Best Friends Suki & Poppy On Building A Brand Together

Photo: Sophie Hart
Ever decided with your best friend that you're going to go into business together? Yes, us too. But rather than a distant pipe dream, conjured up half-heartedly in the pub, model/actress Suki Waterhouse and BFF presenter Poppy Jamie have made that dream a reality, launching their own accessories line last month. If you haven't already seen it on the arms of Cara Delevingne, Georgia May Jagger, Jessica Alba and just about every It Girl worth her salt, the Pop & Suki range includes a camera bag and tote available in pretty pastels and classic colours. You can then add playful chains, charms and tassels or even print your name on the bag – this is customising heaven – and there are equally cute necklaces bejewelled with rose quartz, onyx, blue lapis and amethyst. Ahead of Beauty Con London this Saturday, where Poppy and Suki will be appearing, we caught up with the effervescent duo to discuss building a brand, personal style and working with your best friend.

When did you and Poppy conceive the idea of starting a brand together? What was it in response to?

Poppy: We came up with the idea for Pop & Suki when we were vintage shopping in LA. We were having one of those rough weeks when everything was pretty stressful and suddenly we became really inspired by this bag we found, and started brainstorming how we could make it ourselves. We were living together at the time so we spent days and weeks afterwards scrolling through Pinterest building up our vision and aesthetic preferences. We are both horrifically messy so the bag was in response to us trying to design something that could match all scenarios in life. Morning, noon and night, constantly on the go. Suki: I think our bond kind of surprised us, and it was a huge relief to find a giggling partner out in the jungle of LA. It sounds a little woo woo but it felt like a karmic connection. Sometimes you meet people and things are just meant to be. We wanted to create a Pop & Suki world, and high-quality simple products for girls on the go.

Suki, did meeting designers, stylists and creative directors throughout your modelling career help you understand how to start your own brand?
Suki: Definitely. I think it's been invaluable. I learnt a lot being in the Burberry family, where everyone is valued and respected and there's a strong team ethos. If there is love within the team this comes out through the products and you have a happy customer, which is the most important thing.

What were the trickiest parts of the journey?
Poppy: Hmm, I think probably trying to find our manufacturing partner and making sure the quality of the bags was up to standard. So the production side of things took a little longer than expected. We went through many samples!
What was it like working with your best friend?
Poppy: The absolute DREAM! I have to say, Pop & Suki to me is like my favourite hobby. It doesn't feel like a job, it's the time of the day I get to be creative and gossip with my best friend. What more could I possibly ask for?

Who would you love to see wearing your products? Who are your style icons?
Suki: I'd love to see someone who's bought it walking down the street! My style icon is Anita Pallenberg, no one does it quite like her. Poppy: Ohhhh Michelle Obama!!

How has your personal style evolved since you started your career?
Suki: Well, when I started modelling I remember a casting director telling me I better start dressing like a girl. I was allergic to heels or dresses or anything that wasn't really baggy. I enjoy all the extremes of fashion now and experimenting for different moments.

What are your biggest style influences?
Poppy: Well, I love '60s influences like Brigitte Bardot but more modern icons would be women like Sienna Miller. Just always so chic. My favourite brands range from smaller ones like Rixo London – I love their dresses – to brands I utterly lust after like Gucci and Miu Miu. I admire Erdem and Christopher Kane for their consistently amazing collections I wish I could wear the whole time!
Photo: Courtesy of POPANDSUKI
Photo: Courtesy of POPANDSUKI
When do you feel most empowered and beautiful?
Suki: Probably dancing naked doing karaoke in my flat. Alanis is my favourite. Poppy: Great question. I feel most empowered when I am speaking about things I care about most. I recently did a TED talk about how technology is affecting our mental health and I so passionately believe we can all live happier lives if we start looking after our minds in the right way, so I suppose the passion inside helps me feel empowered. I felt most beautiful when I saw some pictures from a recent shoot and it reminded me of the best day spent laughing and laughing. (The touch up airbrushing definitely helped the beauty!)

If you had five minutes to get ready in the morning, what would you do?
Poppy: Meditate. Brush teeth. Put on some mascara. Suki: Brush up my eyebrows, brush my teeth, douse myself in Ylang Ylang oil.

What do you love most about each other?
Suki: Where to start... She's so positive and kind, I actually really love it when she gets cross and tells someone off. I don't know, it really makes me giggle. Poppy: She is a soulmate! I love her attitude to life. She works harder than anyone I know, she is an optimist, has an adventurous spirit, her sense of humour has me in hysterics daily, she is the most fun person to spend time with and is deeply caring. She mothers everyone around her. I feel very lucky to have found a friend like her! Follow Pop & Suki on Instagram @popandsuki Beauty Con London takes place on Saturday 3 December at Olympia. Tickets are available here.

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