By Shazia Saleem,

Fashion and Beauty on Female First

Fashion and Beauty on Female First

My boutique in London doesn’t open until 10:30 but I wake up around 7am.  Somehow, even without children or pets to look after, I seem to need three hours or more to get ready!

I stick the radio on first thing, I love to know what’s happening in the world, followed by a shower. Both my yoga and meditation teachers advised showering first to warm up the body and more importantly to keep the positive vibes generated after each practice. 

I check emails while I eat breakfast and prioritise my to do list for the day which can change as the week progresses.  Dressing is a pleasure, I wear my collection every day both as love it but also as a way to test the quality and research which designs could be missing from the collection.  My customers are interested to see how I style myself, I just turned 42 and love to show how much joy and fun there is in the collection and that sustainable is sexy for all ages.

My boutique is a retail, design and office space for me.  I feel so lucky that I can walk to work, which is quite rare in London.  First tasks at the boutique can include changing the outfits in the window, merchandising the rails and product display or buying fresh flowers.  I chat with my PR mentor either by phone or email selecting relevant media requests and also try to think of proactive ways to show that it’s cool to care about the planet and that sustainable fashion doesn’t mean compromising on your style.  Other boutiques also sell Pop London so I contact existing stockists and explore new ones that could be fabulous for us.  Selling to other boutiques gives us greater brand presence than we could generate alone.  When I have photoshoots in the schedule that adds a heap of work bringing outfits together, finding models and planning outdoor locations in our ever-changing weather.

I serve customers daily which is a real delight and this takes up most of my working day. Most fashion designers prefer to remain behind the scenes, however, I enjoy interacting with customers. It is such a magical feeling to see a happy customer leave with a design that I drew by hand, created the pattern for, selected the fabrics and buttons for, watched it be sewn and then steamed and hung on rails in the boutique. It’s an even greater high when women tell me that my designs are their favourite pieces of clothing!

I steal twenty minutes in the afternoon to hang out and have tea with a friend in a neighbouring beauty boutique.  We giggle, catch up, flick through Vogue if the latest issue just arrived and bounce ideas of how to improve our businesses.

Evenings are varied for me and include going to the opera, theatre or out for dinner but they always include another meditation for twenty minutes and finally reading my affirmations before I hit the pillow.