Wednesday, 30 October 2013

How I Bagged a Job at NICA: Iva Suchankova, International Sales Manager

This week we interviewed the lovely Iva- our International Sales Manager on everything from her day-to-day role at NICA to her favourite lunch spot. Whether you’re a student hoping to break into the fashion industry or simply want to know more about the life of a NICA employee, read on:

Tell us about your background?
I was born in the Czech Republic and moved to London when I was 19 to experience a different culture and improve my knowledge of English. My plan was to stay here for 18 months, but it’s been 13 years now!

I decided not to go to university, I thought ‘what’s next?’ and that’s when I decided to come to the UK. Sometimes you learn more by experience and trying out different things. I don’t regret not going to university and if I had the choice again, I would have done exactly the same. I have met so many amazing people and have travelled to great countries, which I might not have been able to do if things were the other way around – but you never know.

Iva – International Sales Manager at NICA

Tell us about your previous jobs before NICA?
From the age of 16 I always had a summer job and tried to earn money for various things I needed, whether that be a new pair of trainers for volleyball or concert tickets.
After coming to the UK, I tried out several different jobs working in retail, in an office job, as an au-pair, in a coffee shop, and then, 9 years ago I got my break as an Account Manager for a UK handbag supplier who used to supply brands such as Ted Baker, Oasis, Whistles, and Jigsaw. In my role as Account Manager, I would look after these accounts – this was my first introduction to the handbag world, and I have been in the industry ever since!

Describe a day in the life of your job role?
I am now the International Sales Manager for NICA and my job involves selling our products internationally and by various ways – we have international retailers that we deal with directly from our London office, our Sales Representatives are from all over the world, from Belgium, Ireland, Germany to South Africa and Japan!

As you can imagine, everyone’s needs can be very different. You deal with different time zones, cultures, languages and overall different markets. My job is very varied, from trade shows in Paris and Germany to appointments with customers in Hong Kong or Dubai, - it can take me to some fun parts of the world.
However, it's also a lot of hard work, particularly in the busy selling season (we start selling collections 6 months before a consumer sees them in the shops) so we have to be very organised. Our team is big! We have 2 UK offices, so, there’s a lot of communication involved in order for things to run smoothly.

What do you like about your job at NICA?
You have to like products and people, and that’s what I like. I like having meetings and presentations with our clients or sales representatives and showing them our new collections and creating strategies on how to improve what we do.
In my role, you have to enjoy travelling to a degree, as sometimes within a space of 6 weeks I can go through 10-12 flights, and this often includes long haul flights, which can be very tiring... But you do get to see some incredible places and meet some amazing people.

What tips would you give to someone looking to get into a similar role as yours?
If you like fashion and people - try any role. It can take you a few years, but it’s worth it. Be yourself for sure – there’s no point making up lies about your abilities, it’s more about your personality as you will be dealing with a lot of people and creating a lot of business relationships.

Why did you choose your job role?
Perhaps because I have a foreign background, I can relate to foreign customers slightly easier which makes the job more enjoyable. It’s great to be able to see our bags from New York to Paris and Tokyo, it makes you realise it’s all been worth it.

What’s your favourite style of handbag?
It honestly varies, I love satchels, cross body bags, totes.. I like big bags rather than smaller bags, but it all depends on the occasion. I have a rather large selection of bags. My latest addition is the NICA backpack which makes my travelling so much easier, not only abroad but also on the London tube.

What are your handbag essentials?
Work phone, personal phone, tablet, set of keys for home & office, oyster card, Vaseline, anti-bacterial gel, mints or chewing gum, painkillers, iPod, and if I am travelling long-haul, my make-up bag is also an essential.

What music do you listen to in the office?
Well, there’s a slight battle over the radio in our office – I would have XFM on most of the time, whereas the rest of our sales team is a little bit more pop orientated, so, we tend to change our music a lot, from Radio 1 to Kiss, XFM, Capital….

Where’s your favourite lunch spot? 
Latymers is just around the corner from the office and serves great Thai food, so that’s a treat if I have the time.

Thanks, Iva! 

We hope you enjoyed our NICA interview, are there any other NICA job roles you would be interested in learning about? We’d love to find out, tweet us @Nica_Handbags.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

#NicaHalloween: Discover our Crafty Halloween Inspiration

We are most definitely getting into the Halloween spirit here at Nica HQ, and to celebrate, we've launched a little competition! We would love for you to share your own self-made Halloween crafts and costumes with us. It can be anything from spooky pumpkins to ghoulish cupcakes, just simply tag your creations using the hashtag #NicaHalloween on Facebook, Twitter Instagram, or Pinterest for the chance to win one of our spooky owl charms.

We've even created our own Halloween board over on Pinterest if you feel like you need a dash of inspiration. We were particularly excited about all of the scary Halloween food ideas out there too, so, we thought that we'd share a few spooky cupcakes that we found. What do you think?

Devil’s cupcakes combine a red velvet inspired sponge with tinted vanilla frosting, and chocolate horns. 

Spooky Spider cakes are made from a traditional sponge with spider decoration created from a chocolate body and liquorish legs. 

Monster cupcakes are simply made using a chocolate sponge and vanilla frosting... A very simple way to create a variety of different looking cake monsters. 

These traditional muffins have been iced with white cream cheese icing and defined with chocolate icing as to create a creepy spider's web effect. 

Opt for a sponge base of your choice and decorate with orange tinted vanilla frosting, chocolate icing, and marzipan leaves to create the next best thing to a real carved pumpkin face. 

Full recipes can be found via image sources, and remember, if we've inspired you to bake some of these delicious goodies, share your results using #NicaHalloween. 


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Trend Alert: Dot Dot Dot

Fifties style halter neck swimsuits, wide legged palazzo trousers, wiggle skirts… The list goes on! Since the 1920’s, polka dots have enjoyed a long reign in the retro fashion world and still feature heavily in high street collections today.

Polka dot fashion peaked during the 1950’s when rockabilly dresses (halter neck or spaghetti strapped dresses which went in at the waist and out at the hips) were snapped up by a plethora of fashion conscious women, who had been hit by a rock’n’roll era which was characterised by artists such as Elvis Presley and The Commodores. 

The rockabilly trend filtered out during the 1960’s, but is still championed by vintage lovers today whether it be for fancy dress purposes or simply to enjoy the charm of an American style diner in full effect.
Even celebrities are loyal fans of polka dot fashion, everyone from Alexa Chung to Taylor Swift to Jameela Jamil have been ahem, spotted, wearing a structured shift dress or a pair of dot printed dungarees.

Here at NICA, we must confess to also being ambassadors of the beloved polka dot, to the point where we have an entire collection devoted to the dot. Whether it’s the Nica Play rucksack to indulge your studious side or a matinee purse to store those hard earned pennies, we have it.

Look 1: Nasty Gal, Polka Dot Backpack: NICA, Look 2: ASOS

Not everyone has tread the polka path though, perhaps polka dots are marked as unknown territory in your style diaries, in which case the NICA team are here to help! Take a look at how to incorporate the dots into your everyday style (as pictured above).

How do you work the polka dot trend? Are you a fan of the retro rockabilly look or do you prefer to modernise the way you wear polka dots with bandeau dresses and accessories? We’d love to see how you channel the trend, tweet us at @Nica_Handbags or tag us in an Instagram post @Nicahandbags.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Blogged: How To Style the Milly Tapestry Doctor's Bag with StephanieDreams

It’s time to switch your pretty summer florals for vintage inspired tapestry prints. So, get ready to channel antique chic with intricate embroidery and lovely autumnal tones instead!

Our Milly range is the easiest way to incorporate this trend into your new season wardrobe, but you may be wondering how exactly you’re going to style it? Well, take some inspiration from the Blogger behind StephaineDreams, who recently showed us how she’s wearing the Milly Doctor's Bag.

She opted for a flowery tea dress with a chunky knit and ankle boots as to give her outfit an autumn time feel. And you can see just how easily the bag fits in with her style! You can see more of her style over on her blog. 

Have you snapped up one of our winter tapestry pieces yet? If so, we'd love to see how you're styling it! Share your photos @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Blogged: Mathilde Heart Manech Shows us her Alicia Satchel Style

This week, the lovely blogger behind Mathilde Heart Manech took our stylish Alicia satchel along with her on a short getaway!

Teamed with a pretty polka dot dress and black sandals, she explained just how easily the classic satchel fits into her wardrobe, and is also the perfect size for carrying all of her essentials whilst out and about! What do you think about her satchel style?

You can check out her full review over on her blog

And remember, we always love to see how you're individually styling our Alicia satchel too, so, please tag your photos with @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Update your Bookshelf: The Latest Fashion Reads

Be it a publication documenting a top designer's inspirations or a how-to guide for creating super cool talons, you can’t beat a great fashion book. For creative motivation or an engrossing read, the NICA team share their favourite fashion books of the moment.

Love or loathe him, The World According to Karl gives readers a 176 page insight into the outspoken world of Karl Lagerfield as he openly shares his views on politics, fashion, art and women. Bold and brash yet always entertaining, this fashion designer is certainly not one to mince his words. 

Expect controversial quotes such as “Jogging pants are a sign of defeat. You’ve lost control of your life so you go out in jogging pants.” Ooh err!

WAH started life back in 2005 as a small East-London based nail bar. The salon opened to a rapturous reception and soon marked its territory as one of the most exciting and innovative nail bars on the planet. Nail art has since become a worldwide phenomenon with every fashionista worth their salt queuing up to join the ranks. 

Now the company have opened up the bar to keen DIYers by releasing The Wah Nails Book of Nail Art, so, whether you wish to paint bows or zebras onto your nails, now you can get the salon certified talons at lemonade prices, without even leaving the comfort of your own home. Practice makes perfect!

Alexa Chung leads a fun life; a quick peek at her Instagram reveals stylish jaunts in classic cars and sophisticated sips of wine in the company of Peaches and Pixie Geldof...It’s enough to make anyone a little green with envy! In her first book titled IT, Alexa documents her daily inspirations, obsessions and shares fashion tips through the medium of doodles, glossy photographs and handwritten notes. This might just be the best looking book on the market.

Do you have a list of top fashion books which are always displayed pride of place upon your bookshelf? If so, we’d love to hear your recommendations. Why not let us know on Twitter by tweeting your recommendation to @Nica_Handbags

Love the Nica Team, 
x x x

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Find Out Why the Nica Team Loves Autumn

It’s that time of the year when the nights grow longer and the weather gets colder, so, as we finally kiss goodbye to the summer, it’s time to welcome quite possibly our favourite season of all, - autumn!

Get ready for a palette of warm colours, snugly clothing, hearty snacks, and fun occasions like Halloween and Bonfire night. So, here are a few things that the Nica team loves about autumn! Do you agree?

The great outdoors become awash with rich and warm hues that often act as a great source of design inspiration for us. 

Pumpkins become our new best friends as they flavour our lattes, transform  into pies, and decorate our apartments for Halloween!

We are often very inspired by all things nature, - of course, that includes cute little animals! Surely you've seen some of our owl designs? Squirrels and hedgehogs have to be amongst our favourite autumnal animals! 

Who doesn't over indulgence on comfort food as the nights get colder? From sweet treats to hearty pastries, if we're not snacking, then, we're baking autumn goodies! 

It's also time to wrap up and  reach for those cosy thick knits, and winter time textures. Who doesn't love that?!  

So, after taking a look at all of the things that we love about autumn, can you see how its influenced our beautiful autumnal natural tulips and watercolour prints?  

Why not share with us some of your favourite autumnal things too? Tag us @Nica_Handbags with #NicaAutumn. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Nica's Travels: Discovering the Origins of Prints in South Korea

by Nica Kim

From reading my blog posts, you've probably already realised just how much I love to travel and how it inspires my designs… Well, I'm away on my travels once more, and visiting my homeland South Korea for some more design inspiration!

As you know, I love designing my own original prints, and yesterday, I visited a local exhibition which explored the history of different kinds of prints, and looked at how they can find their way from a piece of artwork to decorating a garment. Look at my example below, the idea for the dress' pattern began as a simple piece of art. 

The stripe pattern has stood for many different things over the years, from being worn by prisoners, clowns, and slaves as to differentiate them from normal citizens during the middle ages to the eventual creation of sailors’ outfits for the French Marines. - That’s why we call it the Marin look!!

Stripes became a global fashion trend after Coco Chanel was inspired by Marines’ shirts and incorporated it into her collection in 1917. Stripes have since been loved by Style Icons such as Audrey Hepburn, and artists like Picasso and Andy Warhol rendering them the icon of youth and energy! 

Andy Warhol's Iconic Look:
Image Source

Flowers blossom in splendour and quickly fade away whilst leaving their beauty and scent behind, and this has inspired different areas of art including poems, music, and even fine art. It was the more affluent of society who firstly wore a standardized kind of floral print, until the industrial revolution boomed and Britain started to produce their own kind of floral print. This eventually led to the more commercial prints that we have today. 

Look at this artist's angry flower sketch which was transformed into the appliqué dress below. It may not be a floral pattern, but it's a great example of how the use of flowers are still evolving in modern day designs.

My own prints are often inspired by nature, and I re-invent my floral patterns each season. One of my favourite designs for A/W 13 is my watercolour print, inspired by both nature and some of my favourite artists who work with watercolours! 

Prints make a great addition to your A/W wardrobes, but which do you prefer - a classic or a print handbag? Why not tell us on Twitter @Nica_Handbags with #ClassicVsPrint. 

Love Nica Kim,
x x x 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Discover Some of NICA’s Favourite Television Characters

The recent cold spell has given us a serious case of obsessive series disorder and with irresistible TV shows premièring left, right and centre, who knows when this love affair will end? From edge-of-the-seat action in Breaking Bad to reruns of coming of age drama Girls, we have fallen hook, line and sinker for our television sets and what’s more, we have a sneaky suspicion that we’re not alone!

So, in celebration of square-eyed vision let’s run through the television characters who keep us engrossed and captivated time and time again. Presenting televisions most stylish characters and the NICA team's all-time favourites:

Joan Holloway in Mad Men

The femme fatale of the office, Joan Holloway is a woman that other women envy and aspire to be. Mad Men is centred on an advertising agency in the 1960’s where men rule the roost. Joan plays a flirtatious office vixen, and has received critical acclaim for her ‘on-screen magnetism’. 

Style: Christina Hendricks, the actress who plays Joan has been recognised as a global style icon, her curvy figure, fiery red locks and curvaceous outfits have won her several awards including World’s Sexiest Woman as voted by Esquire magazine. Get the Joan Holloway look with perfectly tailored dresses, fitted olive green blazers, high-necked cropped jumpers and wiggle skirts. 

Hannah Horvath and Jessa Johansson in Girls

For any graduate who is feeling a little apathetic and unenthused about the future, there’s Girls, a hilarious and heart-wrenching coming of age series set in present day New York that never fails to bring cheer.
Hannah Horvath’s endless wit and talent for getting involved in the most awkward situations has us laughing, cringing and nodding along in relation to similar instances. Then, there’s Jessa Johansson, a well-travelled hipster who appears to have the world at her feet but is consumed with existentialism issues and a disregard for the conventional world of work. 

Style: Tall and lean, Jessa can often be spotted wearing mom jeans, fedora hats and bohemian printed flowing shirts, while small and petite Hannah covets quirky tea dresses, plaid prints and kooky tattoos.

Margaret Thompson in Boardwalk Empire 

Boardwalk Empire focuses on prohibition in America, which occurred during the 1920’s and 30’s, and is packed full of dazzling style, scandalous adultery and power struggles between political figures and mobsters. Within the chaos is Margaret Schroeder, an Irish immigrant who has humble beginnings as the long suffering wife of a tyrant but is transformed when she remarries the town’s mayor, Enoch Thompson. Margaret is the second main character in Boardwalk Empire and has appeared in every single episode bar one.

Style: Almost overnight Margaret goes from rags to riches, leaving dowdy outfits behind in place of glitzy diamonds, embellished shift dresses and fancy hairstyles. 

Who's your favourite television character? We love to discover a new style icon, so, share your characters' photos with us on Twitter by tagging @Nica_Handbags or on Instagram @nicahandbags with #NicaStyleIcons. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Autumnal Prints: Wonderful Watercolours vs. Delightful Dots

As the nights grow longer and autumn is quickly approaching, you’re probably finding yourself reaching for a seasonal palette of rich olives and luxurious browns. Well, why not break away from the usual and switch your classic block colours for a pretty autumnal print? Our new seasonal Nica prints are arriving, and here are two of our favourites that we want to share with you!

Delightful Dots
Polka dots are one of those trends that never really seem to go out of fashion but add a Miu Miu catwalk and appearance upon an international style icon such a Kate Middleton into the mix, and it’s one of this season’s most desirable prints again! 

Upon a palette of rich blue, our seasonal dot print is aflutter with the addition of pretty little birds within the pattern, and adorning an array of styles including the classic satchel and backpack

Wonderful Watercolours
Our Senior Designer Nica Kim has often explained here on the blog how her designs are inspired by an array of mediums from nature to art, and you can clearly see this in our latest floral watercolour print. Autumnal hues are key with the kitsch addition of leopards and birds camouflaged within the pattern. It's definitely one of our favourite prints to date! 

Now, that only leaves one question, have you decided to switch your classic handbag for a print this A/W? Tell us on Twitter by tagging @Nica_Handbags with #NicaPrints. 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Blogged: Discover How The Magpie Girl is Styling the Alicia Satchel

We love discovering new ways to style up our Nica Handbags, and there’s no better way than seeing how some of our favourite Bloggers do it. Our iconic Alicia Satchel was recently reviewed upon The Magpie Girl’s blog, who spent a weekend at the coast with the bag!

She styled the handbag beautifully by opting for a bold blue skirt, polka dot top, and matching tan shoes. You can check out her full review upon her blog 

Why not show us how you’re styling your own Nica Handbags by tagging your photos @Nica_Handbags on Twitter and @nicahandbags on Instagram.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Coffee Table Reading: Some of our Favourite Magazines

As we wave goodbye to light filled evenings, the prospect of curling up on the sofa with a great magazine, cup of tea and warm blanket seems more and more appealing. Perhaps it’s time to settle down and give in to couch potato season once and for all, but before we do, we’re seeking out some fantastic coffee table reads to make us feel inspired throughout the colder months. Read on for Nica’s favourite magazines:

Oh Comely

Packed in between glossy weeklies and gossip mags, Oh Comely stands out as an enigma. A glance at the pretty, minimalist cover doesn't give much away which only serves to heighten the viewer’s curiosity and you’ll soon find yourself delving into the content driven magazine which focuses on art, craft, music, people and places. 

Each issue takes on a different theme be it space, travel or an iconic exploration of breakfast, lunch and dinner food! This is the kind of magazine which warms the heart and inspires creativity, leaving the reader feeling motivated and driven. Notable regular features include a handwritten office playlist and zany craft tutorials such as building a wooden boat and mini space rocket.
Magazine Mantra: Keep your Curiosity Sacred.

I-D Magazine

Over its 34 year run, this iconic fashion and youth culture magazine has seen the likes of Kate Moss, Georgia Jagger and Scarlet Johansson grace its front cover. Pioneers of documentary photography, I-D magazine has a strong focus on photographing people in a ‘straight up’ fashion which offers viewers a sneak peek into the subject’s life.

The main purpose of the magazine is to offer its readers a source of fashion inspiration, what started out as a project to capture the street style of London punks during the 1980’s has gone on to become a globally recognised fashion magazine which isn't afraid to stand out from the crowd.

Lionheart Magazine

Lionheart magazine is a little harder to track down than Oh Comely and I-D, their few stockists are dotted around the UK, leading most readers to subscribe via the magazines official website. This is an enchanting publication written by creatives for creatives and similar to Oh Comely focuses upon people and inspiration with smatterings of fashion and music.

From bravery to happiness, Lionheart magazine also takes on a motivational theme each month to engage and inspire the reader, the entire publication is bursting with character and illustrated to perfection while the tone and direction of the magazine feels like a cosy catch up with an old friend.
Magazine Mantra: A beautiful magazine with mighty roar in its heart.

We hope that you've enjoyed reading through our selection! Share your favourite magazines with us by tagging @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Discover Nica's Design Inspirations: Timeless Tomboy Aesthetic

“Tomboys are confident, rebellious, and adventurous.
They are bold, brazen, fierce—and sexy.”

- Lizzie Garrett Mettler, Author of Tomboy Style

As I was coming up with new ideas for the Nica AW 2013 season, I came across this amazing style book by Lizzie Garrett Mettler, whose blog called ‘Tomboy Style’ is one of my favourite fashion blogs!!

The book is filled with beautiful photographs of iconic women, who just use their natural instincts as to create beautiful, effortless looks. It's a real source of fashion inspiration!The pictures that I've chosen here, feature women with an array of different yet cool looks.

The tomboy style has actually been a  women’s fashion staple since the early 20th century. Coco Chanel and her Matelot borrowed unconventional materials like jerseys and tweeds to emancipate women from the immobility of tired classical clothing trends in the early 20th century. In a way, ever since Yves Saint Laurent created the classic Le Smoking tuxedo suit for women, in hand with, a vibrant, free-spirited approach appearing upon the streets in the 1960's, the intrigue of the androgynous tomboy aesthetic has boomed!

(Left)Coco Chanel (Right) YSL- Le Smoking suit

As far as my wardrobe is concerned, I prefer to style my outfits in a tomboy-yet-girlie way! It’s very fun to mix and match some of my favourites with some new twists as to change things up a bit, and make the rebellious tone of Tomboy style more refined and sweetish. You can mix masculine pieces with feminine highlights like a floral shirt, a great pair of jeans or shorts, and a lovely vintage handbag.

Image Source: Left and Centre, Right

So, of course, I love Alexa Chung’s fashion sense! Her girlie tomboy look is really played down with lovely casual-classic pieces but still injected with individual modern twists! It's distinctive and individual, and I love it!

I wanted to capture the Tomboy style's spirit of fun and confidence in my A/W 13 Nica collection, and I hope that you love it just as much as I do! Why not share how your styling your Tomboy infused handbags with us @Nica_Handbags on Twitter or @nicahandbags on Instagram. 

Nica Kim