Getting to know Charlie Feist

When Emma, from Charlie Feist, got in touch with me back in June via Instagram the brand was yet to launch, but I was immediately drawn to their aesthetic. I waited patiently, following their Instagram like an excited child waiting for Father Christmas. I wasn’t disappointed when their first collection dropped in September. I am now the proud owner of one of their backpacks, and very much doubt it will be the last! I’ve been so impressed by the Charlie Feist and by Emma’s professionalism, passion for the brand plus her understanding of what blogging is all about, I am proud to say I am now a brand ambassador having signed up to their affiliate programme.  Keep an eye out on my YouTube channel for an unboxing video, coming later this week. But for now, let’s get to know Charlie Feist in my interview with Emma…

Click here to shop with Charlie Feist!*

Tell me a bit about yourself and the brand Charlie Feist.

We are team of two full-time staff and with 3 part-time members not counting the fulfilment team at the warehouse. I manage social media marketing for the brand while the founder of the brand; Subal looks after the design and production end of things.

How and why did you come up with the name Charlie Feist?

During our preppy wardrobe days of structured navy blazers and crisp blue oxford button-downs, we were obsessed with Hunter boots. And we thought that rubbery material would be perfect to make a backpack since it’s waterproof and hardy. We began researching around the lifestyle of a hunter. Looking at several images of hunters, we began noticing that almost always a dog would accompany them. What followed was a weeklong research of names of hunting dog breeds. After going through several of the usual suspects and variations of spaniels, beagles, etc. we stumbled upon the “Charlie Feist” which is named after a hunting dog. Immediately we fell love in with the name because it kind of has the sound of a human. Both Subal and I are WAY too self-conscious to have our own names plastered on the product!

As a start-up company I remember you getting in touch with me earlier in the year. What has been your progress? Can you talk me through the stages?

It’s become almost cliché to disregard the “build it and they will come” adage. But this is disregarded for a reason especially in 2016. To think that our product is SO good that it could bubble up from all the noise out there is ludicrous. From the get, we were amply clear that we couldn’t launch to crickets. We knew that when we opened our digital doors, we needed to have a warm audience who was excited about the launch. With this in mind, we began talking about the brand on Instagram.

What is the history behind the brand?

The idea of a well-designed backpack has been with us since 2014, but it was only in 2015 when after many failed production samples, we finally created the product that we could stand behind.

One of the first things I noticed when you got in touch is the minimalist yet luxury feel of the brand. From what sources have you drawn inspiration?

It’s funny you say luxury when the starting point of the brand is £59! We always wanted to keep our price accessible since we wanted more people to enjoy our products. When designers get asked the question about where did they get their inspiration from, you probably hear a long-winded answer mostly involving an era that you wouldn’t have heard of and it goes above the heads of most people. I won’t do that. Our inspiration is the works of great brands like Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, and a bit of Zara and River Island! Having said that, these different elements have to be combined to form an aesthetic that appeals to you. I think a lot of designers work in this way, but are some a bit afraid to talk about it.

What has been the most difficult part of the Charlie Feist process?

For us, the part that we don’t control has been most difficult for us, i.e. manufacturing. Finding factories that can make a quality bag has been a big challenge. Since none of us comes from a design or fashion background, we literally had to rip open bags just to learn about different materials and fabrics. Certainly a test of persistence.

What has been the most rewarding moment?

Getting a quality bag made! (Playing off your previous question!). But that would be at micro level. At the macro level, I find myself doing the thing that I truly love. I have started to love Mondays. No more TGIF or ‘live for the weekend’ anymore. The level of confidence and zest for life that I find in myself is certainly the biggest reward.

What are your goals and plans with the brand? Where do you see the brand in 5 years time?

For the moment, we are focusing 100% on making beautiful utilitarian backpacks. Five years is such a long time to predict where we will be!

How important is the vegan element of Charlie Feist to you? How do you see the brand also appealing to non-vegans? (like me!)

 This is a great question and we get asked this all the time. As animal lovers (especially puppies), we could not allow ourselves to use animal products such as leather or fur in our product. However, we don’t resort to in-your-face marketing or shaming those who don’t share our belief. We don’t judge anyone’s dietary choices.

Name a person or a company who inspires you.

COS is an inspirational brand as their art direction is always on point and they have a very clear understanding of who their customer is.

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This content is not sponsored. Links marked with * are affiliate links.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The only way to drink water!

dsc00605eI’m keen on exercise and in the past found myself going through bottles of mineral water like nobody’s business. Not only was that expensive, but terrible for the environment. I then moved on to reusable plastic bottles. I found these prone to staining and they usually left an unusual taste in my mouth. Worse, more often than not they fell apart in the dishwasher – not great for this un domestic goddess!! Then two months ago, glass water bottles with silicone sleeves (catchy, I know) walked into my life. I’ve been using this for the gym, exercise classes, at home and at work and I’m converted! This one is by the brand Apana, which appears to be mainly available in the US, but I picked this up in TK Maxx for just a tenner. There are plenty of alternatives available on Amazon too. Read on to find out why I fell in love.

The water really does taste better – honestly it does! Fresher and it also stays cool for longer. I don’t think this is a placebo effect either. If you search BPA and phthalates (commonly found in plastic containers) there is certainly opinion out there that these can change the taste and quality of the water contained in them.

It’s (almost) indestructible – I’ve put this through the dishwasher almost every day and it looks as good as new.

Great for the clumsy ones among us – The silicone sleeve gives it amazing grip meaning even the more accident prone (that’s me!) will find it difficult to drop.

Looks as good as it performs – I don’t think I’ve ever had compliments on a water bottle before! So many people have asked me where I found it before rushing off to TK Maxx to get themselves one!

If I had to offer a down side, the bottles are naturally more heavy than their plastic counter parts so may not be ideal for some types of exercising including road running.

Disney Princess Collab – Rapunzel at Halloween

Over on my YouTube channel I’m lucky enough to be involved in a collaboration series where a group of us create a make up look in a certain theme, and upload on the first Friday of each month. Currently we are working our way through the Disney Princesses and for October some of us decided to throw a Halloween twist into the mix. I’m no make up artist and special FX make up is something I admire, but have never attempted. I am also sensitive to a lot of the products used in such make up looks so decided to use items from my existing make up collection to see if I could create a spooky look without buying any new products. It is therefore (hopefully) easy for anyone to recreate. This month we had the choice between Rapunzel or Merida (from the film Brave).I decided to base my look on the ‘Once Upon A Zombie’ Rapunzel to give it that Halloween edge…

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Why am I chatting about this on the blog if it is a YouTube project? Well, after spending almost two hours creating and filming my look, the video footage was faulty! So here I am sharing my pictures of my final look, along with a list of all products used. If YouTube is also your thing, make sure to check out the other ladies’ looks – linked below.

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Products used…

Primer – Dr Feelgood, Benefit

Colour corrector – Above & Beyond full coverage concealer in green, NYX

Base – Radiance BB Cream in very light, Rimmel

Concealer – Pro conceal & correct pallete, Freedom

Powder – Translucent loose powder, Shisheido

Brows – Tame & Frame tinted brow pomade in Espresso, NYX

Eye shadow – Scandaleyes eye shadow stick in Witness White, Rimmel. Soft Touch shadow pencil in Trash, Nars. Urban decay shadow in Alien. Trio eyeshadow in 318, Barry M

Lashes – Scandal false lashes, Primark

Mascara – False lash effect, Max Factor

Liner (used as bottom lashes) – Awesome double flick liner, Make Up Revolution

Contour – Mono eyeshadow in Killer, Make Up Revolution

Lip Liner – PS lip liner pencil in 19, Primark

Lipstick – Atomic lipstick in Make it right, Make Up Revolution

Stitches – Lip liner in 11, Barry M

Clare’s look is linked here

Leah’s look is linked here

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Capsule Wardrobe – 1 year on

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Exactly a year ago I wrote about my venture into the capsule wardrobe concept, and I’ve been posting updates along the way (all previous posts are linked below). Now, after having given myself a pat on the back for sticking to it for all this time, I’m sharing the lessons I have learnt after 12 months and how I plan to apply the principals to my wardrobe moving forward…

Be flexible

This has to be my biggest and most important lesson and it is relevant in more ways than one. My original plan was to create a 37 piece wardrobe to be switched up each season. The weird and wonderful British weather threw a spanner in the works here, meaning I had to do the change-over at times I hadn’t expected to or planned to. I also originally planned to incorporate my “going out out” clothes into my capsule wardrobe. On reflection, I do this so infrequently that very dressy items took up valuable space in the limited collection and they were only worn once or twice over the course of a few months (if that). Moving forward, I have a few pieces separate from my main wardrobe for special occasions and plan to operate a ‘one in, one out’ policy to my main collection. I will still rotate items out of storage as the weather changes but when I am tempted by a new purchase at other times, providing I have thought it through, I will allow myself to buy it on the condition that an existing piece is rotated out and either put back into storage, sold or donated.

Layering is your friend

Talking of unpredictable weather, I have definitely realised that it is important to buy pieces that can be layered. Not only does this mean the wardrobe can outlast changeable temperatures, it also provides a bigger variety of looks meaning you are less likely to get bored of your collection.

You do develop a style

The interesting thing about having a capsule wardrobe is that when you do shop, you get very picky. Whereas a previous changing room thought process may have involved little actual thought and resulted in a lot of emotional purchases, nowadays each item is scrutinised heavily! Does it fit perfectly? Is it flattering? Will I wear it regularly? Does the shade fit my current colour palette? Is it well made and does it feel good quality? This level of scrutiny has definitely resulted both consciously and sub-consciously developing a style,  or the ‘every day uniform’ I had read so much about but never really fully understood until now!

It is still a work in progress

If I was feeling in a corny mood I would say something like “it’s a journey not a destination” and it would be true! My Summer capsule wardrobe was my least enjoyed so far (for various reasons including poor planning) but this only enabled me to make a better job of it next time around, meaning my love for the capsule wardrobe has been rekindled and that my current Autumn wardrobe is my favourite yet! I’m bound to make further errors of judgement and need to make more changes to the way I approach it (like I said – it is important to be flexible!) but to me that is part of the beauty of the whole concept – you can choose to apply the parts that work for you and adapt it to suit your lifestyle.

Previous capsule wardrobe posts…

Trying out the capsule wardrobe – the ‘Un-fancy’ way

My Capsule Wardrobe – lessons and Winter updates

3 Spring Trends – for a capsule wardrobe

My Capsule Wardrobe – the Winter to Spring transition

My Capsule Wardrobe – most worn this Summer