UK Womenswear Brand Hope Launches Aimed At 40+

Nayna McIntosh Hope Clothing


The Daily Mail in UK reports the launch of new direct selling fashion brand Hope Clothing that targets women over 40.  Founded by former Marks & Spencers executive Nayna McIntosh, Hope’s womenswear collection is designed to empower and inspire the 40 plus woman, who are typically ignored by high street brands and online retailers.

According to McIntosh, Hope's clothes are easy to wear and offer a flattering silhouette. Clothesare sold in pop-up boutiques hosted by stylists in their homes.

Below is the Daily Mail article about a Hope pop-up boutique hosted at a hair salon.

The weather was miserable in the picturesque village of Goring, Oxfordshire. It was the sort of evening you'd pay to stay at home.

But nothing was going to stop Ann Grosfort, 66, from attending this evening's pop-up boutique at her local hair salon for new fashion brand Hope – a womenswear collection for those over 45, who feel alienated by High Street fashion but aren't averse to combining clothes shopping with chit-chat and a glass of fizz.

Chauffeured to the door by her husband, Ann reclines on a sofa, resplendent in a cherry red dress which she has slipped on over skinny cords.

Around her, there's the buzz of conversation, as 35 women discuss, browse, and intermittently vanish behind a partition to whip on a cream wrap top or bright dress. Social selling has come a long way since our mothers attended their first Tupperware party.

If the response of tonight's guests is any indication, its resurgence is imminent. Hope is a new brand, but one without a shop front or catalogue. Clothes and accessories are sold via reps – called stylists – who host pop-up boutiques at their home or a business venue.

If guests like the look of an item, they try it on, pay by card, and the stylist orders it from the Hope website. The product is then dispatched, arriving in a day or two.

While a few UK companies sell jewellery and bags this way – think Stella & Dot – it's revolutionary in terms of clothes. The woman to thank is Hope's founder, Nayna McIntosh, who has 12 years experience at Marks & Spencer, initially as sales and marketing director of Per Una.

Nayna, 53, believes women on the wiser side of 40 prefer a more 'emotional' shopping experience. And her revival of social selling has won the backing of Stuart Rose, her former boss at Marks & Spencer and one of the company's leading investors.

Most of the clothes are easy to throw on, designed to 'drape and flatter, to create a beautiful silhouette'.

There are also a wide range of black staples – relaxed leggings and slimming trousers. 'For most women, black is comfort,' says Nayna, nodding at my dark trousers.

Hope's seven-strong team range from 44 to 60 years old, from size 10-20 and any garment that made the collection, says Nayna, 'had to look good on all of us'. She adds: 'I know this customer, because I am this customer. Most of us feel ten years younger than our actual age.'

She's also dispensed with traditional sizing. 'If a brand does sizing in 18-20,' says Nayna, 'they generally talk about extra large. Who the hell wants to be seen as extra large?'

When Nayna first discussed Hope with Stuart Rose, former executive chairman of M&S, he said: 'Oh, you're doing the Avon Lady thing!.'

But he didn't mean it as a criticism. 'It's back to the future, Nayna, he told me. It's how we used to sell.'

And judging by the sales tonight it could well work. After two hours watching everyone flounce and swirl, I order a black-and-white poncho. It's soft, warm, and soon it will be mine.


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