but is not easily seduced by fashion trends. She appreciates quality, style and value for money.
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· TrulyRocks – Young, edgy, budget conscious. Full of high street appeal with the uniqueness and desirability that comes from a new and exciting label. The TR girl sees things from a different angle. She’s full of life and she TRULY ROCKS! She has an eye on the fashion world and likes to stand out from the crowd.
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Take care, Nikki x

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Is it really Christmas again?

So the advents are open and the kids have started to get that simmering excitement that you know will simply grow as it gets closer to the day when the big fat jolly man arrives with his big sack! And how do you feel about it, how do you feel about the month where all of your money seems to evaporate even when you haven’t got your purse out? How do you feel about the fact that even though you have tried to reduce down your alcohol intake because its the right thing to do, you are given a valid reason everyday for a glass of fizz? And how do you feel that you are getting closer to the end of another year and another year older?

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Well let me tell you how I feel……EXCITED, really really excited! I love Christmas, I love the fact that people smile more, I love the fact that the children are so excited they almost burst, I love the fact that people get a chance to be with family and friends that they wouldn’t normally bother with or have time for! It all sounds sickly sweet but I love the fact that we have the chance to ‘reset’ our lives every year with the hope for the new year! We get to dream about the possibility of a better year ahead of us every twelve months without fail, and sometimes it really helps!
To be honest, the religious side is wasted on me but I do want my children to understand the religious relevance of Christmas and that giving presents isn’t just something that the Argos catalogue was invented for! The only sadness I now have is that my children are growing up and I am waiting nervously for the comment ‘but Father Christmas doesn’t exist, so and so told me at school’! I know its coming and its a natural part of growing up but as a parent, you really don’t want your kids to ever grow up really do you?

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So as the Christmas trees go up, the Christmas songs start to be played on the radio and the xfactor finalists vie for your attention so they can be the Christmas number 1, I realise that I haven’t bought one present, one card or even started to think about what I will be getting anyone! As I said, I do love Christmas but I wish I was more organised, I wish I was one of those people who started shopping back in the summer sales (you know who you are) but I’m not and so I depend very heavily on the internet and next day deliveries and crossing fingers and toes! Which is ironic considering I own an internet business but maybe I can use the ‘too busy at work’ excuse again when I forget to read my children Christmas lists before I go and buy them the wrong thing?

With all of this said, the weather is getting colder, the christmas food adverts are being shown more frequently and the weekend is nearing when we need to do our annual search for the Christmas decorations and the realisation that our tree lights still don’t work…or that just us? Christmas is coming so roll on the old sentimental films, the huge amounts of chocolate you try not to consume and roll on Christmas morning when you wake up feeling happy even if you have a slight hangover from the night before spent wrapping presents into the early hours of the morning and not realising that you were the only one drinking that bottle of wine! Roll on the scramble of the kids into your bedroom telling you that they did actually hear Santa’s sleigh bells honest and roll on the best day of the year!

So to all of you reading this and thinking baa humbug….I challenge you to not smile when you see the face of your child/loved one/mum when they open their present and realise that you were listening to them and got them that special something…I challenge you not to feel warm inside when your elderly relative thanks you for making the effort to come and see them and really meaning it and I challenge you not to sing along with Slade, even though you try hard not to!

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Nikki x

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5 minutes of Fame! Everyone should Youtube!

It has been an excellent week at FAE HQ, lots of things going on with our new brand launches and with Christmas around the corner, it certainly is fun in our office! And so when our Commercial Director suggested that we launch our own Youtube channel I not only choked on my coffee but asked him when he would expect this to happen! Anyway after he explained the reasons why it was a good idea and had poured me another coffee, I realised that it was not only a good idea but an essential tool for getting our customers to understand why we have the bags we have and why we think they are wonderful!

As a small online company, we simply do not have the large marketing and PR budgets that the larger retailers have and need to find other ways to show our customers our products and all of their amazing features. Online is a ‘must have’ for any retailer, big or small but where the larger retailers benefit is that they have a ‘bricks and clicks’ model so customers can touch and feel the products before they buy if they wish. The masters of this is John Lewis as they not only offer an amazing range of products but they have many routes to market so satisfying all of their customers requirements. Their website is one of the best out there and their stores are easy to shop with amazing customer service both online and in the stores!
As you can tell, I am a fan, in fact a huge fan because I think they ‘just get it right’ and I truly applaud excellence in companies who know who their customers are and never try to be something they are not (are you listening M&S)!
Anyway based on all of this ‘evidence’, I was persuaded and so we are now officially on Youtube, so check out these links to see me at my first attempts to explain the features of 2 of our signature styles!

Now I know you will be kind (I think) but I actually really enjoyed talking about our bags and really hope that came across. As an online business, other than dealing with customer delivery queries etc, you very rarely actually get to ‘sell’ the features and the wonderful details of the handbags! I love talking about them so this now to me is a must and a joy to do! I will get through all of our bags but I would be really interested in finding out what you guys think and if you think it adds some thing to your shopping experience?

I think that every small retailer needs to be more flexible, more daring and simply more imaginative if they are to stand up against the ‘big boys’ and the internet truly allows us to do that without breaking the bank!
And so, look out for future ‘clips’ as there will be more….unless the BBC discover me first!

Nikki x

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