Beija London: Life is too short to be uncomfortable
Note: this blog has been updated for 2019 and the brand name updated from Beija Flor to Beija London
In my humble opinion I feel it's important to constantly keep inspired when you're building your own business and brand. One of the things I love most about #goingsolo is the opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs and start-ups who are doing things differently. So when our friend and fellow freelancer Sinead suggested I meet with the Beija London ladies I was really excited to hear their story.
Beija London was founded in 2016 by sisters Abbie & Mazie Gardner. Having grown up with parents in the lingerie trade, their family business Aura Lingerie has given them a unique insight into the world of underwear. With that heritage they were able to draw on over 30 years' of experience allowing them to follow their passion and give girls the best quality lingerie without having to compromise on style or fit.
After checking out the girls' website I was REALLY excited by what I saw. Fresh designs made with great quality materials on realistic looking models. Their branding, tone of voice and styling was refreshing, current and relatable. Oh and they also offer a A-G cup, and any girl reading this who has some curves you will most definitely appreciate how difficult it is to find a beautiful looking bra that fits well and looks good under clothes. Enter Beija London as these #GirlBosses seem to have that covered.
Founder of Agent Provocateur Sarah Shotton was recently quoted as saying 'I don’t design underwear for men, I design underwear for me’, What's really refreshing to see with Beija London is a brand that has been solely created to empower women and make themselves feel good. In my opinion what women REALLY want is to wear beautiful underwear, or any clothes for that matter, that makes them look and feel good even if you're the only damn person who's going to see it!
With a down-to-earth attitude what these ladies have achieved in less than a year is remarkable. Have a read of their Q&A and find out how they are going to activate their grand plans for world domination. #GirlsDoneGood
How long have you been freelance/working for yourself #goingsolo?
A: We started work on Beija London in February 2015. I returned from a year living in Brazil, 8 months pregnant and ready and raring to start working. Doing this project with my sister made everything seem manageable and fun.
M: Yeah, we had a year of development before the website went live 10 months ago.
Describe what you do in five words... GO!
A: Design, make patterns, fits, fabrics and brainstorming.
M: Website, social media, collaboration, organisation.
What made you decide to take the plunge?
A: The timing was right. We always knew doing our own lingerie brand was in the pipeline. It is a strategic development in our parents business (Aura Lingerie - lingerie manufacturing and supply for other brands) and Mazie and I were able to make it a reality.
M: The more people we talked to about doing our brand the more people were like - just bloody go and do it! I was desperate to take the plunge, I couldn't wait. At my previous job at a small-ish menswear brand I assisted on on all aspects of the business which allowed me to try a bit of everything. Once I thought I had learnt all I possibly could it was time to get started. Without that experience though I definitely wouldn't have had the confidence or a clue for that matter to start my own business.
What's the best bit about being your own boss?
M: It's nice to make our own creative choices that are based on a vision Abbie and I have created.
What’s the biggest pain in the arse?
A: Never not thinking about work.
M: Yeah same as Abbie! Doing your own thing makes it hard to switch off I'm always distracted and thinking about Beija London at all hours!
What's the grand plan/big idea?
A: So much, top secret though and always changing!
M: That pretty much means we don't know! We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, it seems to be working. The aim is to be an awesome online destination for lingerie, so we’re continually working towards that. Having a pop-up in Shoreditch (see below for pictures) was so much fun and it did incredibly well for us, so we’re fast planning the next and are crossing our fingers for a shop in Soho in the lead up to Christmas. The grand plan is of course worldwide domination but lets not run before we can walk!
What's the best bit of advice you could give someone about to #gosolo?
A: Celebrate achievements.
M: Meet the people behind the emails. It costs loads in coffee but sometimes the advice you get is worth its weight in gold.
Where do you get your inspiration from? (person, place, action)
A: The nice fabric I get to work with.
M: I always feel like we're supposed to say "midnight beach walks" or something like that but that really isn't the case. Beija London's beauty is its simplicity and the dreamy fabric. We take inspiration from what we and our friends want and need in a brand and then throw in a bit of our own personal style. Abbie's style is a bit wackier than mine so it's a good balance.
If we could give you one thing right now (not a wad of cash) that would help your business out the most, what would it be?
A: A billboard on the Westway please!
M: Yeah that would be nice! We haven’t tested having a big celeb in our undies. You don't happen to know any do you?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing - discuss.
A: It’s helpful but not important to dwell on. Yes, review what works and what doesn’t but be able to move on quickly and go with what feels right at the time.
M: Nothing worse than feeling cringy is there, argh when you get flashbacks! I just zap it out of my brain, move on and learn from my mistakes.
What's your favourite quote to live/work by?
M: If I had a pound for how often Abbie says that I’d be rich! Be humble and put love into everything you do.
So having read all of that I should hope you're inspired to visit and purchase some gorgeous new underwear from the Beija London website if only to parade around your house feeling good about yourself. Exactly what i'm doing right at this second.... #JUSTHOWIROLL