Today’s post is a little different. Here on the blog section of our site, we’re starting a series of interviews or features on female entrepreneurs or women in creative (or otherwise!) industries in order to highlight and chat to inspirational and successful women, and learn about them and their lives. We hope this contributes to our goal of building a community of like minded, happy, fun and successful individuals, and gives you your daily dose of inspiration.
We really can’t wait to start with this feature and have some exciting posts upcoming! We thought what better way to kick this off than with our very own founder, Charlotte of Charlotte London, and an introduction to the brand. We hope you love the series!
In your words, tell us a little bit about the brand, how did you found it, why ‘Charlotte London’, and what is your favourite part about running a fashion brand?
I started Charlotte London back in 2016. My career began in finance, and I was constantly looking for elegant, versatile and fun pieces to wear to work and otherwise. I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but started working on my concept in the evenings and on weekends, and eventually made the leap to working on the brand full time.
Charlotte London, to me, is all about Everyday London Elegance. I wanted to create a brand that made clothes for women that were easy to wear, functional and practical, but also elegant and different. I like to think of my products as ‘fresh twists on classics’. Of course, the name is a nod to my home city, London, a place of elegant and timeless style.
My favourite part about the brand is for sure creating clothing that makes women look and feel their best. I love hearing positive feedback on my designs, and continuing to further the collections and the range.
Can you tell us a little bit about your collections?
Absolutely. I think what makes my collections unique is I don’t follow any sort of fashion timeline. I have nothing against the fashion world whatsoever, but it was never my aim to be trend led. I like to create classic but modern pieces that are wearable and useful for all women.
My collections are very personal to me, and I base them around the cities I grew up in and the places that inspire me. I travel often and I get most of my inspiration and have my most creative moments when I am travelling or on the road. I like to feel the mood of a place and try and reflect that in my collections. The London collection, for example, is elegant and timeless, whereas the upcoming Hong Kong collection is more edgy, colourful and fun.
I also like to take feedback from my customers and really think about what they want when designing new pieces. It’s fun for me because it means I don’t feel like I am doing it all by myself. In a way I’m creating something with my community, as well as executing my own vision.
You mentioned you travel a lot. Where do you consider home? London or Hong Kong?
That’s a tough question. I was actually born in New York originally, grew up in London, and moved to Hong Kong after university because I love the city. I consider each city a part of me in a different way.
For New York, I love the energy, ambition and rawness of the city. London is more relaxed, but I love how beautiful it is, how well people dress, and of course all of my oldest friends are there so going there is always a very happy and fun experience for me. Hong Kong is crazy. I love the energy and the people and the positivity. It’s an incredible work environment and I feel very lucky that it is somewhere that I’ve gotten to live and experience over the past few years.
I hope that answers the question somewhat, I basically feel like they are all home to me. I’ve always grown up as an international person, so I don’t see a problem with that!
We’d love to know. What is your favourite coffee shop or restaurant in New York, London or Hong Kong?
This is a tough one! I have so many in each!
In Hong Kong, I love Cupping Room on Stanley Street for their breakfasts and coffees. I think my favourite restaurants are Chom Chom or Ho Lee Fook. They’ve been around forever but they’re always great. My favourite bars are probably Sevva or Cafe Grey for the views.
In London, I love the flat whites at L’Eto in Soho or on the Kings Road, and the salads at Otto Lenghi. I have such great memories at so many bars around London so it’s hard to choose a favourite, but as a visitor I’d probably hit up the Connaught Back Bar for cocktails, or Dukes Hotel for the martinis. They’re delicious but very strong!
In New York, I’m a huge sushi fan so I always frequent Blue Ribbon on arrival, or hit up the Burger Joint at the Parker Meridien for a US style burger. I have a weakness for super strong iced coffee so I’ll always hunt out the new and best coffee shop around. The restaurant scene is very dynamic in New York so I always like to see what’s new, but I do have a few old favourites.
What are the best, and worst, things about starting your own business?
The best thing is being able to do something creative everyday, and also being able to interface with my customers directly through social media etc. I handle my social media myself, and I love being able to talk to customers and see what they like, or don’t like, about the brand. I think that is an amazing thing about the world these days that social media has made all that possible, and I’m forever grateful for the community I get to build online on a daily basis.
The worst thing is probably not being able to turn off. I take my business wherever I go. In a way I don’t mind it as I love working on this and I would never stop, but sometimes I leave my phone at home and go to the gym or go for a hike just to have a bit of a break. I get my best ideas when I am on an airplane with no distractions, or walking around a foreign city and just letting myself relax.
What can we expect in the future from Charlotte London?
This is a really exciting question to me. Currently, I’m working on expanding the range. It’s been a tough decision for me whether to stick with jackets and specialise in one thing, but I do think I might like to try my hand at a few other product lines at some point.
That being said, I’m going to be very careful about my range expansion, the pieces I create have to suit the mood and tone of the brand, and be in line with my thinking about style and reflect what my customers want and like. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about where I want to take things, so watch this space for future (super exciting!) developments upcoming.
Lastly, what does style mean to you?
Style means feeling good in whatever you’re wearing. My style is pretty clean cut, and that’s what makes me feel great. Sometimes though I like to mix it up and wear something that’s completely not my style in the way other people might think of me, but it reflects how I’m feeling on the inside that day. Personal style shouldn’t be limited to trends or what’s in fashion, at bottom it’s a reflection of you, and a very personal way to allow you to express your best self.
And that’s it for now! Definitely let us know how you liked this format. We hope you enjoyed the post! Photography by the lovely Michelle Proctor