To tell you more about Secret Garden Co, I have an exclusive interview with the founder - 21-year-old Nicki Silvanus.
Me: Can you explain what Secret Garden Co is?
Nicki: Secret Garden Co is the exclusive lifestyle brand that specialises in statement fashion, jewellery and homeware pieces for women. We bring to our customers the most eclectic mix of cuts, colours, styles, must-have trends, vintage, shapes and designs for the perfect wardrobe upgrade!
Me: When was Secret Garden Co founded?
Nicki: We launched on the 1st of November this year but, previous to that, I decided I wanted to start my own fashion brand at the beginning of 2012. From a young age, I always wanted a 'glamorous' job - I was desperate for something more creative and fulfilling so this felt like the perfect solution!
Me: Where did the idea behind Secret Garden Co come from?
Nicki: The idea for Secret Garden came from what I call 'Wardrobe Moodswings'. We all get those days when you wake up and you only want to only wear black, or maybe you might be feeling the bohemian or the grungy vibe - or just want to throw on a girly dress! We don’t just want to appeal to one "genre" of women because we all vary and our style is always changing and evolving so we want to accommodate for that. We recognise that no matter what mood we are in, we women always want to look our best and be unique. For me, it's all about the statement pieces.
Me: What is your professional background?
Nicki: I studied Business and Economics, ICT and Textiles for my A Levels. At the time I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but looking back it really all just clicked into place. I started working for Miss Selfridge when I was 17 and then progressed onto Topshop and Topman. I never thought I would work in retail after leaving Topshop... Funny how things change! But it was a brilliant experience to see the different job roles that go into making a fashion brand work. Apart from that, I've had plenty of experience from a number of different jobs. I never really had a problem finding jobs, but my attention span is very limited and I just got bored of them! I learnt I needed a job where I could be inspired every day and not have a set routine - that would drive me crazy!
Me: Who, would you say, is Secret Garden Co's core customer?
The Secret Garden girl is fresh, innovative and not afraid to try new things. She is found in the supermarket, on the street corner, in a cocktail bar, in the park. She represents the UK street style where a new era of pop culture is starting. She wears fashion that is a true reflection of our culture, influences and lives. She represents self-expression.
Me: What current trends are Secret Garden Co loving?
Nicki: For Autumn/Winter, we definitely love the grunge look! It's probably due to all these rainy days. Brushed silver and gold is a great look - check out our Gold Spiked Ear Cuff. Burgundy is definitely this season's colour and leather is the material! Leather jackets, skirts, trousers, detailing, buttons! It's everywhere. We can't stop wearing the iconic Levi's cutoffs - vintage, coloured, cord, ombre or studded - we can't get enough! We have a limited edition range in at the moment. Wear them through the winter months with thick tights & boots.
Me: What is Secret Garden Co's long term goal?
Nicki: In the long term, we are looking to expand our ranges through to market stalls, boutiques and festivals. We want to be interactive and available for Secret Garden girls - keep your eyes peeled!
Me: And finally, what advice could Secret Garden Co give to young business entrepreneurs starting out in the fashion industry?
My advice would be to follow your dream - as corny as it sounds! And persistence is key; there are many highs and lows that come with any career but, if you are passionate about what you are working for, it makes the difficult times worth working for. Never stop learning and don't be afraid to ask for help!
Nicki is an inspiration; she handles both managerial and creative direction for the company and is constantly coming up with innovative ideas to drive the business forward. The company has a lot of very exciting projects coming up so it is an absolute pleasure to be working for them.
Secret Garden Co's products are available to buy and can be found online at: www.etsy.com/shop/SecretGardenCo. Here's a flavour for those products, showcased through their A/W 12 look-book photographs - featuring the very beautiful, musically-talented Shannon Saunders.
'Like' Secret Garden Co on Facebook - or follow them on Twitter @SecretGardenCo - to read my updates on their fashion and product news, as well as any exclusive discounts, competitions and giveaways.
(Note: the information and images in this post are courtesy of Nicki Silvanus and Secret Garden Co.)