B MEETS PARADISE ROW
Paradise Row, is this a place? Where is this paradise? And how do I get there! Well to us Paradise Row is a very British, very authentic, London inspired, leather bag brand! Let’s be honest bags are one form of our paradise and if you are bag obsessed, like we pretty much have been since a Barbie backpack was the epitome of cool, you’re going to love them!
Founder Nika named her brand after the street Paradise Row in East London near where she lives. Her first collection – Core - is inspired by and made in the local area. We love a story behind a brand and Paradise Row radiates Britishness, London laid back cool and classic charm (quite literally). It has heritage brand written all over it. And if you like lucky charms, charm bracelets or are a bit of a magpie you’ll want every bag from this collection - especially if you have a particular fondness for pearls, anchors, bobbins, buddhas or boxing!
THE SAUSAGE ROLL (GOAL)
The brand’s essence is built on sourcing materials and manufacturing in East London. Each bag is a testimony to local trade working to create something truly unique. The first collection, CORE, draws inspiration from the history and stories of the East End. Buying a Paradise Row bag not only supports local trade, but our charms promote the cultural institutions of the area including: the London Buddhist Centre, the Pearly Kings and Queens, the Repton Boys Boxing Club and the Cordwainers College (now LCF).
HER AREA HER INSPIRATION
Paradise Row is the name of a quaint cobbled street in East London, near where I live. Behind a row of beautiful Georgian houses that the railway line runs past, where now some of arches have been converted into restaurants. I thought it was a beautiful name and it felt classically British and nostalgic. The idea behind Paradise Row was born right there! I decided to dedicate the first collection to all things East London and everything is made in the area too.
B – Of course railway arches are cool restaurants this is East London where soon a hole will become trendy… dug out bar, woodland theme… okay next business plan!
B TRANSPARENT - BREAD AND HONEY (MONEY)
The bags are made by true East End cockneys who have been working at leather workshops for over thirty years. This does influence the selling price; however, it was important to me to make the bags specifically in East London where there was a huge, skilled manufacturing industry not so long ago. There’s only a few leather workshops left now and Paradise Row is being made in one of them.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
I never studied design and worked as a business intelligence consultant across major UK banks before finally taking the plunge to start my own brand. I booked myself on a weekend course designing bags and absolutely loved it! I then started sourcing and slowly building the brand. Next thing I knew I had launched the brand at the end of 2016.
AND DOING IT ALL
Everything is hard but also great and it varies all the time. Starting a new company has presented all kinds of challenges for me and managing the supply chain and controlling funds is tough. Doing everything whilst still finding the time to think creatively about future collections is a real challenge, but one I really enjoy it and I wouldn't change it for the world!
ADVICE ON THE SLICE (don’t think this is cockney rhyming slang, we just made it up)
The best advice is be prepared to wear many hats. Unfortunately, you cannot take a backseat and be a designer. You must be the accountant, the lawyer, the delivery guy, the marketing person, the networker etc. About 10% of the work is designing when you first start. But drive and persistence are key!