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The year of 2014 represents something different to everyone; in China it is the year of the horse, for sports fans it is the year of the World Cup, and for those crazy about gadgets it is the year of the iPhone 6. At SHERENE MELINDA 2014 represents a year of transformation, from the beginnings of a design concept to an established brand with various styles and many satisfied customers. Looking back at 2014 has shown us the scale of this work and we would like to invite you to take a journey through our year, share in our elation, and celebrate the arrival of 2015. We have also created a short video clip that brings out some of our highlights.
Planting the seed
Every great thing starts with an idea, and before we could develop our website and open our shop up to customers, we needed to put this idea in to practice. With the concept of creating distinctive handbags that were both stylish and functional, our owner and designer Sherene began her journey in 2013. She attended shows in London and Europe, met with industry experts, completed a few courses and started the process of sourcing potential suppliers in order to help her develop her skills to turn her idea into reality. This involved countless hours of drawing, cutting, gluing and stitching. It was her strong work ethic and ambition to succeed that lead to the creation of the first ever SHERENE MELINDA style, the leather tote bag. Her idea had been brought to life, and we began looking forward towards the next step.
The seed had been planted and the flower began to bloom, spring marked the arrival of our website. Building a website takes a significant amount of thought, planning, care and time, pages must be created, images and words added and lots of testing done before it can go live.
Alongside the website came the launch of our first 3 styles; the leather crossbody bag, the leather clutch bag, and the leather tote bag. Each added to the online shop along with photos and words to demonstrate just how beautiful each handbag is.
We also began the development of our social media presence by setting up Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. We have found these platforms great for communicating with our customers and helping to spread the word about what’s going on. After the website had gone live and the social media was in place, we eagerly awaited the first customer to arrive. Luckily we weren’t waiting long for our first customer, who picked up a beautiful leather clutch bag with black springbok hair-on-hide and steel grey leather.
The flower was now in full bloom as SHERENE MELINDA became a hub of exciting activity and development. Spring marked the online launch of our brand and summer marked the offline launch; on the 17th May we opened our stall at The Spirit of Summer Fair in Olympia London. Our week at The Spirit of Summer Fair was the first time members of the public could interact with us in person and feel the quality of our handbags for themselves. The success of our stall lead us to even more exciting prospects in August after we were fortunate enough to be invited to exhibit at The Spirit of Christmas Fair.
Summer represented a season of creativity and design. We spontaneously spent a day out taking some beautiful photos of our model Annika wearing our handbags. Finding a magnificent ray of light in a half built house lead to some of the most stunning photos we’ve ever taken. It was during this sunny period that we were also inspired to continue developing our range of styles here at SHERENE MELINDA. With this in mind, Sherene once again reached for her notebook and began working on our 4th style, the Haupt Bag. Designed with the intention of being our most versatile handbag, the Haupt Bag includes two detachable straps that makes it perfect for a variety of occasions. With the plans finalised, the sample made, and colours picked; the Haupt Bag went in to production and was ready for an autumn release.
We ended the summer with a much overdue clinking of glasses and the excited chatter of a small gathering of people to celebrate the launch of SHERENE MELINDA. In this moment it was time to relax, appreciate our hard work, and get ready for the next season.
The goal was to release the Haupt Bag at the Spirit of Christmas Fair which was due to take place in November. During October we set out to create a buzz and develop some excitement in anticipation for the release of the Haupt Bag. In order to achieve this we focused on communicating with our audience and giving them a behind the scene insight in to our latest style. We let them have a little sneak peek in to the manufacturing process of the Haupt Bag and demonstrated the many great features of our newest handbag.
In a final attempt to drum up some excitement about our latest bag, we decided to host a competition. Beginning in the week preceding The Spirit of Christmas Fair and concluding on the last day of the show, we ran a competition to win one of our latest handbags. All the potential winner had to do was answer the question; ‘what is the name of our latest style?’
Following many hours of promoting our Haupt Bag and setting up our stall GH57, we were finally ready to begin The Spirit of Christmas Fair on the 4th November. The show lasted 6 days, all of which were spent on our feet, but it was well worth it as we got to experience the positive reaction to our newest style and to our previous styles as well. It was at this fair that Sherene first released Her Story. We also received special attention and sales from both celebrities and the press alike.
After the show finished we had the pleasure of announcing the lucky winner of one our Haupt Bags. She was a wonderful lady named Reelika who chose a red Haupt Bag, as red is her favourite colour and she felt it would match almost everything in her wardrobe.
With the excitement of autumn drawing to a close, there was yet one surprise left in store. SHERENE MELINDA was offered an advert in the Christmas edition of the Mail on Sunday, this was an achievement for us as it demonstrated that our brand was gaining an increasing level of recognition.
Winter is generally considered to be a rather gloomy period, however the shorter days and chilling temperatures didn’t affect our mood at SHERENE MELINDA as there was just too much to be excited about. On December 9th, we were overjoyed to announce that our designer profile had been featured in the January 2015 edition of British Vogue. To receive recognition of our brand by a global fashion authority such as Vogue was the icing on the cake to what had already been a fantastic year with numerous highlights.
With the success of 2014 behind us, it was time for Sherene to let her hair down and celebrate, there couldn't have been a more ideal place to do this than at the British Fashion Awards 2014. The awards inspired us to keep striving to develop our brand, they reminded us that we are in the prime location for starting a fashion brand, and they demonstrated to us that what we had achieved so far meant we were heading in the right direction.
2014 has been a great year for SHERENE MELINDA; having grown the seed of our brand into a blooming flower. We could not have done it without the support of friends and loved ones, the support of our wonderful customers, and the help given by various other people who with their knowledge and skill have helped to establish the brand into a solid basis with which to grow in 2015. It is with this support and the ambition to achieve that we head in to the new year, with a feeling of excitement and anticipation for what the future holds.
Thank you for your support and Happy New Year!