life.

&WHAT | IKEA BOOTCAMP.

Welcome to Älmhult. A little place in Sweden put on the map by your favourite flatpack furniture – IKEA.

What brought me to this place you ask? The IKEA Bootcamp.

If you know me, you know I love start-ups. I am fascinated about the ideas and the founders that invest the greater part of their lives to build a company and drive growth for products or systems that have the ability to change the world.

The IKEA Bootcamp is doing exactly that. Over 1,500 start-ups from around the world applied to join the three-month programme.

Ten start-ups were selected with at varying stages of product development and company maturity. They picked up their teams and lives, moving to Älmhult, Sweden, where they live in a residence near IKEA headquarters for three months. It is here they are given access to a team of experts with the mission to grow their companies and build out their proposition ahead of DEMO DAY.

DEMO DAY is on 5th December 17 where all of these companies will pitch their propositions to the IKEA Senior Leadership teams and external VCs. This will give them the opportunity to be part of the IKEA offering and in stores worldwide.

I travelled to IKEA of Sweden to give the ten start-ups a workshop on how to build their Social Strategy – particularly where to focus their time and money with limited resources.

It was such an incredibly inspiring day learning about each of the start-ups’ journeys and pushing ourselves on how we can capture the essence of their brand on Social Media to achieve their objectives. Whether that be Brand Awareness or Sales, each requires a unique approach.

Post the workshop and before I had to catch the train back to Copenhagen I popped into the IKEA Museum (YES, there is such thing) for a whirlwind trip through the exhibits.

It took you through a history of the brand and the founder,  Ingvar Kamprad who started the company in 1943. Still remaining incredibly humble for being a billionaire and the 11th richest person in the world.

Some of my favourite quotes around the office were…

  • The fear of making mistakes is the root of bureaucracy and the enemy of development.
  • No method is more effective than a good example.
  • What is good for our customers is in the long-run good for us.
  • A prototype is worth a thousand meetings.
  • Ten minutes are not just one-sixth of your hourly pay; ten minutes is a piece of yourself. Divide yourself into ten units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activities. Most things still remain to be done.

 

The presence of the solid foundation of beliefs and principles that Kamprad has defined and built the IKEA brand on are very apparent through out the IKEA of Sweden offices. There are subtle reminders everywhere ensuring that all of the employees are aligned with and working towards the same values. It is this unity that has allowed the company to be so incredibly successful.

Definitely a culture that all companies in whatever sector should attempt to emulate. Only a few more weeks until Demo Day, best of luck to the teams!

-&what x

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&WHAT | BASQUIAT: #BoomForReal.

Basquiat. Pronounced ‘Basquia’ with a silent ‘t’. Had to ask the Barbican gallery operator for confirmation on that one.

I always tend to keep an eye out for the latest gallery openings and exhibits in London. Couldn’t wait for this one – got tickets for the second day it was open. Keen.

Needless to say, the excitement was worth it. Spent nearly three hours in the gallery reading pretty much every excerpt. Well done Barbican, it’s incredibly well curated.

Don’t want to give too much away, but here are a few of the things that I found absolutely fascinating about Basquiat and his career, which like most of the greats, ended too soon.

  • Getting noticed: Basquiat first achieved fame in the art world by working with his friend Al Diaz and spray painting graffiti on buildings in Lower Manhattan, working under the pseudonym SAMO© in 1976. He would tag things and put his art up in obscure places until people started recognising the ‘SAMO©’ name and trying to find out who was behind all of this. He kept his anonymity and played with the papers writing letters back and forth asSAMO©. As someone who works in marketing and is always looking for creative ways to get your brand/ message out there – this is certainly a successful way to bring about curiosity and intrigue.
  • The Scene: The whole gallery truly captured the scene of NYC at the time. There were polaroids and videos of The Mudd Club where Basquiat used to go, hanging with Madonna and the likes before they were discovered. Genuinely wish I could be transported back to that time. Imagine the creativity and inspiration of all of those people in one place. DREAM.
  • Andy Warhol: Basquiat’s friendship with Andy Warhol was a key part of the exhibit and of course part of Basquiat’s career. I had no idea the two artists were so collaborative and connected, living together and working from the same studio. Unlikely but incredible influence on each other.
  • Dedication, Talent and Risk: There was a final interview with Basquiat at the Beverly Hills Hotel. This piece really struck me. The risk he took at such a young age to follow his dream and passion is something not many people have the balls to do. It’s those people – the movers and the shakers – that push beyond the ordinary and mundane and create a world of their own. The ones that have the perfect mix of talent and dedication and passion which makes them adverse to risk. This is something that exists within all of us but it’s about allowing yourself to find that and nurture it when you do. If you don’t have a chance to go to the exhibit you can watch it here

Another lovely read on Basquiat, where his friends and lovers share memories of their times with him. Good Saturday afternoon read.

It’s on until 28th January 2018 at the Barbican. GO GO GO.

-&what x.

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&WHAT | KATHARINA GROSSE & THE NED.

Sunday 15th October 2017.

Nearly two weeks after miss Caitlin’s birthday. The past two weeks have been manic with weddings and celebrations so it was today that I planned a fancy day out for us.

It started in South London in Peckham, an area I had never explored – surprising after nearly seven years here. It is true, if you live North you rarely ever make it down South. With the sun beaming down we decided to give ourselves our own walking tour of the area. Nearly an hour later with blistered feet – somewhow still seemed like a good idea.

Our first stop on the birthday trip was The South London Gallery. An exhibit by Katharina Grosse was on at the gallery which is SICK. It ends on 3rd December so there is plenty of time to go.

Katharina Grosse is a German artist. She had an exhibit on in NYC at Fort Tildens that I really wanted to go to but never had the time to make it out there. Pics of it here – incredible. So happy her work finally made it to London.

The colours and scale of the piece were stunning and of course, not to mention, excellent for the gram.

Our day of activities didn’t stop there. We made our way back to the stomping ground and went to Millie’s at The Ned. They have a Sunday Feast where you have an hour and a half to eat all of the Oysters, Lobster, Roast (with all the trimmings), desserts and sweets your heart desires. We certainly did exactly that. Ok, rolling myself home now.

-&what x

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&WHAT | OLD TRUMAN BREWERY.

Sunday funday with my girl Z. It’s days like this that remind you there is so much to be discovered in this city.

We went for breakfast at TRADE in East. The pancakes are A+. Then spent the rest of the afternoon walking along Brick Lane, looking at old sunglasses and what not.

Stumbled on this graduate art fair in The Old Truman Brewery which is clearly a dream for the gram. Just the coolest.

-&what x

&WHAT | P A L M A.

2017 has been the year of Spain.

According to the Chinese calendar I believe it should be the year of the Snake, but not for me. I have been surrounded by the lovely people of Spain. In work, at home, in love, travel and life. Nothing to complain about really – Spanish people are the best.

In light of this revelation, when one of your new found close Spanish friends tells you to go to Palma – you book your tickets STAT. Right then and there.

Earlier this month, that is exactly what Nicole and I did. Off to Palma we went as our ‘Goodbye to Nicole’s London life’ trip. She had been studying here for a year and is now moving to NYC like an absolute boss lady, smashing it in her industry. We did have a glass or twelve of Prosecco all in the name of celebrations.

STAY:

  • We stayed at the Melia Palma Bay hotel, which was absolutely gorgeous and very well priced. They have an amazing roof top pool which overlooks the whole city centre. Perfect if you don’t fancy venturing out to the beach.

EAT: 

  • La Rosa: In the city centre, this is definitely a place loved by the locals. Pablo, a new Spanish friend in London told us about this place. We had such a warm welcome and lovely treatment from the owner who ended up having some Vermouth with us. Pretty much their whole bar is filled with that drink, a Palma favourite. The grilled octopus is drool worthy.
  • OMBU Tapas Bar: Get a seat outside and eat your heart out. The Croquettes were divine, as was pretty much everything else. Bit expensive but worth it for a fancy dinner.
  • Cassai Beach House: Cute place, even cuter waiters. If you want to fall in love with Spanish men, eat here. We got a MASSIVE paella to share, probably for a family of four but we smashed it. Made for a difficult drive home and the seatbelt had to be quite a bit looser but all in all this place had delicious food and atmosphere. Make sure you book, we had to squeeze at the bar because the restaurant was pack for the whole night.

DO: 

  • Cathedral: The cathedral in Palma Old Town is stunning, as is pretty much every street corner you turn around. We spent hours walking through the little streets, stopping at random Spanish bars through the day.
  • Run along the Boardwalk: Not for everyone, but after a full 48 hours of eating nothing but Parma Ham, Paella and sipping on Sangria this was essential. Palma itself as a city is very fit, with people running outside no matter what the temperate. Forced Nicole to come on a 9AM morning run with the tender temperature of 31C. We survived but unfortunately my iPhone didn’t. Luckily it was the only thing that overheated.
  • Rent a car: Based on a lot of recommendations we decided to rent a car. Having not driven for eight plus months, let alone in the Spanish countryside, this was an adventure in itself. Nicole promised me highways the whole way. We did have highways with a side of off roading when we got lost. Again, all in the name of adventures.

BEACH:

  • Es Carbo: The best beach we found was Sant Jordi de ses Salines. A mission to get there but so worth it. It was super quiet with shallow, warm, turquoise coloured water. What more could you want? It was very hot (talking 35C plus) so Nicole bought a beach umbrella, I on the other hand went for the Carrot Oil.

 

PALMA, we’ll vuelva pronto. <3

-&what x

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&WHAT | LEVIS.

It’s NYFW and this is officially the second season that I haven’t made it since leaving my previous role. Certainly do miss it but life throws you opportunities that you have to take sometimes. Ones that will challenge you and test you and push you until right before breaking point making you realise just how incredibly far your limits can be.

These pictures were snapped by Candice Lake, Vogue photographer, at FW14. Ages ago but I’m still rocking those Levis.

That was one of my favourite seasons. We stayed at the ViceRoy up town and were working with Something Navy early on in her career. The Coveteur were creating our content with us so we would stay up super late each night to finish our social media posts and send them to the UK to be designed and shared to all of our markets around the world.

When you summarise it like that, social media and our job can seem a bit crazy. But SO creative and inspiring. The social media space and particularly the fashion space is so vibrant and fast-paced, never a dull moment that is for sure.

-&what x

tresemme_fashion_week_candice_lake-9773

TRESEMME NYFW STREET STYLE

&WHAT | HOME.

Home is where the heart is and mine is right here in London.

The city has always felt like home. More homely a times than others but that feeling you get when you arrive in a city and you know everything has laddered up to bring you here and it’s all just right – that for me is home.

And, even luckier for me, this freshly IKEA decorated space is where I get to call home in this beautiful city. Pinterest worthy space, clearly inspired by just a few Scandi-Interior design boards. It also helps that we live with a designer.

However you see those big leaves there – all me. I carried the massive Monstera plants all the way from Columbia Road market last Sunday.

For someone that can barely take care of herself, I’m quite surprised that nearly a week and a half later they are still standing strong. That’s really where people should be getting their resilience inspiration from – Monstera leaves. So far, they are quite the survivors.

– &what x

no place like home.

&WHAT | RE-IMAGINE – KANYE WEST MBDTF.

     YEEZY TAUGHT YOU WELL.

Last Wednesday we went to XOYO for an incredible mid-weeker. The gig was put on by Re-imagine. A 16-piece orchestra playing the WHOLE Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album. Unreal Vibes. Heaven, seriously nothing short of that.

Have been listening to the album non-stop since then. Kanye is such a creative genius. Everyone should be a little more Kanye.

Following the success of their first show (it sold out in minutes), Re-Imagine London have put on three more shows and a Destiny’s Child rendition as well. GO GO GO.

-&what x

KANYE WEST RE-IMAGINE | LONDON @ashleymadeline

KANYE WEST RE-IMAGINE | LONDON @ashleymadeline

KANYE WEST RE-IMAGINE | LONDON @ashleymadeline

&WHAT | SATURDAY.

Zero plans make for the best days.

Spent Saturday walking around East with a solid crew. My friend Michelle from Toronto stayed over on Friday after a night of bar hopping. Woke up at 6:45AM (stupid body clock). After trying to get back to sleep we decide to get up and make the most the sunshine.

Walking through Brick Lane to Beyond Retro – their original shop with racks on racks of vintage clothes. Walked past the curry houses and dumplings which would have made the perfect cure for the hangover not so much for the beach bod.

Ended up in Shoreditch as per usual. First stop was House of Hackney where I spotted the sink of dreams. Everything in HOH would fit perfectly in my future home, already planning out each room.

Second stop: Artworks Bookshop on Rivington Street. With every obscure magazine and coffee table book you could imagine, this is a place you could spend hours in. Eyed up even more things for the future home.

More home planning at the third stop, a new space that opening on Charlotte Street. W.A.Green. They had Cire Trudon candles that are said to be the ones they made for the Palace of Versailles. A candle fit for a queen? I’ll take that any day.

Only one more day to the weekend now!

-&what x

   london, art, bookshop, shoreditch

&WHAT | FASHION TECH LAB.

Miroslava Duma is the founder of Buro 24/7, a fashion blog and now media outlet based in Russia. She has been one of the biggest fashion leaders to originate from the market.

Having been an avid follower of her activity, I noticed a few months ago that she was posting more on tech and start-ups – developing partnerships with the giants like Google, Facebook and Alibaba. Curious to know what all of these little hints were laddering up to, Duma recently launched Fashion Tech Lab. Her own start up in the Tech and Fashion space – two of my passion pastimes.

Fashion Tech Lab is said to be a hybrid venture – part investment fund, accelerator and experimental lab with the core objective of driving new tech and innovation within the fashion industry. More details on the new venture can be found on Business of Fashion.

What I find so inspiring about this is that Duma with a background in fashion and business took time to meet with and learn from the heads of the tech giants to cover her background research to start this company. An opportunity that many cannot afford – either with financial or network limitations. However, an approach similar to this could easily be taken on a smaller scale, by reaching out to inspiring and successful leaders either in your network or extended.

I would love to take a couple months, head to Silicon Valley or an up and coming start up city like Tel Aviv and learn from all of the people driving the innovation and industry in the tech space. There really is so much knowledge to gain from the people that are doing things differently. From stepping out of your comfort zone and into a space in which you know nothing – ready to learn everything.

People like Tim Ferris speak of the Real-World MBA, taking the leap to put yourself out there and learn as much as you can either from people within the industry. An alternate approach is using the investment you would make on an MBA to start a company or invest in companies acting as a VC to learn business strategy and management in real-time.

Studying for an MBA is a thought that I consistently revisit, weighing up the opportunity cost of the degree from a cost, education and connection perspective. Still yet to come to a decision on that subject but its examples like this that make me rethink the traditional way of doing things. It is amazing to see leaders like Miroslava Duma  building innovative businesses and learning from those around her then making it happen.

Similarly to the advice I received from Anya Hindmarch (full post here), it is important to take a risk and start something. It won’t be perfect, but get it out there and iterate as you go along.

It will be interesting to see where Fashion Tech Lab goes from here, excited to be following the journey. So inspired by women like Miroslava Duma who are pushing the boundaries and reshaping industries, proving that anything is possible with a dream and a whole lot of ambition (+ capital) backing that. 👊👊👊

xxxx

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