Time flies and all that. This month, online retailer Winser London celebrates its fifth anniversary. I can clearly remember meeting founder, CEO and fashion industry doyenne Kim Winser at the label’s launch, where we discussed what grown-up women really want – and I eulogized over her range of wonderful faff-free clothing. Since then we’ve kept in regular contact, Kim pops up in both my books, and I’ve found her to be generous and kind, happy to encourage and mentor others. Yep, as well as building a company and sticking to the original game plan of creating ageless, effortless style staples to help customers feel confident and chic – Kim is keen to empower other women in the business arena, too. Respect.

We caught up on the phone to chat about five years of Winser London:

 

Kim Winser OBE

 

TNMA: What does building a successful brand feel like?

KW: We are delighted to be where we are after just five years as a brand. The big surprise has been how successful we are now both across the UK and also in exporting to other countries, we have not advertised anywhere until this, our fifth year and so it’s all been word of mouth and social media.

TNMA: What are the five things you’ve learned along the way?

KW: The customers are number one for us in everything we do, they are the reason we are building the business and we will never forget that.

The team are number two. I’ve put together a terrifically talented team of experienced experts coupled with young people straight from education and it’s been a great combination.

The power of digital in all we do, yes I deliberately set us up as a website-centric business, and I still love a shop but we love owning and engaging digital in all aspects of what we do.

Reputation is key. We are honest in all our dealings; we are fair and professional.

And product, product and product. We absolutely love our collection, our team members aged 20 to 60 all wear the designs – and buy them too with their hard earned salaries, which is wonderful to see.


TNMA: Any surprises?

KW: Women finding us from all over the world, so quickly; nearly 20% of our business is now exporting. America, Australia and some European countries are already bringing us big audiences. Maybe this just shows what a small world we now live in, global reach is fairly easy. I watch the top 10 sales everywhere and what’s surprising is that the top 10 in Scotland are virtually the same as the top 10 in Australia, there’s very little difference.

AW: There’s been such a massive shift to online and the way we work/shop/live since you started Winser London, did you know that was going to happen? Did you ever imagine it would be so seismic?

KW: I worked with Natalie Massenet at Net-A-Porter for one-and-a-half-years so I could already see the substantial shift to online ordering and was surprised so many big retailers were so slow to see it too, some today still are struggling. I loved working with Natalie and her team, I have a huge respect for her, she built a superb business. I learnt a lot about the digital space from her.

TNMA: The shift in attitudes and the rise of women dressing in an ageless, more relaxed way is wonderful  – do you think it’s because we are more confident now? We can wear what we like now that there are more women in the workplace, in positions of power?

KW: No question. The fact that women have more of a voice in so many ways helps with confidence and being comfortable with who we are and who we want to be. This can be seen in dressing for the workplace – I was flattered when Angela Ahrendts said, “I want to look good at work and I want to look modern, and you do this and weekend luxe at its best.”

AW: Has your style changed over the last five years?

KW: Yes, I now wear what I feel is appropriate. When I was first on a board of directors I felt I had to be more traditional and wear quite a masculine ‘board room suit’. Now I dress in a much more modern way – as a lot of senior businesswomen do – I still love a trouser suit but now it will clearly be a woman’s suit and not a poor version of a man’s suit.

For Easter weekend, Winser London is offering free P&P to UK and international customers, from Weds 28 March. Simply enter EASTERPACKING at the check out stage of your shopping process. Ends 03.04.2018

20 thoughts on “The rise and rise of ageless style: an interview with Kim Winser

  1. Faff-free, for sure. I love this stuff! The unicolor combinations, the classics done modern. But the aspect of these clothes I like most are their proportions — with tops and third pieces short enough not to cut you in half.

  2. Lovely clothing but no help to anyone over a size 18. I want to buy and wear these clothes but they aren’t my size. Why don’t companies extend their standard range up to – say – size 24? It is incredibly frustrating that clothing companies persist in this idealised woman who has no lumps and bumps, no menopausal weight gain, who wants to look good TODAY while she loses weight. I also take issue with the fabrics in many clothing ranges – usually cr*p synthetics in horrible colours.

    As I say – these are lovely but not aimed at me. And that is very sad.

    1. Hi Deborah, I work for a brand called Seasalt, regularly styling women up to size 20 in the shop & size 26 online, all ethically sourced organic cotton. Certainly not a Windser look, more arty but as well as our terrific basic sailor tops there are a few wardrobe staples, e.g the Gwithian jacket, I sell it every time I style it, in fact I’m wearing my grey one out to dinner tonight with a silk top, cigarette pants, heeled boots & statement earrings…I’ve passed around Alysons books at work during a styling session, everyone loved them…

  3. I’m quite surprised the brand is doing so well overseas as the shipping costs are extortionate. They quote a flat rate of £30 to send to Australia, which is ridiculous if you are buying one or two items. I use Boden and The White Company regularly – Boden charges $10 (about £5) and The White Company does free shipping over a certain cost. I was tempted by the clothing but I won’t be ordering unless they reconsider the shipping.

    1. Hello Nicola, I mentioned this to the team at Winser London HQ and they are actually launching UK & International free P&P to their database tomorrow (Weds 28th March) just for Easter weekend, so if I’ve added all the promo details to the bottom of the post.

  4. Have sent for two or three items but was disappointed – all the wrong shape for me and far too long.Their muted colours don’t suit my skin tone.

  5. I would just like to say I discovered your blog last week by chance and I am enjoying reading it very much.

  6. Kim Winser is a genius! I met her when she was at M&S, where she radiated competence and complete mastery of her department.
    Winser London is one of the best at the moment, but I would love to see them work with even older models now that there are some; also petite and non-size 8 models!

  7. I just wanted to agree with others. I do love the clothing, but find it mostly too long, which is such a pity, especially for anything remotely tailored, as the garment proportions are too long for my body. Obviously designed for that tall, svelte figure.

  8. I love faff free – at this point in my life who wants to bother with fussy anything! It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to look great and feel great. Clothing like this is clean and stylish. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I love Winser and always make feel great when I wear.

    Never any problem with length but that could be because I like my dresses on or belwo the knee as above my knees is not my best feature and not yet bought any trousers.

    Always look out for sale as always a proper sale!

  10. I agree with everything Deborah says. My other beef is sizing – I’m a size 18 but always have to take a size down of everything to the change room. It means I have no confidence to reliably buy online.

  11. I try to aspire to the ‘Winser’ faff-free, luxe classic aesthetic to appear all slick and tasteful but, personally, do feel that for me it needs some zhooshing up with bold jewellery/scarves/footwear etc. Maybe I am just a bag-lady at heart!

  12. Winser clothes are the ones in the wardrobe you wear and wear, their versatility and fabric quality always gives you condence that you are the best version of yourself! I have introduced many women to the brand, the generous length is particularly appealing, it’s easy to shorten but seldom required.

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