Award-winning designer Bianca Elgar tells us how she has grown her British brand with a passion for creativity and luxury
Bianca, can you give a brief overview of your brand for anyone not familiar with Bianca Elgar?
Bianca Elgar is an award-winning capsule wardrobe collection which includes scarves, skirts and dresses along with tops and a soon to be launched collection of versatile statement jewellery. We have a passion for quality clothes and statement accessories that make wearers look and feel good.
Everything we design is inspired by the love for creativity, which shows in our prints – they are like wearable pieces of art. The collections are perfect for a business woman looking for that statement piece to finish a work outfit, and great for lovers of high quality, uniquely luxurious pieces.
How has your brand evolved from when you first launched?
From humble beginnings at my kitchen table as a print designer for interiors, via my studio garden shed, to being the scarf brand of choice for leading business women, my love and passion for quality and versatility remains.
My passion is for creating items of ‘wearable art’ that will not only look good and make you feel stylish, but will become part of a treasured capsule wardrobe. The brand has evolved with us now going into jewellery, but the ethos remains the same; good design, high quality, innovative, all made in Britain.
What is the best piece of business advice that you can give to others starting up their own British-made brand?
Mistakes are only an issue if you don’t learn from them.
In business, as in life, follow your heart and your gut instinct.
What has influenced the directions you have taken with the brand?
A love for creativity, quality fashion and life!
I love designing; from the concept, right through to the creation and presentation. I’m at my happiest when I’m creating.
I have developed the Bianca Elgar brand to allow me to share my passion with others; offering them the ability to create their own style and for that style to remain relevant and unique in the ever-changing fashion world. I would like my pieces to become heirlooms.
What value do you think being British-made gives to your customers?
My customers want a luxurious item and manufacturing in Britain gives them that.
Sometimes I find that people outside of the UK seem to value this more than consumers here, who often don’t appreciate the value as much as those overseas, for example in China.
How do you promote your brand?
I am a firm believer in collaborating with other brands with a similar ethos and style. In a very uncertain market it is necessary to promote that we are part of the “Made in Britain” brand, whenever we can. We use social media, and direct marketing to tell our story.
You exhibited at our Meet the Manufacturer event this year in the new Brand Hall. How did you find this experience?
I felt a sense of belonging, at home amongst people that speak the same Make it British language.
Right at the start of setting up my brand, I received a lot of help from Kate Hills (the founder of Make it British). She inspired me to manufacture my brand in Britain.
I have visited the MTM show over the last four years, it is a lovely way of keeping in touch with manufacturers and to build up good working relationships, which is one of the best things about manufacturing in the UK.
What are the benefits for a brand like yourself in exhibiting at a show like Meet the Manufacturer?
I feel that there are many benefits for a brand like ours.
Meet the Manufacturer puts our company, and what we create, face to face with customers, prospect and potential suppliers. The main reason for taking part was to generate awareness and ultimately, to make a sale.
There are a very many other opportunities that trade shows bring; we obtain customer feedback, meet the press, find partners and form strategic alliances, provide customer service, identify market trends and find that ideal ‘gap’ in the market!
What is next for your ever-growing brand?
Customers are contacting us directly following our award winning year after much positive press about us in the fashion media. We are so lucky that we have become established as an innovative brand and are now being bought directly by lovers of ‘wearable art’ and the businesswoman looking for that statement piece to set off any business outfit.
We’ll be launching a versatile statement jewellery collection soon. I cant say too much at the moment but it will include multipurpose pieces of jewellery to work with the wider collection. All made in Britain of course!