2021, along with 2020, haven’t been great years as far as travel and exotic beach holidays are concerned. As Autumn approaches the Northern Hemisphere, and the gradual easing of travel rules, have made the prospect of catching some winter sun very enticing indeed. Those in the Southern Hemisphere have got long summer days to look forward to. So, now is a great time to introduce a young emerging talent in the field of swimwear – Natasha Griggs, founder of Topaz Luxe and talented designer of swimwear. Hi Natasha and welcome!
Hi! My names Natasha Rose Griggs, I am the Creative Director and Founder of Topaz Swim. I am 29 years old living in Cheltenham. Below is a little bit of background behind my career:
I graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Fashion Knitwear Design. During my 4 year degree I was lucky to land myself at high end designer Alexander Mcqueen for 10 months followed by a few smaller internships. After graduating I struggled to find a paid design job, so I spent the next 18months working unpaid for a number of fashion houses including, All Saints & Julien Macdonald, where I hand crafted 2 floor length gowns that were featured on Kourtney Kardashian & Eva Longoria Parker. One of my proudest moments. I continued to work at a number of suppliers and learnt a lot about the fashion supplier industry. It wasn’t until I landed my first paid job in the industry at Superdry where I was taken on as the Junior Swimwear designer. It wasn’t long before I noticed a huge gap in the market for a boutique brand that represents high quality, luxury and individuality at a competitive price. This is where Topaz really began. Within a year of registering the business I took it upon myself to leave Superdry and focus more on business plans and development of the product. I then went on to become Womenswear Designer at Holland Cooper Clothing for the last 3 years.
What inspired the launch of Topaz Luxe?
It wasn’t until I landed my first paid job in the industry at Superdry where I was taken on as the Junior Swimwear designer. It wasn’t long before I noticed a huge gap in the market for a boutique brand that represents high quality, luxury and individuality at a competitive price. This is where Topaz really began. Within a year of registering the business I took it upon myself to leave Superdry and focus more on business plans and development of the product. This was something I dreamed about, I honestly was very scared and backed the brand after many many pitches to investors and banks with a large amount of investment to go all in on the brand.
I’m interested in your brand name – Topaz Luxe – why did you specifically pick that name? Were there any other contenders?
The brand, which takes its name from the crystal of love, good fortune and attainment of goals, is made up of the finest aqua marine colours which all reflect the beautiful array of the colours of the ocean. I spent years collecting precious stones and crystals, which is what inspired me for brand. Something I loved and was passionate about.
Topaz is also my birth stone, a stone of which I have many of.
I love the Lana Bikini in Ink Marble from your collection. Simply gorgeous. What designs are most popular amongst your customers at the moment?
The Lana bikini in Ink Marble print design, was purchased from an Australian Print house, which is unique to Topaz Swim. I would say the best selling style currently is Our Sienna Luxe Swimsuit in White and Black and Our Lana in Sparkle and Ink Marble follow closely second.
Do you have a favourite item from your collection?
The Lana Bikini in Ink Marble is my favourite too, The print is so beautiful and Vibrant. I am also obsessed with all my hardware details which are completely bespoke to the brand. These signature details make us really unique and luxurious. Completely designed by myself. I also absolutely love the Sienna Swimsuits, I think they are personally the perfect fit and so flattering.
When designing swimwear to go into your collection, do you go for popular trendy styles and colours, customer requests, personal favourites or do you take all 3 into account?
I don’t really like to follow trends, I designed the brand based on what my customer would like, the customer really being myself. Aimed at a 29 year old, with a steady income, loves fashion and style, and appreciates slow luxury fashion. Enjoys Yoga and health and fitness and wants to look their best in a swimsuit. I liked to design what is right for the brand and the customer I am targeting. When I first started Topaz Swim, I found it very hard to find a brand in the UK that not only was stylish but had high end quality and was luxurious. Finding styles that suited both Smaller chests and Larger chests was also always a challenge.
As you are based in the UK, are your items available to purchase overseas?
Our Collection is currently available to be purchased online, and we ship to internationally. I would like to expand into Resort Hotels abroad, these plans have been in my business plan from day one and am already looking at making the connections to make this possible at the moment. I would love to stock in the leading Resort Hotels around the world.
For every swimsuit sold, you donate to the Marine Conservation Society. What is special to you about that particular charity?
Yes correct, for every swimsuit sold we donate £1 to Marine Conservation Society. I chose Marine Conservation Society because I loved how heavily involved they are with beach clean ups. They work with alot of companies that do charity events to help clean our beaches and protect our oceans. This is something I would love to be involved in in the next couple of years as a company to bring together a community of people that love the brand and want to support the charity and host an event. I also was drawn into the below 3 goals MCS have set out to achieve by 2030:-
–A third of our seas to be truly protected, so nature can recover
– Ocean pollution levels to show a clear downward trend
– Our fish stocks to be at sustainable level.
Your brand has now become a Zero Waste Company – so how did you achieve that aim?
I have a very good relationship with my suppliers and I really wanted to build into my brand from the beginning of my first collection other ways to make the brand sustainable. I worked closely with them to save all left off fabrics/ scraps to recycle and produce matching scrunchies. None of our leftover fabrics are sent to landfill. This is something I am really proud of.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Personal faves : I love a skinny jean, boxy tee with a oversized blazer and white trainer; Ribbed cycling shorts with an oversized shirt or tee and longline denim jacket; High waisted mom jeans with a cropped cami and blazer; or I am a heels, jeans, cami and leather biker kind of girl. Or a blazer. I love a blazer.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Thanks Lavish Alice – Dresses – I usually buy Occasional Dresses from here; Zara & H&M – two of my go to faves; Ella Palm Jewellery – my favourite gold jewellery brand; Gymshark or Nike for Sportswear; TKMAXX – always get some great bag bargains in TK MAXX; Silk Fred is great for summery dresses; Holland Cooper Clothing – Most of my wardrobe is Holland Cooper.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I am looking for summer clothing right now, I love a cute ditsy flower wrap dress. I am also currently looking for some nice summer sandals and high waisted mom jeans with rips.
Boots or Shoes?
Boots and shoes but with heels. I feel like a heel scream “Take Charge, Boss Mode” and I always feel like my outfit is complete with a heel of any kind. I also do love a white trainer with anything
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Topaz Luxe.
Please find below links:www.topazluxe.com
Also Topaz swim can be purchased for boutique Retailers at the below address, https://www.faire.com/brand/b_986w2nr2cu
Are you dreaming of that white sand beach yet????! My thanks to Natasha for joining me on the blog for this interview and for sharing her beautiful designs with us.
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Topaz Luxe