The new face of retail: meet the women changing our high streets

6 mars 2019

Although big steps are being made all the time to help rebalance gender inequality, there is still a shocking disparity when it comes to women launching their own businesses. Just one in five start-ups in the UK are led by women and other reports suggest there are twice as many male entrepreneurs as female. However, Appear Here are pushing hard to change that. We’re proud to say that over 70% of ideas on Appear Here are from women.


To celebrate this, and in honour of International Women’s Day, we brought together seven inspiring women from our community for a special photoshoot by the photographer, Hollie Fernando. These women represent the future of retail and show that the industry is becoming more diverse than ever before. Meet the women behind the ideas and hear their advice on starting your own business.

Haeni Kim, Founder, KITRI


Born out of the frustration of not being able to find well-made, distinctive designs that were also affordable, Haeni set out to create her dream clothes. Despite having no formal design training, she created an incredibly successful contemporary womenswear label with beautiful pieces designed by a small team of London-based creatives. KITRI is now stocked in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols and has had two stores with Appear Here in Marylebone and Soho.

Haeni's advice:

“Never compromise with your vision and never be afraid to ask for help!”

Matilda Goad, Founder, Matilda Goad


Matilda’s experience in fashion, interiors, styling and design inform her own playful unique aesthetic which she applies to everything she creates, including her own range of sought-after homeware. Designed to ‘elevate the home with minimum upheaval’, her eclectic pieces range from lampshades and candlesticks to planters and plates and are being stocked in Liberty. Through Appear Here, she’s launched two stores in Chelsea and Notting Hill, bringing to life her lifestyle brand.

Matilda's advice:

“Strive to find the balance between listening to your customers and taking advice from those with the knowledge. Believe and trust your gut instinct on your ideas”

Florence Adepoju, Founder, MDMFlow


After studying Cosmetic Science at London College of Fashion, at just 22, Florence decided to combine all the things she loves (black and gold, hip hop, beauty, fashion and science) and create MDM Flow, a critically-acclaimed cruelty-free make-up range for all skin tones. Starting with handmade lipsticks (turning the shed in her garden into her own laboratory) and moving onto mascara and gloss, she’s been approached by the likes of Topshop and Collette to stock her products. Now she’s looking stateside to build her brand and connect with her ever-expanding fan base.

Florence's advice:

“Don't get caught up comparing your products to others on the market. Find out from your customers what they love about your brand and your USP. Focus on doing more of what makes your business great.”

Alex Hely Hutchinson, Founder, 26 Grains


Alex launched her porridge empire, 26 Grains, from a market stall in Old Street Station. The pop-up was such an amazing success that it gave her the courage to commit to a one year lease in Neal's Yard in Covent Garden. With daily queues building up for her porridge and delicious grain-based dishes, she decided to take on a bigger space next door for the next five years. She has also written a best-selling cookbook detailing her favourite recipes. We can’t wait to see where she goes next.

Alex's advice:

“Make a mission statement and stick to it. It’s very easy to get sidetracked and lose sight of why you started your business and how you want it to grow. Stay true to your idea”

Marina Guergova, Founder, Marina London


Not only does Marina run her own silkwear company called Marina London, she also curates incredibly beautiful retail spaces. She launched five editions of The Basics Store with Appear Here, a stylish concept shop showcasing a collection of independent homeware, womenswear (including her own label), cosmetics and accessories. She also curated the Give & Recieve Store which opened in December 2018 and is currently working with us as part of our new stores team.

Marina's advice:

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Maya Njie, Founder, Maya Njie Perfumes


Inspired by an old family photo album, Maya wanted to capture memories through the power of smell. While working doing other jobs, she taught herself perfumery and her evocative homemade scents were admired so often that she started selling them. In 2016, she officially launched Maya Njie Perfumes and has been selling her creations in boutiques across the UK (including the Give & Receive store) and beyond.

Maya's advice:

“Surround yourself with people who believe in what you do, especially if you’re a 'one woman band’ like I am. The support I have received from professionals and friends that believe in the business has been invaluable to me.”

Charlotte Ferguson, Founder, Disciple Skincare


Psychotherapist Charlotte Ferguson knows that anxiety, stress and low mood can play out on your skin so she wanted to create a natural skincare range for stressed-out skin. Not only do her products help sort out your complexion, but they also soothe internal stress. You can find it stocked in Selfridges and boutiques in London, Greece and Italy.

Charlotte's advice:

“My main piece of advice would be learning to say no. In the beginning, people will ask you to be involved in things that seem like a good idea but ultimately will pull your focus away from what’s important - nurturing your fledgeling business. Being able to discern what is going to be beneficial to your new business and what will take up time and resources is key - your time is super valuable so don’t let yourself be distracted - no matter how flattering it might be!”

Photos by Hollie Fernando