Brand Bini

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The term Personal Branding sounds rather serious and corporate but as a Personal Stylist its something I do do everyday. Whether you are a business woman or not, the way you present yourself to the world through what you wear is the ultimately the first thing people will notice about you.  

My main aim when I meet a client is to not change them, but to enhance them, bring their character out, polish their look so they can present themselves to the world more confidently. 

Very often clients call me when their lives are making a change. They could be re-starting work, re-building their career, starting a new business venture and I'm there to fine tune the look they need to suit the environment they are placing themselves in.

 Bini when we first met.

Bini when we first met.

This brings me on to talk about Bini Ludlow. Bini and I met 8 years ago, at the start of her business running her cookery school Sweet Cumin. Although incredibly confident with her teaching and cooking she had been thrown into the limelight by being featured on a cooking competition for television. 

'I need to look the part, I don't want to just look like a tomboy who cooks' said Bini. We were attending a WI event where I had taught 100 women to wear leather. Bini was stood in shorts and t-shirt and I was thrilled to create looks to take her to the public place she was to be transmitted. 

8 years on. Bini's business has flourished. She has won 11 Great Taste awards, (the award list is too many to even list), but most proud of her Champion product award for her classic chicken curry that she was taught as a child by her mother in India. She stands aside top Michelin chefs at so many food exhibitions and events. Her cookery school is over subscribed and she has now taken on selling her curries to 45 suppliers with www.binifinefoods.com. Bini is a business women and heads up the Area Lead for Somerset and is a member of the Women's Taskforce covering the South West. 

Bini, is a brand, her brand and its my job to make sure Bini looks the part.

She has very kindly agreed to me sharing her style story. She's my perfect client. Time poor, hates shopping, a  business women who needs a fabulous organised wardrobe.

The real Bini would rather be in shorts and t-shirts cooking all day but she recognises through the help of a stylist that her brand needs to be reflected through her clothes. 

Because I know Bini so well, all we need each season is conversation. I then source, style and purchase her wardrobe for her. Her beautiful Indian skin tone  allows her to wear strong bright colours. She's petite so fitted clothes work well for her but because she has a curvy bust and tiny hips, graphic prints work better than colour block. Her style requires an element of tailoring and nothing fussy at all.

Her working days are a mix of business meetings (selling her readymade curries to retailers) , cooking demonstrations at large food events, chairing business meetings and Award evenings. Then she's in the kitchen cooking her readymade meals or with her cookery school.

Because Bini is petite she is fortunate to fit into high street brands (where as before  she only shopped designer). For this seasons shop,  I wanted to bring in some modern high-end high-street brands so introduced her to Massimo Dutti and Kitri. I also wanted to edge up her daily look so introduced some leather to her look.

My aim this season was to get Bini:

A Statement blazer, 2 printed dresses, some leather, new demin, a jumpsuit, fresh printed blouses, a shirt dress. 

Doing a Personal Shop at home enables me to style her new garments with her current wardrobe from past shops, so we were utilising everything and making sure we get value for wear. The photos are also extremely important for Bini to use and refer to daily.

1st up was the tuxedo Jumpsuit by Kitri. Bini fell in love. It fitted her perfectly (size 8) and we mixed with current blue blazer and heels.

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I wanted Bini to have some new shaped trousers so these smart cotton culottes were perfect. Yes! someone under 5 ft can wear these.

Teamed with soft printed silk shirt Massimo Dutti and blazer as before and

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Perfect for Awards evenings, black tie do's and meetings. 

Tomato Red blazer by Massimo Dutti 

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Graphic shirt by Mango

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This navy shirt dress by Kitri was a fabulous flattering fit and I taught Bini to wear it dressed down with white trainers and jersey blazer by Kettlewell Colours and then worn with heels for meetings. 

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Its also really important that Bini's look is really comfortable so I've kept a sporty edge to her style.

Leather style skirt by Biba at House of Fraser and blouse as before by Mango

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This skirt can also be worn in the autumn with tights, ankle boots and knitwear. 

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For a more casual look, I introduced some light cropped coloured smart jeans (Massimo Dutti) that Bini could mix with her shirts (Massimo Dutti) and jackets offering a smart but casual look. These offer her an alternative to the black Biba ones I've styled her in before.

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So Brand Bini for this season (and next) is organised. After one Personal Shop and look-book styling session she is styled and organised and ready to go

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It was important Bini had some easy, powerful, punchy dresses to wear to evening events so I chose Issa for House of Fraser. Great fabric, doesn't crease can be worn every season and they won't date.

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'If you want to feel confident and look amazing then Natasha is the perfect choice. She has a brilliant ability to mix and match a wardrobe to suit different occasions. The photo montage of the various outfits are a fantastic touch to remind you of the various styles that she will  create. Highly recommend if you don’t have time to go shopping.'

Bini Ludlow, Owner of Sweet Cumin www.sweetcumin.co.uk

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'If you want to feel confident and look amazing then Natasha is the perfect choice. She has a brilliant ability to mix and match a wardrobe to suit different occasions. The photo montage of the various outfits are a fantastic touch to remind you of the various styles that she will  create. Highly recommend if you don’t have time to go shopping.'

Bini Ludlow, Owner of Sweet Cumin www.sweetcumin.co.uk