The name of the brand actually sums up this stylish lady perfectly well since Seema Malhotra definitely stands out from any crowd…
You may recognise the raven-haired beauty from TV show The Real Housewives of Cheshire but in the true spirit of Ladies Pass It On, I was keen to find out more about the brand behind this no-nonsense business-woman and the story of her staggering success. Seema was kind enough to entertain my questions this week as part of our inspirational Ladies At Work feature…
Seema, I love Forever Unique and whilst your life is undoubtedly glamorous, it must take a huge amount of work to keep continuously expanding and creating as you are. What’s a typical day like for you?
While there is certainly a glamorous aspect to working in fashion, there’s also a lot of not-so-glamorous aspects that go on behind the scenes. I always start my day responding to emails and if I’m not travelling abroad to see a client or factory, I’ll head into the office and spend a lot of time with the design team working on next season’s collection. What I love most about my job is that every day is different and I’m always faced with new challenges.
Can you tell us a little about how the label came about and where it all began?
When I first met my husband Sandeep he was helping to run his parents’ fashion empire, which involved buying and selling to various suppliers in London, Paris and Turkey. Seeing how successful their business became gave us the motivation to goon and start up a fashion brand of our own.
Starting a new business can be extremely hard and sometimes disheartening – was your journey to success a smooth one or did you ever feel like giving up?
Every journey has its ups and downs, but if you’re really passionate about something it’s important to never give up. Of course, I’ve had days where things weren’t going as smoothly as they should, but I always knew in my heart that I would keep going.
Was there a defining moment you suddenly realised the brand was a big success?
The pivotal moment for me would have to be when some of my favourite stars began buying into the brand. Miley Cyrus wore our popular ‘Shimmer’ dress from our SS13 collection on the front cover of Cosmopolitan back in 2013, which was a really exciting time for us.
How do you gleam inspiration for your new collections and who do you admire most within your industry?
I get to travel a lot with my job, so I like to take style inspiration from trends all over the world. I particularly admire Victoria Beckham’s work ethic and the impact she’s made on the fashion industry.
Forever Unique is famed for its glamorous dresses guaranteed to wow any room but I recently fell in love with a few of your fabulous jackets! I’d love to know what your favourite pieces are/have been and why?
As much as I love the glitz and glamour of our evening dresses, I’ve been wearing a lot of the ready-to-wear pieces in the collection. The ‘Jones’ military style jacket was my favourite piece of AW16; its versatility meant that I could wear it as a jacket in the day and as a dress with heels in the evening.
Would you recommend pursuing a career in this industry? What are the plus points and downfalls in your opinion?
I made a move into the fashion industry 23 years ago and haven’t looked back since. The plus points are being able to work alongside my husband Sandeep and being surrounded by a supportive, hardworking team. The downfalls are few and far between, but if you’re not cut out for working long hours then it’s not the industry for you.
Ladies Pass It On is all for giving advice and women supporting other women – what advice have you been given in the past that still resonates with you today?
I was always told to follow your dreams and never give up. I’ve been working in the fashion industry for 23 years and it’s only in the last 5 years that things have started to pick up. Never be complacent because that’s when things are going to fall. Be able to take criticism and don’t be put down. Work from it and work hard. If you have the vision you can get there.
What would you most like people to know about Forever Unique that they perhaps don’t already?
Sandeep and I came up with the idea for Forever Unique one evening inside a small room within an old building in Manchester. We’d drive back and forth to London in a van almost every day to transport stock, working up to 18 hours a day. From a two-man team and one warehouse to 40 members of staff and showrooms all over the world, it’s fair to say that we’ve come a long way!
We are very excited to be able to offer you our very own Ladies Pass It On 15% DISCOUNT CODE to be used with the new Forever Unique collection.
Valid from 13-20th January only – don’t miss out, simply enter the code LADIES15 at the checkout.