With Australian lingerie retailer Honey Birdette opening its first batch of UK stores in the past few months, the Retail Gazette caught up with Eloise Monaghan, its founder and creative director, to find out what makes her tick.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background before Honey Birdette.
After living in London where I was working in crisis communication, I returned to Australia to start a PR consultancy which I did for a year.
In this time I went shopping for some novelty items for a hen’s party and discovered how much was missing. Six weeks later, we started receiving stock in our lounge room.
Describe your responsibilities as Honey Birdette’s co-founder and creative director
Everything, Well, in the beginning anyway.
It’s only been in the past year that I have managed to separate myself a little from the operation to focus on the evolution of Honey Birdette’s look instore and online. Product innovation in materials and concepts are key.
At the moment we are very focussed on rapid fashion. One style per week. This is a huge task, given we are a very tight team and the long lead time required for lingerie. Our products are technically very difficult, often using European fabrics which also require a long production time.
Can you explain the inspiration behind Honey Birdette?
High-quality lingerie and luxury bedroom accessories were not often easily accessible for women.
I grew tired of not being able to find an inviting retailer and set out to create a luxury space for women to find anything they desired to feel empowered.
During the excitement and planning, I contemplated over a glass of champagne and the name “Honey Birdette” just came to mind.
What made you want to bring it over to the UK?
Taking Honey Birdette global was always a part of my vision and what better place to start than London.
The UK was the perfect international location to open our doors to with engaged lovers of lust and a similar retail industry, making the move work to our advantage.
Now that we have three fabulous boutiques in the UK, our aim is to introduce Honey Birdette to all and build a loyal customer base as we have done with our devoted customers in Australia.
How is Honey Birdette different to other lingerie retailers?
Aside from the wide range of lavish lingerie collections and luxurious accessories for the boudoir, Honey Birdette offers a unique experience.
We serve sensuality on a silver platter, with a side of class, humour and depth. Our team of Honeys are vivacious, informative and buzzing to give every guest personalised service.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
People. As we grow, hiring Honeys that represent the vision of the brand can be a challenge.
Product. Ensuring that we focus on the horizon and not just the next six months. We don’t want to simply “be” the trend we want to set it.
And the most rewarding?
Being part of a brand created by women, for women is fulfilling in itself.
The fact that the brand was created to make guests feel provocative and empowered is proof that a sense of sensuality is key to confidence. If I can say that Honey Birdette has helped ignite the passion in relationships all around the world, that’s the greatest reward to me.
Can you talk about any upcoming projects you’re working on at the moment?
This year is all about new directions. Giving the face of Honey Birdette somewhat of a facelift with ne