Inspirational Woman: Meenu Graziani | Founder & Designer, Meenu Graziani

Meenu Graziani Following a successful career in law, Meenu decided to pursue her true passion of show design, studying at the prestigious London College of Fashion.

Meenu launched her own brand, selling her unique and luxury designs in 2018 and since then, the collections have gone from strength to strength.

Meenu Graziani is a unique and exciting London-based British designer with a passion for creating chic and elegant women’s shoes and bags in bold, individual designs.

Influenced by the energy of London life and the vibrant colours of her own Indian heritage, Meenu personally and meticulously designs each shoe and clutch bag, creating unique designs that effortlessly combine contemporary elegance with Meenu’s signature elements of bright colours, bold metallics and exciting patterns. All of which are favoured by celebrities and influencers world-wide.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I have always had a passion for shoes and have always wanted to develop a well recognised British brand. I wanted for the brand to reflect and incorporate my Indian heritage and multicultural spirit of London. I wanted for my first collection to be fun, colourful and something that strongly stands out and became instantly recognisable.

It was important for me that my collection can be adaptable, for my customers to be able to style it with casual outfits, formal wear as well as a saree. I do want my current and future collections to be timeless and therefore make people happy to wear them in years to come as they will still look amazing.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Absolutely not. I’ve never had a set career plan in life, other than knowing it was important to do what I loved and made me happy.

I always wanted to be a footwear designer, however having been brought up in London in an Indian family, with culture being the forefront, I was required to undertake a professional career.  So I started my professional career working  for the Ministry of Defence and The Home Office, working in the Legal field.

Whilst working for the Ministry of Defence I decided to pursue a career in law and went on to complete the LLB and the Legal Practices Course.

After working in the legal field for over ten years I had decided that I wanted to pursue my lifelong dream of finally becoming a footwear designer. At the early stages I did not have full business acumen; for example I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to work for someone or launch a brand.

This is when I decided to attend the London School of Fashion to gather a better and more in depth insight into the industry. This proved to be the best thing I ever did!

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Launching a new brand is in itself is a challenge and I have been facing challenges from the start of launching the first Meenu Graziani collection.

For example, the factory who manufactured my first collection has now very sadly, gone bankrupt. The second factory I was working with have also ceased to exist; I’m very hopeful that the third factory I’ve researched and approached are going to stand the test of time.

Since launching Meenu Graziani I have had to face social and political issues such as Brexit and of course COVID-19. These two aspects themselves have had a major impact on the world and the world of fashion so this has been a challenge due to the uncertainty of both situations.

However, as my brand is relevantly new and still growing the impact has not been as major as it has been on bigger brands.

I believe that challenges are only obstacles which we need to learn to overcome.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I would say launching Meenu Graziani is one of my biggest achievements to date, as it has been a lifelong dream and I cannot believe that I have come this far. It is an amazing feeling seeing my designs coming to life from a sketch to the actual shoe.

With the assistance of my Public Relations team from Amanda Ferrari PR, the brand is getting recognition and I can count an array of British and International celebrities and influencers as brand fans.

These include the likes of Masoom Minawala from Indian and Mona Kattan from Huda Beauty from the UAE, Katherine Ryan from Canada and Susannah Reid, Andrea Mclean, Anna Williamson, Alex Scott and Neev Spencer from the U.K.

As well as a host of celebrities, my designs have been featured in the glossy pages of the likes of  Grazia Pakistan, Hello!, Daily Mail, OK!, Prima. Seeing my brand and vision being featured is big achievement for me.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I would say that the major factor has to be staying true to myself and my vision. This is important because this shows in my designs, patterns, colours and the brand itself.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I believe women should be supporting one another and I feel we need more role models to show the next generation of women designers that they more than capable of running of successful businesses. I believe that individuals should be getting into jobs because of their experience and ability not because they know someone and the face fit.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

You have to always remember when people tell you is very hard and almost impossible to achieve it only means it is possible you just have to know how.

I would say to myself to go for what I want and not be worry about the outcome. I appreciate what I have now but I wish I had launched Meenu Graziani earlier in my career. However, I would not be who I am and where I am had I not gone down the path I have to get here.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My current challenge is to ensure that I launch my new collection as soon as possible.

As I am a hands on designer and I am personally involved in all aspects of my product design, from  the sketching board to production and with the current social economic situation it is extremely challenging to have a clear ability to manage and correct my vision of my products.

Therefore I am trusting my factory to ensure they understand my vision and to trust them to deliver the style with minimum supervision.

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