While we were on holiday, I published a post containing the questions that I am most frequently asked by readers and journalists. A few days later I received an email from Zoe who said, “come on Nikki, you must have bigger plans for Midlifechic. You’ve created something special here, I can’t believe someone like you doesn’t have a dream.” Of course Zoe was right. Niggling away at the back of my mind there is always my love for retail and the thought that I know what midlife women want.

The background

For a while when I was at Selfridges, I worked very closely with one of the geniuses of retail. Between us we had a plan to develop the third floor into the ‘perfect’ destination. We wanted to collate the ultimate edit of core wardrobe pieces – the perfect black trousers, the perfect white shirt… With her eye for design (she was French and had trained in Paris) and my understanding of the consumer, the leadership team were right behind us. Unfortunately life intervened and I went off on maternity leave whilst she became the powerhouse behind a former Spice Girl’s designer label.

The lucky coincidences

The idea has never left me though and through a series of serendipities it is stirring again. First came Zoe’s email which rekindled the flame. Lying by the pool I formulated a few ideas. Then, a few days later I went to meet the chap we know who was making the orange leather bags that so many readers had asked me to bring home. In true Ottoman style, he had a cornucopia of other designs that he wanted to show me. Gradually a plan began to form.

I went up and down the hill to his office so many times in the baking heat. On the last occasion, the owner of a chic London boutique was there. When I heard the astronomical prices that she was charging for his bags, my mind was made up. I knew I could bring lovely simple style to you at a much lower price than anyone else. You see I am not greedy for maximum margin, I just want to see if I can make this thing work.

The first products in Midlifechic Boutique

So, I have invested the money that Midlifechic has accrued over its three and a half years of existence along with some of my rainy day money too. I have bought my first batch of bags and I will be selling these at a test price to gauge interest in styles and colours. It’s a learning exercise for me and as long as I can at least cover my costs, I’m happy. I’m taking baby steps into the world of retail because I know it is a world fraught with ditches and hurdles.

Ultimately though, I am hoping that I will be able to bring you those ‘perfect’ pieces. They will always be the simple, high quality items that I am forever on a quest for. This week I’ve been working hard on the design of my first piece of clothing which I am hoping will be delivered in a few weeks time. For now though, let’s go back to the bags I have sourced. Some are available immediately and the more expensive ones can be made to order. I can even do international delivery this time which is exciting.

Midlifechic Boutique Bag Collection

In my view, there are two types of bag that work the hardest. One is the show off statement bag which livens up simple outfits. The other is the workhorse bag that goes with everything and never lets you down. As you go through my range, you will be able to see which is a show off and which is a workhorse. Of course in my opinion everyone needs at least one of each…

Let me remind you of how I have been showcasing them and then at the end I’ll take you through to the shop where you can see more detail.

The Tricolor Tote

These bags are capacious enough for an iPad, an A4 notebook, purse, keys, phone, make-up bag, tissues and everything else you probably carry around with you. The upper sections are made from high quality suede and the lower part is leather. They are made to order and come in five different colourways. You can also buy a matching clutch and there is a discount for a matching set.

Suede and leather foldover bags

The Tricolor Tote in berry, taupe and black – other colours available

The Tricolor Clutch

Because this matches the Tricolor Tote, it is especially useful for desk to dinner situations. Thanks to its triangular shape, you can fit more into it than a regular evening clutch. It is available to buy separately in three colourways (burgundy, taupe and black; yellow, taupe and black; black suede and leather) and these are in stock for immediate delivery.

Midlifechic Boutique Bag Collection

The Tricolor Clutch in berry, taupe and black – other colours avaiable

Midlifechic Boutique Bag Collection

The Tricolor Clutch in yellow, taupe and black – other colours available

The Handsfree Clutch

For a while I have been looking to replace my simple zip top clutches that come from Whistles (my workhorses) with something that is just as minimal but easier to handle when you have a drink or plate in your hand. These are the bags that the London boutique lady was snapping up. In my opinion, mine are better because I changed the lining from plain cotton to a much higher quality fabric and added some features. Plus she is charging £120 for hers and I am not!

Silver leather clutch bag with wrist strap

The Handsfree Clutch in silver – lots of other colours available

They come in a range of seven different colours. I have worked in all of the little things that I want most from an evening bag – slots for your credit cards, a leather cased vanity mirror for lipstick touch ups, a light coloured lining so that you can find things easily in a dark room and a wrist strap so that you can go ‘hands free’ when you need to hold a glass and plate.

The Luxury Tote

These are made to order so will take about 30 days to arrive. The leather is calfskin and they have a contrasting leather lining. The sides close with high quality poppers so the gusset expands if you have a lot to carry. A strong magnetic clasp holds the bag closed when you are on the move.

They are large enough to hold a 15 inch laptop and still have room for a notebook, purse etc. There is a detachable wallet inside – great for keeping your keys and lipstick in or even for using as a small clutch. There are also pockets for anything that you need to keep separate such as your phone or passport. The handles are padded so they won’t cut into your fingers if you are carrying a heavy load and the tote comes with a detachable shoulder strap too.

Red leather tote bag

The Luxury Tote in scarlet – other colours available

The ‘Pop of Colour’

This is the bag that is commented on so often in my posts. Lots of readers ordered one this summer and I brought an extra one back. When that has gone, they will be available to order. A simple unlined bucket bag, they include a detachable pouch and a locking strap that twists through the nickel slot. It is also available to order in scarlet, purple or taupe.

Orange leather bucket bag

The Pop of Colour in orange – other colours available

Shop the Midlifechic Boutique

The clutch bags are available now but in limited numbers, the totes will be made to order. Remember that I have secured special prices this time as a test run. If I order them again, I probably won’t be able to do them at the same price.

So, without any more chat, I’ll leave you to go through to the Midlifechic Boutique – if anything doesn’t work, give me a shout, I’ll be around all weekend. To anyone who buys anything – thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Right now I’m really wondering if I’ve done the right thing – let’s see!

And if you’re wondering where I’ve got to with the next blogger sale, I’ve had a huge clearout and I’m just in the process of laundering everything. I’m going as fast as I can but it will be closer to the end of October by the time everything is washed, photographed and listed. With that sale I will be donating some of the proceeds to the Bloodwise charity again. Have a great weekend everyone, I’ll be back next week.

Disclosure: Midlifechic Boutique Bag Collection is not a sponsored post

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