All About Queenie and Pearl
First I wrote something really corporate because I don’t like putting myself out their at all. But then I thought I really want to give you guys the real truth behind why I started this brand. You can then take it or leave it.
My names Alice and I am the founder and creator of Queenie and Pearl. I just wanted to give you a bit of back ground about me and how Queenie and Pearl came about.
I first entered the fashion industry after dropping out of A levels. I got a job at a clothing supply company. They supplied and manufactured clothing for most of the high street brands. This was way back in 2003 and I was 16yo. It was just the first job I got. I found it in the newspaper (that makes me feel old). If you know me I’m not necessarily a fashionista. I’m a tom boy. But I immediately fell in love with the fast paced world of fashion. The passion, the creativity and hard work that went into giving people clothes to wear. I even kind of loved the scary bosses. I went from wearing a GAP hoody to rocking heels to work. And yes I felt great about it (at the time).
I then got a job as a PA to a million dollar boss within the fashion industry. I sat in meetings where all these men sat in suits and discussed what women should be wearing (yes this really is happening). I sat in on meetings where they would place £100,000 on an order. The process from design to making it then to market. I once saw a huge order come in and it was all wrong. River Island dropped the order and the company lost a lot of money. I also saw styles become best sellers. I loves the buzz. I kinda loved the highs and lows. Without the lows there wouldn’t be any highs! I felt like I could do this. I felt that I could spot the best sellers because fashion comes from the streets up. I knew what my mates would love and what they would cringe at. Not 5 x 50 year old men in suits thought we should wear. I decided to study fashion business at London College of Fashion. I have always been creative but wanted to learn the business side. I worked internships and part time jobs while studying in the evening for 4 years. I managed to get enough tips at my bar job to earn enough to pay my rent and pay for my course in full. Degree prices have now gone up *gulps* so might not have been able to do that. So I guess I was lucky.
After this I spent a number of years building my work experience up and throwing myself in the deep end. Not afraid to push myself. I ended up working for some amazing brands. Big and small. I helped them grow into the companies they are today. I have also made friends for life a long the way.
As a youngster I was deluded by the idea of the glamourous world of fashion. When in fact it was long hours, little pay, bad working environments – compared to most other industries in the UK anyway. I once worked for a brand that told me my assistant wasn’t scared enough of me and that I had to make her cry. I once interned at a massive brand (don’t want to name names) who didn’t pay me and made me pack 150 gift bags, for them to change their mind and make me re do them all on a ridiculous time frame. Then hand deliver them all over london in two days. I also had someone throw my work at the wall and ask me if I had been sitting in McDonald’s all day!! That work actually won us a big client. But it’s the knocks like that that makes the fashion industry so toxic. I persevered because I’m not one to give up (I think it’s ok to give up sometimes too though). Mental health is important.
In my personal life I unfortunately ended up in an abusive relationship and not so unfortunately getting pregnant. I juggled this relationship with being pregnant and having a full time job. Once I gave birth and I went into post natal depression. It was mental torture. Eventually I managed to get out of this relationship and have been slowly piecing that part of my life back together.
When it came to me going back to work I realized the cost of childcare being over £1000 a month. Was it even worth it going back to work? The place I was working was actually emailing me while I was at hospital in labour. It doesn’t stop. How was I meant to juggle everything now? I was a single mum. I just want to state I rate any mum. If your a stay at home mum, if your a single mum, if your married and go to work. I just want to say your doing a Great job. It’s like a hidden secret. No one knows how hard it is until they have done it. And trust me I know.
I got a part time job at an amazing company who helped me grow in my career and more importantly personally. They got me through my break up. All 5 of these strong independent woman practically saved me and they probably don’t even know it. I no longer wear heels to work. But I get up and make an effort and leave my house feeling confident.
Now I’m 30. Life has hit everyone hard. My best friends sister committed suicide recently. I’ve seen my friend be punched in the face by her boyfriend then taken him back. I have had friends who have been fired from jobs they worked so hard for. I have friends who have become drug addicts. But I have also seen friends give birth, friends get married, friends get promoted. I just want all women, whatever your situation whatever you have been through and whatever you will go through in your life to know you are all QUEENS.
I had come to a cross road in my life. I needed money to pay my bills and I wanted time to spend with my son. I missed his first words as I was at work. I had spent so many years working for other people helping them grow their businesses and build a better life for them and their families. So I thought why not do it myself.
That is when Queenie and Pearl was born. The name was actually what my dad was going to call my sister and I. It’s always stuck with us. My parents brought me up to be strong and to know my worth. Sometimes this made me too opinionated. You might say I’m like marmite. You either love me or hate me.
As a woman and someone who has given birth my weight has always fluctuated. I was a chubby teenager and a skinny young adult. Always up and down with my weight. Having found a love of fashion And how it could make me feel I was struggling with the fact that I can’t wear this skinny strappy dresses that my mates were wearing or what the models on the topshop website was wearing. There were two things that always made me feel better about my outfit. And that was shoes and handbags. My mum will tell you I have too many but she doesn’t even know about my secret stash. Gone are the days that I can go without just to get a bag I like. Now I have responsibilities. Now I have to be an adult.
I felt their was a gap in the market for handbags. I know you can buy handbags almost anywhere. But I wanted to give people luxury feel handbags that don’t cost a bomb. And I wanted to make bags that didn’t fall apart in days from Primark. I want customers to buy my bags and feel good. Get up in the morning. Check your bag for your necessities and face the day head on.
Yes I have started a brand that sells hand bags but I want to make a brand that treats people right. I want a brand that give people opportunities. That celebrates the highs and holds us up in the lows.
I have curated these collections of handbags firstly because I love them and because I think you will love them too. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself. If you don’t like them that’s ok too.
Having experienced the highs and lows of personal life and work life I wanted to make a brand that didn’t just sell bags. I wanted some extra touches. I aim to work with charities as a way of giving back. Even if it is just a little. You can choose whether to add a donation that I will match when you pay for your order. Or just click through to the charities website and find out more about the great work they are doing.
I forgot to mention where I am at now. I’m still working to pay the bills, I’m still squeezing my son every second I can. But I also decided to do a masters in Coding. I wanted to bring you the best website I possibly could. So I really do hope you love it.
So there it is. Probably the most I have ever spoke about myself ever and I’m cringing even thinking about it.
I want to leave you on one thing. I know some people are not into quotes but this was shared in my mates what’s app group recently…
“This morning I woke up and reminded myself that my soul is fucking beautiful. My mind is fucking powerful. My heart is made of fucking gold and I’ve got so many good things going for me that I literally do not need anyone who isn’t going to love me the way that I fucking deserve to be loved. “
Anyway Queens I hope you have the best day possible.
Let me know if you want to ask me anything
P.s. I am looking into manufacturing in the UK using ethically sourced material. It’s a real goal of mine that I plan to deliver!