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Today we have a chat with Melanie Clarihew behind Mackenzie & George, a stunning brand (and stand!) that's seen online and at many shows up and down the country each year.
Here Melanie talks about Mackenzie & George's beginnings, her aspirations and flagship products. Read on to find out more...
I’ve always had a bit of a thing about accessories. I love how such a small item can completely change multiple outfits, but have never been one for in your face branding. Chris’ father had been making belts since the1970s,but was winding down his business, and we became really interested in finding the best possible materials to create accessories that last the test of time, and sustainable too. 11 years ago we set up M&G, and still those two points remain our core values - Built to Last from the best materials.
I think the piece I wear the most is the triple bangles. Each one is unique, it's just the right weight and I love the way they jangle! Especially if stacked with more Hiho.
I’m also a big fan of the multi link collection and of course the two tone bees!
If someone hasn’t shopped with you before, what would you suggest as a good starter piece for them, to start their M&G collection?
Our Wycombe and Badminton belts have been best sellers since we started, so I don’t think you can go wrong with those! Beautiful vegetable tanned leathers that age wonderfully and work with everything.
I’d also recommend the Chatsworth - comes in leather and suede versions and just always looks so classy with its subtle nod to equestrian heritage. We have some new colour in this being launched at Badminton Horse Trials too. And finally our personalised M&G keyring… every set of keys needs one of these!
Would you have any style tips for how to wear one of your gorgeous silk scarves?
Ah we love working with Clare and her beautiful scarves, but it can sometimes be really daunting to work out how to wear them. Our scarf ring is super simple, and really effective either worn vertically with the scarf thread though, or horizontally with it tied through each ring. Also stops the scarf slipping and keeps it in place on a windy day!
And finally – what would be your one piece of advice for anyone looking to start a new business?
Oh my, I’ve got lots to say on that! I guess one of the most initial things is knowing your market, and your USP. How many people are already doing what you do, in the same market? When we started there was hardly anyone specialising in leather goods to this market, especially positioning themselves in the space we did, and there was no one selling fedoras and feather brooches. It made it easier to stand out, and create a sustainable business model, because then you're a few steps ahead of whoever comes along after. If it's already crowded before you arrive, why are people going to choose, and continue to choose you?