‘You can do anything you put your mind to’ is something that has been drummed into me since year zero. I’m 21 years old now and graduating from University is fast approaching. It has finally occurred to me that I ought to be slightly more mature about what I put my mind to.
I started a company 3 weeks ago; although it was a project I had unknowingly been working on for over a year.
Azalea London is founded on everything I hope online retailers are – honest, efficient, friendly and one that offers free delivery! The online store offers a collection of contemporary bracelets all made by hand, using the finest leather. The designs are urban and unfussy. I would describe them as being a modern version of the traditional rope bracelets and the silver clasps add a modern, sleeker edge.
The leather is sourced from Bilbao, a city in the north of Spain. I chose this material because of its unique appeal – the fact that no two pieces are identical was important to me. I felt like it added to the charm of the hand-made dimension of the bracelets.
I study Spanish as part of my degree, so I spent all of last year living in Madrid for my year abroad. I truly adjusted to the laid back style of Spanish life and actually had time to relax and think. Many sunny afternoons were spent on roof top terraces and in Retiro park sketching out designs and plans for a future website.
Once my eleven months in Madrid were over, I returned home, to England and immediately began working on a collection and setting up a website. I got in touch with a contact in Bilbao and had a large quantity of leather shipped over. This contact, Roberto, always makes me smile. We have exchanged many conversations, one of which I spoke in what only can be described as perfect Spanish (in my opinion). I asked if I could get a discount, as I am student trying to set up a business with minimal funds. His replies are always in English, “We all students once. I begun own company too, it is difficult times but manage it with positivity”.
Despite not being ready to launch in time for Christmas of last year, I stayed true to Roberto’s advice and remained positive. I persevered juggling university, a part-time job and working on Azalea London. I needed everything to be absolutely perfect before it went live. That moment came three weeks ago. I have been absolutely thrilled with the feedback and the amount of orders that have already flown in, despite the minimal advertisement. My friends and family have helped tremendously. My routine before bed now involves checking how many hits I have had on the website, the figures have increased at a rate even better than expected!
Once the tiny issue of my final exams and dissertation are out of the way, I have huge plans for Azalea London. Expect to see new product lines added to the existing collection this summer. I will finally have time to return to the drawing board and craft lots of brand new pieces. The social media platforms will become more interactive, with an exciting Tumblr blog due to be launched very soon. I also plan to take videos and photographs to illustrate the story behind each distinctive bracelet, providing customers with a unique view of my work. But it won’t just be about jewellery; music videos, competitions and London based reviews will also become big features. So make sure you follow and keep up to date with all things Azalea London.
BY: Ayesha Ghafoor