I like to think that I was pretty cool as a one year old (I have photographic evidence of me with a pixie crop sporting red t-bar shoes and reading a newspaper (although I’d like to think it was Vogue) which I failed to find just now because of the fact that I still haven’t really unpacked since moving in the summer. I’ll post it as soon as I do though…) but I wasn’t quite cool enough that anyone wanted to throw me a champagne and cupcake birthday reception…
Chic&Seek, on the other hand, is one of those special one year olds that aren’t just reading Vogue, but being featured in it.
Founded by Tara Nash-King, Chic&Seek is a high-end wardrobe recyling company specialising in designer goods, in pristine condition, and at fantastic prices. So you’ve saved for months for a bag that you’ve used twice and gone off? Instead of archiving or binning it, why not recycling it, make some money and then spend it on some other piece of eye-candy that you’re now obsessed with? Perfect!
With the thought of all of my impulse purchases in mind, I popped along to Chic&Seek HQ last Tuesday to catch up with Tara, eat birthday cake, and find out how Chic&Seek came about.
TSA: Before starting Chic&Seek, you came from a fashion background. How did you originally get into fashion and what drew you to the industry?
Tara: After uni I did some work for a small fashion accessories company, mainly handbags, which I loved and I remained there for a year. It was great because I saw how a small business was run and got experience of sales, marketing, PR, accounts etc. Then I moved to Anya Hindmarch to manage the production of the “Be A Bag” range, I did that for two years and then on to the wholesale team. Working in sales gave me commercial business experience and the opportunity to meet buyers and work in a show room, which has been invaluable for what I am doing now.
TSA: What was the inspiration behind Chic&Seek?
Tara: When I was working in production at Anya Hindmarch I saw that there were a lot of raw material which went unused. These still held value, but it was difficult to know how to find buyers for them. I started thinking about a website called wastenotwantnot.com but this was a huge concept and would need lots of investment and more people than just me to start. I spend the next 4 years thinking of business ideas until I hit upon the idea of a website specializing in luxury women’s wear and that is when Chic&Seek was born.
TSA: What has been the biggest obstacle that you’ve faced with Chic&Seek?
Tara: I think the biggest obstacle is knowing what to invest your money in. It is difficult with a small business to know what to prioritise in order for it to grow. Should it be staff, marketing or PR? I guess it’s trial and error, with balancing the taking of risks, with being caustious.
TSA: What has been your most satisfying achievement with the business?
Tara: I am a huge fan of Daily Candy, so when they featured Chic&Seek a week after it launched it was a dream come true. It has had a huge impact on the business and I am very grateful for that.
TSA: Have you ever come across anything that you kept for yourself as you couldn’t bear to part with it?
Tara: Oh yes! I have bought quite a few things from Chic&Seek. Mostly I am quite disciplined and see it as stock and cash flow. However, there are a few instances where I have sold things and felt heart broken afterwards. I still think about an amazing pair YSL platforms that were my size, I totally should have kept those!
TSA: You’ve also branched out into charity work with Chic & Seek and started the Chic & Seek Trust. How did this come about?
Tara: Fundraising for charity has always been important to me and I wanted to incorporate it into my business. It kind of happened a lot faster than I expected. I met Lesley Pimm from Charities Aid Foundation and set up the Chic&Seek Trust. I did my first event last month to raise money for St Marys Hospital Paddington.
TSA: What advice can you give to other budding fashion entrepreneurs
Tara: If you have a passion and a feeling about starting a business then do it! It will take over your whole life, so you have to believe in what you do. Listen to the advice and opinions of others and remain flexible in your thinking.
And with those pearls of knowledge firmly noted, why not have a peep at what else the fairy godmother of Chic&Seek has to offer…
So shiny, high and perfect… Erm Santa? I know I stopped believing in you when I was three, but I’m willing to give you one more chance.
I’m not sure I can cope with this much glamour on a Tuesday…
And lastly, the trusty cake shot!! These were lightest Red Velvet cupcakes in the world. Mine made it as far as the end of the street before meeting its demise.