Caroline Matthews is an award winning fashion/bridal designer and Branding Coach for female entrepreneurs through The Luxe Collective. She also runs global workshops for women in business to help build their confidence, give them business strategies and help them connect and collaborate with other women in business. She has a guilty pleasure for peanut butter, loves to cook and most of all loves the woman she is.
What sparked your interest for designing and branding and how has it motivated you to make it into a career?
1- I have wanted to be a fashion designer ever since i was 4, it was either fashion or a Vet,
yes total contrast but my creative side won over and thats the path i decided to take. The Luxe Collective was started through pure passion of mine to help female creative entrepreneurs succeed in their business. For many years i struggled and was always lacking full belief in my brand and what i was doing, even winning multiple awards didn’t help at the time, but then i got myself a coach too who really started to help me see who i really was and what i wanted to create. From then onwards i work with a coach myself and i also wanted to help other women with their brand and confidence too.
What does being a branding mentor do and how do you make an impact in women’s lives?
2- Being a branding mentor for female entrepreneurs, really is all about helping women to own their brilliance, become their brand and really understand what that means. We, especially women buy with our emotions, and also through connections too so its really important to have a consistent, professional brand that not only speaks our message, our vibe and who we are but also what our business is about and most importantly what our brand speaks when we are not in the room. From learning who your ideal client is, to how your client interacts best with your social media. It’s not just about colours and fonts and i think personal branding is key to success in business.
What did you overcome to be here now?
3- When i really started this journey of fashion and branding. It was a tough time. I had broken up with my partner. I lost my job, my home and as i was living in a different country at the time. I also had to make a big transition back to the UK so it was a bit of a head wreck really. To this point i had had a successful bridal label stocked in prestigious stores all over the world and a thriving private client business.
When i landed back in the UK i realised that it was either do or die, i either gave this my all and focused 100% on it and built it into a success or i gave up and got a job. The latter as i’m sure you can imagine was not an option. So i moved back to Ireland and focused all my energy on building myself and my businesses back up from scratch. It was then i started to do live FB videos, interacting more on social media and realised that not only was i starting to build my confidence back up but i was also starting to brand myself in a way that was authentic and not fake, people loved how raw and honest i was and then this became the starting block for The Luxe Collective.
Receiving messages from women, loving my vibe, my brand and asking how they could create their own bit of magic in their brand, so i was already giving advice and working with women without actually calling myself a mentor. From this my coach at the time asked me why i was not utilising my knowledge to help other women, so thats what i did and thats how TLC started really and i love whats its changing into every day.
Do you journal?
4- I journal every morning and most evenings. I tend to journal a lot about how i am feeling, thoughts i have about my business, my life, family and friends. I think its important to use your journal as a big brain dump, mainly because it gets everything out of your head and onto paper for a start which allows your mind to be clear to focus on what you need to do. Secondly its a great way to come up with new ideas from just free writing. A good exercise to do is get a blank page and write at the top…. what do i need to know and then just let your hand do the work, don’t think about what your writing, just write, you will be amazed at what you come up with.
Where do you live and how does it influence your business?
5- I currently live in the UK so i am blessed with city living and also the countryside which i love too. I am a beach babe at heart though. I love to hear the ocean as it really inspires me. I think our surroundings play a huge part in our success, also the people we hang around with too. We should all make sure we have the right environment to inspire and motivate us and have friends and family who believe in us too on the days where we just feel like giving up.
How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
6- Working as a designer and also branding coach evolves every single day… i get to work with so many different women in their business and also as i have decided to go down a more casual luxe way with our fashion label i am being inspired by more things everyday which excites me.
What has been the most challenging time in your business?
7- The most challenging times in my business, were when i lost everything and had to start from scratch essentially again. My confidence was shattered and i also financially didn’t have the financial means to support myself whilst going through this transition so it was a tough time. Working another job which i had to get and also sometimes having such little money that i was making decisions between buying food or using the money to get me into the city so i could try and sell some wedding dresses and our fashion collection. But i wouldn’t change of this, because now i also know the value of struggle and no matter what struggle someone has, their is always a silver lining to it, you either learn something from it, or you become a better person, or an opportunity comes from it.
What advice would you give to a young upcoming designer or woman in general who is passionate about starting their own business?
8- Becoming an entrepreneur is not easy. It takes a certain person and a certain mindset to do it. being committed to it and what you are doing and why you are doing it everyday is hugely important in you succeeding or not. Having a passion is key. If i could say one thing. You have to have unwavering self belief and faith in what you do, so much so that it will carry you through the rough times because there will be rough times too. Never give up. If you want it bad enough, it feels right, you know that you were born to do it, then JUST DO IT. The universe has a habit of helping you when you are clear and focused on your direction.
What’s one motto you live by?
9- Be Unapologetically you! I am sure you have seen our posts about this. We even have branded Luxe tees and sweatshirts with this on to remind women to be themselves. Love themselves unconditionally. Believe in themselves that they are able to create their own success on their own terms and create a business and brand that reflects that. As soon as i started to make this an active part of my day my mindset changed, how i acted changed and my businesses changed too…
What services do you offer and how could we connect with you?
10- As a branding coach. I currently have 2 awesome programmes that we have developed. The first is our 4wk Branding Mindblow programme which helps women to get clear on their message, what they want to create in their brand and help them to make a consistent brand through not only their website but also their social media too. Our other programme is a 8 week 1:1 programme which not only helps women to become who they really are deep down but also gives them the strategies to build the business of their dreams so they love what they do everyday.
We are also running our first Luxe Hideaway this Sept 9th in San Diego. We are collaborating with some fabulous women to bring you a full day and evening of fashion, business strategies, mindset work, energy work and personal branding. If you want to find out more here is the link: https://www.the-luxecollective.com/luxe-hideaway
Here are the links to all our businesses too:
https://www.the-luxecollective.com/ – website
https://www.the-luxecollective.com/1-1-coaching – Coaching packages
https://www.facebook.com/groups/562115880617645/ – Come and join our free Facebook group
http://www.caroline-atelier.com/ – our bridal business