COVID Business Diaries: For The Love Of Pearls
2020 rocked the business world.
Some businesses did incredibly well (cough, cough, Jeff Bezos)… and some businesses hit the rocks (Topshop, it’s been great knowing you).
In this series, I’m going to dive into what our hardy Hampshire women have made of the pandemic – the ups and the downs.
First up is the beautiful Sadaf. Thanks to the wonderful world of Instagram, Sadaf and I started chatting in mid-2020.
We clicked instantly over posts we’d shared around equality and #BLM. Sadaf had just started to share her bespoke wedding garment designs (at the time, mostly bejewelled, pearl-encrusted denim jackets) and I was hooked on this cultured, artistic and incredibly sweet powerhouse.
In the grips of negotiating my own Covid wedding, I totally bought into For The Love of Pearls’ brand story. Started in the spare room of a young woman whose wedding has been somewhat p*ssed on by Covid. I loved it.
The decadent jackets Sadaf was hand embellishing were the perfect ‘wedding-treat’ and antidote to what had been a stressful few months.
What I found impressive about For The Love of Pearls is that, whilst it capitalises on the negatives surrounding #CovidBrides, it does so in a way that’s not ostentatious, gluttonous or reminiscent of fast-fashion. For The Love of Pearls echoes an earlier time, where keepsakes were kept. Where boxes of pearls and pearls of wisdom were passed down and treasured.
The ethos behind the woman and the brand is a metaphor for some of the realisations we’ve all had over the last year.
It’s the people and the memories that count.
Tell us about For The Love of Pearls, we’ve heard the idea came about during Lockdown 1.0?
Yes! So, I had made myself a denim jacket with “wifey to be” on the back and I was planning to wear it to my hen do. My friends and family were so impressed and kept pushing me to make more jackets to sell, but I was so busy wedding planning and working full time, I never had the opportunity to do so.
………In April 2020, my fiance and I made the difficult decision to postpone our wedding. Like so many others, shortly after that, I was put on furlough. Anyone that knows me knows I cannot relax and just do nothing. I always have to keep myself busy. So, I decided to invest my time into making more jackets, but honestly, I never even imagined For The Love Of Pearls growing this quickly.
………I designed my logo, purchased the website domain, set up the Instagram page, sent stickers and other details to print, all in one day! I thought to myself if I sit down and think about this in more detail, I will find a reason not to do it, so I just did it!
Did you ever see yourself as an entrepreneur? What was your career trajectory before becoming a designer?
No, I really never saw myself as an entrepreneur, not one bit! I’m actually not a risk-taker at all if I’m completely honest. Starting this business was a risk that I took to keep myself busy. The best risk I have ever taken!
……..When I officially started For The Love of Pearls, I was on furlough. Before that, I was working as an architect for a small boutique architectural firm in Winchester. I returned to my full-time position after a few months and carried on with For The Love Of Pearls on the side.
How have your personal plans changed due to Covid? (i.e your big wedding!)
We were due to get married in June 2020 which didn’t go ahead due to the restrictions, we then postponed to April 2021 (not thinking Covid would still be around) and unfortunately, we have had to postpone again to 2022.
………As someone who enjoys planning and has perfected every tiny detail of our big wedding, there was no way we couldn’t do it as we intended.
What have been your biggest lessons as a new business owner?
My biggest lesson has been trying to keep up with the speed the business has grown, whilst maintaining my full-time job.
………At times it has been a little struggle to balance life, For The Love Of Pearls and my architectural career, but I feel like I’ve come to a stage now that I’m learning to balance everything and divide up my time.
What can we expect to see from you in 2021?
I have been so busy working on lots of new designs and collections. We have the Nazar Collection which will be going live on the website soon, we have lots more bridal pieces and embroidered jackets coming out soon.
………I will be doing more personalised embroidered designs, these will include my love for graphic design and embroidery so really looking forward to doing more of these.
………I’m also so excited for our conscious and sustainable collection, I’ve been working on this idea for a few months now and hoping to launch it in spring!
For more inspirational stories of local women in business, head straight to the Girlboss column
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