We chat to footwear designer and entrepreneur Nicola Sexton about all things beauty, career advice, and of course…gorrrrgeous luxury footwear! We just love Nicola and her amazing designs!
We absolutely looove your designs! Can you tell us a bit about how you started your career?
Thank you! I originally started my journey in footwear on the retail side with a boutique in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in 2010. We sold high end European brands that I’d discovered during my years working in Monaco. A couple of years in, I realised that there was a market amongst my customers for more ‘wearable everyday shoes’, timeless classics but with a modern twist at a more reasonable price point. I launched my first collection at the boutique in 2012 which soon became best-sellers. Shortly after, a jewellery agent asked to take the collection to a trade show and from there, the collection is now available at footwear stores, ladies clothing boutiques and even lifestyle stores throughout the UK, Ireland and USA.
What has been one of your best career highlights so far?
There are a few moments that come to mind. Obviously as a still relatively young brand, the recognition at various footwear awards has been very rewarding especially amongst such esteemed company. However I think the biggest highlight for me is whenever our customers become repeat customers which they very often do. That to me is the biggest sign that I’m doing something right!
What was your inspiration behind the brand?
My inspiration was to create a collection that doesn’t compromise on quality or design but is accessible price wise to wider customer base. We’ve had everyone from Joanna Lumley and Lorraine Kelly all the way to Amber and Yasmin Le Bon to Kara Tointon to name a few in our shoes and I think that’s testament to the collections appealing to a cross generational audience.
I love that Dr.Lipp products are all natural which is particularly important to me when applying a product to my mouth. I also love that it’s a multi-use product which is so convenient when I’m on the road as often as I am. One tube to address many concerns – brilliant
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Looking back, it was definitely a challenge juggling a flourishing shoe business whilst running a busy footwear boutique. Both businesses required my undivided attention and so we made a decision at the beginning of the year to channel all our energies in the Nicola Sexton brand. Fortunately, my daughter Charlotte works with me in the business and so we were able to get through it together.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To trust your gut which is something I’ve always lived by and to also seek help when required. It’s a piece of advice I share with my daughters to this day as a problem shared is a problem halved.
What is an average day like for you?
Since lockdown, my routine has changed a lot. Nowadays, I tend to start the day quite early, catching up on any emails that have come in overnight, an exercise class and/or a long walk to boost my energy levels for the rest of the day. Then it’s a shower, breakfast and back to my desk for calls and emails with the factory, my stores, my wider team etc. At some point in the afternoon, I’ll pop in to see my father for a quick cup of tea then back home for dinner with my daughters.
What do you do in your down time? (if you have any!! Haha)
Ordinarily, I love to travel. Having worked abroad for several years and with travel being a large part of my working life to date, it’s something I have missed this year. Since lockdown, I’ve tried to spend more time learning my way around my garden which a little neglected during the years I was tied up with the shop.
Which beauty products can you not live without?
I have a relatively simple skincare regime so a good cleanser, day / night cream and eye cream are my go-to products. However I do like make up, particularly lipstick. Since my favourite MAC colour was discontinued, I now really enjoy trying new products and new shades – it’s the little girl in me! Dry lips have always been a bugbear so the Dr Lipp Lip Tint collection is a perfect all in one.
Can you tell us your best beauty tips?
Keep it simple and don’t over complicate your regime. That way, you’re more likely to maintain it consistently!
What is next for you professionally and personally?
We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to improve the online experience for our customers over this period and have also hosted a couple of pop ups in our garden when the regulations permitted. We love nothing more than meeting our customers in person so we’ve really enjoyed hosting them. I’m also in the process of designing my AW21 collection which is my favourite part of the job!
If you could encourage others to make one lifestyle change today, what would it be?
Digital detoxing and to learn to switch off periodically. It’s something I’m also trying to learn myself especially as we transition to working more from home!