#ParadiseRowCurates: an event focused on 'How To Found A Start-Up From Your Living Room'

#ParadiseRowCurates: an event focused on 'How To Found A Start-Up From Your Living Room'

By Amelia Curwen

Paradise Row’s first public event 'How To Found A Start-Up From Your Living Room' was an intimate evening of discussion, networking and advice with three women who have done just that.

Last week Fashion Roundtable attended the workshop and with complete disclosure, this event was a living reflection of this very principle— as attendees found themselves in a living room learning exactly how to found a successful business by two impressive female entrepreneurs.

The first of which is Nika Diamond-Krendel, Founder and Creative Director of leather goods brand Paradise Row, renowned for their handbags that featured in The Times’s best bags under £500. Just head out into any city ‘hotspot’ and you’ll undoubtedly spot one of her bags with 12ct gold faces staring back at you.

One of the few British brands to actually produce their leather goods in Britain, Paradise Row’s ethic is built on manufacturing the bags locally in East London bringing together the artisan bag workshop and the local designer.  

The second speaker, Joanna Payne founded her business in 2015 from her living room, Marguerite. Marguerite is a club for women who work in the visual arts and has a programme of 40 events every year that aim to advance the careers of women in the industry by providing a ready-made professional network.

Joanna had the vision to utilise her position in the art world and turn it into something that could be accessible for all women. Since 2015 Marguerite has moved beyond the confines of Joanna’s living room and now hosts events with the likes of: museum directors including Maria Balshaw (Tate) and Nicholas Cullinan (The National Portrait Gallery); artists, Sir Michael Craig-Martin and Idris Khan OBE; Founders of Frieze, Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp; fashion designers, Dame Zandra Rhodes and Victoria Beckham; and photographers, Rankin and Nick Knight.

“Both ladies will be revealing how they each set up their groundbreaking start-ups in the art and fashion worlds, what problems they found and how they overcame with no investment and no connections.” - the event listing promised.

The two businesswomen do not hold back and seem to share one transparent agenda—they are there to offer whatever they can to help you start a business, a profitable business. Their one and only requirement is you must ‘passionate’, of course. Nika points out: ‘This has to be an obsession, and your obsession is what will get you up in the morning.’

Nika goes on to explain how she developed a domestically manufactured and designed business without any investment, therefore retaining all of the business she built that is on the verge of moving into its uber-cool new Old Street studio.

Joanna reveals how she developed a business model that stemmed completely from herself, her talents and utilised her prior knowledge by trusting her instincts.

This event was an invaluable asset for those with budding ideas, and in particular for those who may feel they lack the business acumen or prior experience to take the first steps.

Most importantly, it was structured with plenty of opportunities to ask questions all night and closed with a networking hour. What really stuck out is the willingness of both speakers to ensure time was spent speaking and listening to every attendee who had a question and was looking for an answer.

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