It’s easy to spot talent, but it’s rare to come across a woman with an acute business acumen to match. Meet British born, Meroe Bleasdille, the founder and director of luxury accessories brand, Adara Leigh of London. A dynamic and educated black woman, with her finger firmly on the pulse. I came across her gorgeous collection through a stylist friend of mine, who revealed that, Meroe was generating a real buzz in the fashion industry. Sceptical, I Googled her company – Adara means ‘the beautiful one’ in Swahili – and was deeply impressed. Ladies, this is the real deal. Think Brian Atwood, Jimmy Choo, or Sophia Webster – fashion lovers.
Finally we can buy into, African inspired pieces, designed in a daring, and contemporary manner, infused with signature elegance and sophistication, minus the stereotypical trash! Every single detail in her collection is made to precision, and it shows. My question is why are there so few young black designers, who can deliver on this level? Meroe launched her company, 3 years ago, after being inspired by London’s multiculturalism and architecture. Having undertaken training at the prestigious London College of Fashion and Prescott and Mackay, Meroe decided to use her expertise in business, to pioneer and start a high-end accessories brand – the first of it’s kind – to resonate with the fabulous lives of city women across the globe. So I could not help but make a phone call to find out more…
You had a great career before you launched Adara Leigh what made you start your own accessories line?
I have had an amazing career in Public Health for almost a decade. Women’s mental and physical health is close to my heart. But I have always wanted to pursue a career which would combine my love for people, fashion and business, and so in 2011 I launched Adara Leigh of London.
That’s risky…what motivated you to start your own brand?
I was really been inspired by day to day living in London, and the incredible locations I have traveled to across the globe. My experiences encouraged me to appreciate the world, my home and oversees. I knew I wanted to create a contemporary lifestyle brand that personifies modern life, heritage and culture.
What is the ethos behind the brand?
As a luxury brand we ensure each of our clients is pleased, whenever they open our beautiful purple shoe boxes. Customer service and customer satisfaction, are instrumental to our business. A lot of love and hard work goes into making our products distinctive, purely because we want our clients to feel special. Every single person who walks through our doors is given our VIP service.
What other pieces do you have in your collection?
Our current collection is called Duchess of Eden. It is resort 2014 consisting of high heels, clutch bags, belts, coin purses and printed silks. Our next collection will be launched, in March 2014 with a similar feeling.
How do you differ to other African inspired designers?
A lot of other brands get the majority of their influences from Africa alone. What makes our brand unique, is that we are inspired by contemporary fashion, and African prints. I think the modern black woman wants the flexibility of blending popular fashions, with their culture and heritage. We are pioneering this way of thinking, in our collections plus going one step further to give it a luxurious edge.
Why did you choose to use African prints in your collection?
I have loved African textiles for years, having acquired quite an impressive collection of cloths from around the world myself. Every print tells a beautiful story, and the vivid color palettes are glorious. Adara Leigh of London’s prints are exclusive to the brand. Some women find our prints exotic and other worldly but I find most of our clients, view them as modern and cutting edge. I think our pieces balance all of these descriptions, which is why they appeal to women from all walks of life.
Wonderfully feminine, shoes, belts, and handbags, in vivid colors
Who is the ideal woman for your shoes?
The Adara Leigh of London woman, exudes confidence and elegance. She knows who she is, values her heritage, and her core identity. Plus I’d say she loves the person she is today, and looks forward to becoming the woman she is destined to be.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Being happy, expanding the business and more importantly making a positive contribution to our community.
What do you enjoy doing aside from your business?
I love good food and laughing! So when I have downtime I like to spend it chilling with friends, family and loved ones.
What 3 fashion items would you advise women to invest in?
Every woman should have a fierce pair of heels and a dress that makes her feel sexy and feminine. And my third fashion item would have to be a smile. Smiling lights up a person’s face and never goes out of fashion.
What 5 tips would you give other women starting their own business?
- Network and surround yourself with likeminded people.
- Speak to those who have gone before you. Mentors have a wealth of experience and wisdom. You can learn a lot from other peoples’ journeys.
- Have a day job if you can while pursing business ventures. You still need to eat and most businesses require start-up capital.
- Be passionate about the business and not just the trappings you may acquire at your peak. Having a business has highs and lows and you’ve got to embrace the journey in its entirety.
- Be adaptable. You may have a vision, a business plan and all the forecasts going but you must be flexible and be able to react to the unexpected.
The Duchess of Eden collection can be ordered today online by clicking here www.adaraleigh.co.uk or by booking a personal appointment at their London studio, by calling +44 (0) 207 731 0379
Email all enquiries to: email@example.com
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Photo credits: Rudy Atwell and Sheradon Dublin
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