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Behind the Bluebella Brand

Written by - Bluebella
An interview with Bluebella CEO and Founder Emily Bendell, on what it takes to set up your own company, contemporary lingerie and looking to the future.
Emily Bendell Founder of Bluebella
When did you found Bluebella and what was your career before you did?

Bluebella began life in 2006.  I was working as a journalist, fresh out of university and initially I was sourcing boutique lingerie brands that you couldn’t find on the High Street and selling to friends and family and at local events.  It was a way of learning about the market and what customers wanted before deciding to take the full leap and leave my job and start creating my own collections. 

Alix collection - Lingerie

New in Alix collection

Nikita and Nova Pink Sets Lingerie

 Nikita and Nova reinvented in soft pink

What made you want to start up a new lingerie brand?

I have always loved lingerie but I couldn’t find what myself and my friends wanted so I thought I would create it!  To me lingerie was not a binary ‘sexy’ or ‘functional’ purchase.  It was a fashion purchase, an expression of my personal style and personality just like buying shoes or a bag might be.  I wanted a high designed, fashion focused product – and being in my early 20s I also wanted it at an affordable price.  I also felt the imagery and messaging of much of the lingerie industry didn’t speak to me – it was often submissive, narrow and focused on ‘dressing up’ for someone else.  For me wearing amazing lingerie is about strength, attitude, pleasing yourself, feeling great – so I wanted to create a brand that was empowered, and full of strength and sass. 

Stopping traffic at Oxford Circus Campaign

Stopping traffic at Oxford Circus

How would you describe the Bluebella style?

Bluebella is a very contemporary beautiful brand – modernity is at our heart and we love nothing more than a bold strapping detailing, graphic fabric and statement hardware.  And we like to contrast this bold detailing with ultra-feminine fabrics like the wispiest sheer mesh or intricate guipure.  This harmony of strength and femininity reflects our style and that of our community

What makes your designs different to others on the market?

We don’t approach lingerie as something to be hidden or something to be ‘dressed up in’ for someone else.  For us it’s often a fashion crossover piece to be styled up as outerwear or just something to make its wearer feel invincible.  I think this unique take results in a very different offering to other brands.

@joycorrigan in Emilia

Where does the inspiration for Bluebella’s unique campaigns come from?

Bluebella is all about self-love, about feeling strong and beautiful and we have conducted numerous campaigns to promote that important message – from a guerrilla fashion show across Oxford Circus featuring Bluebella Instagram fans to a shoot with Team GB Olympic and Paralympic athletes celebrating the strong female form.  For Valentine’s this year we were looking for women who truly represented our #LoveYourself message and chose transgender activist Munroe Bergdorf as the perfect face of the campaign.  Not only is she fierce, strong, eloquent and beautiful but she has been on a very poignant and inspiring personal journey of self-acceptance so was the perfect face of the campaign.

Munroe Bergdorf - #LoveYourself Campaign

Munroe Bergdorf in our #LoveYourself campaign

Social media users are increasingly invested in ensuring brands are inclusive and using a wide range of body types. Is this something you’re always trying to keep in mind?

Absolutely.  And it’s a journey we are still on.  As a small independent brand we cannot do as much as we want as quickly as we want - we can only run so many shoots and campaigns per year and we have to grow our size range gradually for obvious production reasons.  But we are doing our best and we are committed and its authentic, something we feel very strongly about  – we know there is a long way still to go.

Stef Reid #Loveyourself CampaignJoanne Dion #Loveyourself CampaignElisabetta Soskie #Loveyourself Campaign

Some of our fabulous #LoveYourself Campaigners

What inspires Bluebella’s designs?

We are endlessly inspired by the city around us that we love – London!  The urban landscape, the cosmopolitan people, the mish mash of influences and cultures.

Bluebella Lingerie in London

Taking to the streets of the city we love

How do you spot and stay on top of lingerie trends?

We’re known as a directional brand so often we make the trends.  We do of course look at general fashion trends but actually we are more inspired by our Instagram family, how they style our product, influencers we love, street style, than looking at the lingerie market.

Nyané Lingerie Collection - Blogger Collaboration

@nyane and @amberrrwang in the new Nyané collaboration pieces

What is your most popular design? Why do you think that is?

Nova – it’s the perfect blend of elegant delicacy and provocative bold design.  It has so much love on Instagram it now has its own page!Nova Bra Black 

@blck_only in Nova

How important has Instagram been in building your brand?

It’s been vital.  It’s such a lifeforce – giving us this amazing connected window to our kind of people – a showroom to what we’re all about, but also an opportunity to talk to them, ask them what they think, be genuinely connected to our customer base.  And it also inspires us so much right back – I call it the ‘creative circle’.

@charispixie in Etienne Body

@charispixie in Etienne Body

@_nelly_london in Nova Lingerie

@_nelly_london in Nova

How is Bluebella doing internationally?

We are very much a London brand and everything started with our strong local following, and its been so amazing to see how welcomed we have been into so many new countries since then.  It really shows me that there is a unified need and want for a new kind of sensuality worldwide which I find so gratifying!   We now sell in over 42 countries and growing fast!  We’re also really proud of our amazing retail partners all over the world – all 250 of them! We think it’s really important that our customers can find Bluebella where they love shopping the best – whether that’s on our own direct website, another multi brand site like ASOS, Zalando or Revolve,  or in a department store such as Selfridges, Nordstrom or Bloomingdales.

What are you goals for the future of Bluebella?

Global Domination!  I want Bluebella to be the first thing that springs to mind when a girl thinks she would like some beautiful self-indulgence.

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