Podcast: Nayna McIntosh, Founder & CEO at Hope Fashion

July 6, 2022 Sophie Colquhoun

The latest guest on our Industry Leaders podcast is Nayna McIntosh, Founder at Hope Fashion.

We were thrilled to talk to Nayna about why and how she started Hope Fashion, the inspiration behind it, and why she is unashamedly targeting women in their 50s. 

Plus, we discuss the shocking reality of raising investment, how a large proportion of the population are ignored in fashion and how she works to change that, the impact of mentors, and lots more. 

Listen to the full episode here: 

Or if you prefer, you can read the full transcript below. 

Sorcha O’Boyle: Nayna McIntosh is my guest this week and I am so delighted to have her here. Nayna’s been behind some of the most recognisable brands for the last 30 years. She launched George of Asda in 1989 and was part of the Executive team behind Per Una at Marks & Spencer in 2001. She left M&S in 2013 to found her own brand, Hope Fashion, a year later in 2014 and that’s what we’re here to talk about. But Nayna, before we get into all of that welcome to the show and how are you doing?

Nayna McIntosh: Sorcha thank you very much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here and I’m very much looking forward to this catch up.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Yeah, me too, it’s absolutely a delight. So, I’m going to start with quite a big question. You’ve been behind a number of pretty ground-breaking brands during your career. Why did you decide to leave the big corporate world behind and found Hope Fashion?

Nayna McIntosh: I think the first thing I should say is that I didn’t leave the corporate world to found Hope Fashion. I had no idea, truth be told, as to what I was going to do when I left. I just knew I had to move on, and I talk about this quite openly and say that I’ve had a 30 plus year career, which has largely been fabulous. I met some great people, done some great jobs and worked for some fantastic companies but for the first time in that 30-year span of time, I just wasn’t looking forward to getting up in the morning to go to work and catching, as I often say, the 6:52 into Paddington. And that’s when I knew that something had to change. So, the decision to leave the corporate world was more about listening to my inner voice and something that I think we don’t tend to do until we get older for some reason, but to listen to my gut instinct and my gut instinct was telling me that this isn’t working for you anymore. You’re not enjoying it and it’s not providing the satisfaction that you’ve been so lucky to have had over the years. And therefore, when that happens, I think you really do have to listen to your inner self and think really carefully about what next. So, the truth of the matter Sorcha is that I had no idea what I was going to do. I just knew I wanted to continue to do something, but whatever it was, was going to be different.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Okay and so where did the idea of Hope come from?

Nayna McIntosh: It was a gradual process, actually. I came out of my corporate role on the 1 September 2013 and the first thing I knew I wanted to do was to take some time out, actually. I had children quite late in life, so I was 39 when my son was born and 40 and a bit when my daughter was born. So, it was all a bit crazy and took very little time off for both of them. I also ended up having a hysterectomy 18 months later, which might be too much detail, but there was a lot going on and for all of those procedures – if that’s the right word – I took probably no more than six or eight weeks off. So, I decided actually, and it sounds a bit corny, but I decided to call it my ‘meternity’ and all I knew I wanted to do was to take some time out to think about what next. And I call it my reading, researching, and reflecting period and that’s what I wanted to do. I just wanted to immerse myself in something completely different and it may sound crass, but I just wanted to see what the universe would bring to me.

Sorcha O’Boyle: And can you tell me a little bit about the ethos behind Hope? Because, I mean you’ll explain it better than I will, but it is in essence a brand for woman in their say late forties, fifties and onwards. What did you want to achieve with the brand? What is the purpose behind it?

Nayna McIntosh: I think that’s evolving Sorcha over time and I guess the starting point for me was recognising that actually maybe I had the [where with all to do something? 00:05:49] and I was what 52, 53, I guess at this point, something like that. And I think having celebrated my 50th birthday two or three years earlier, the one thing that struck me at that time was that you kind of realise you’re more than halfway through. So, it for me anyway, it was one of those moments when you go, “Right, okay. So, if all things are equal, I am two thirds of the way through. So, what do we want that final furlong to look like?” Which is one of the reasons, one of the catalysts also, for deciding to do something differently and to move on from corporate life and I felt, I guess, an inner, I won’t say anxiety, but just I wanted to understand Sorcha, why I’d made that decision, I guess is a simple way of putting it. And I’ve always found in my life anyway when there was some uncertainty, I kind of go back to my values and what’s important to me. And I’d done a piece of work with an executive coach several years earlier and you know you start off with like 5,000 descriptions of values and, exaggeration but you know what I mean, and you had to narrow it down to ten. And fundamentally the first five for me were about family, friends, love, trust, and integrity and that I suppose started to explain to me why I was struggling in my previous life and therefore all I knew at this point was that I needed to do something that was authentic, because if it wasn’t it wasn’t going to sit comfortably with me. Which might sound a bit, you know, emotional and a bit woo, woo, but frankly at the age of 53, I didn’t care. It was actually what’s important to me and therefore whatever I do, wherever I go, the brand values have got to be inherent that I can connect with. When I think about it, I’d always had that kind of understanding. It was always important to me who I worked for, not just the brand but the individual I worked for, and I’ve always struggled if I ended up working for somebody who didn’t meet my values, I guess is the best way of putting it, and on more than one occasion, I’ve done something about that. So, I knew that whatever the future was, it had to be something that grounded me. And I wanted to explore why family is important to me Sorcha, which it is. I’m from a long line of McIntosh’s who as I said at my 60th birthday party recently, “We’re very loud, we’re very opinionated and we tend to make our presence felt.” And all of that I think comes from my grandparents who were part of the Windrush generation. And papa came over here in the late fifties and left his wife, my mama and their then, seven children, in Jamaica and it took him six months to earn enough money to send for mama to come to the UK, to the motherland as they saw it and were invited to come here because there were work opportunities and then it took him almost five years to bring over the rest of the family.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Oh my God. Yeah.

Nayna McIntosh: And when you’ve got your own kids and you kind of think about this, you know? My daughters just coming to the end of a three-month stint in Central America and I’m counting the days down and she’s only been away three months. I don’t know how mama and papa did it and I guess one of the things that came to me anyway, was that their story was a story of hope, actually. You know they were devout Christians, and they would have seen this as doing the best thing they could do for their family. Providing a better opportunity and worth making a sacrifice for. So, all they would have had in their hearts would have been prayer and hope. And that kind of started to explain why the family values were integral to what I would do. As it happens my mum is called Hope, her name is [Meekal Hope McIntosh 00:10:40] and once I had decided that maybe there was a possibility I was going to do something, what it was going to be called became blindingly obvious and to that end when you come into our office here in West Berkshire, the first picture you see is the last picture that mama and papa had taken of themselves and their children in Jamaica with pappa looking very suited and booted, very handsome man, and my darling mama sat there, my mum, who was 14 at the time, one of the seven kids surrounding them and that’s what Hope is about. It’s about family, it’s about love and it’s about integrity and trust.

Sorcha O’Boyle: That was beautiful Nayna. Really genuinely is. It’s beautiful. It’s a really lovely story. And that must influence hugely how you run the business and how you work with your team.

Nayna McIntosh: Very, very much so. It’s opportune we’re talking today because a young lady whose been with us for seven years, so from the very beginning, joined us as a, she came did a week placement with us as an A-level student and has grown and grown and grown, actually leaves us tomorrow. And so, Clare’s now 24, she’s a grown up. She’s got herself a job with another fashion brand, based in London and this is a real life stage for her because she’s been here for six and a half years thereabouts and she’s grown with the business and done different roles and now she’s going to work for a much bigger organisation in London. She’s moving home, moving into London and I just sit back and it’s almost parental, actually, or maternal. Because I just sit back and think, “Yeah, it’s time for you to go.” And Clare’s our third one, one of the values I put down when I was kind of scoping up what I wanted this company, this brand to be about, there were many things, but one of them was about having, inviting young women to come into our organisation where they could feel safe, they could feel nurtured, they could be challenged, obviously, and more importantly they could be developed and giving them an opportunity to this sector and training and fully accepting that they will then move on. And Clare is our third, yeah. So yeah, it is, it’s very much run like that.

Sorcha O’Boyle: That’s fabulous. Did you ever have anyone in the early stages of your career who kind of – I don’t know if the word is mentored – but, you know, kind of looked out for you in that way?

Nayna McIntosh: Yeah, there were, there were lots actually. I can remember I was a management trainee. So, I was doing my A-levels which I failed spectacularly, mainly because I just couldn’t be bothered, which isn’t very clever, and it’s not what I say to my kids today. But anyway, there was a lot going on at the time, that’s my excuse, and but at the time I had a Saturday job in M&S which I loved. I often say I’ve been serving customers since I was about ten because my mum had a market stall in Birmingham, and I used to go and help her every Saturday. So, I was used to working actually from a very early age and I did get paid by the way, so I didn’t do it for love. And then, I wanted to go to Jamaica at the end of my A-levels. So, my parents agreed that if I saved up half of the fare, they’d kind of back it up. So, I applied and got a job at M&S as a Saturday girl, absolutely loved it, it was brilliant. And the, what was then called the personnel manager, I think we’d call her the HR manager today or even the people manager, I think. Beryl Brewer was a lovely, lovely lady and she came up to me one day on the sales floor and she said, “Nayna, what are you going to do?” And I was kind of lamenting, I’d just screwed my A-levels up and she just said, “Right. You need to apply for the management training scheme at M&S” and it was an A-level entry. And she said, “I really think you should.” And she was brilliant and kind of coached me I guess into the first interview and then I had to go down to London for a selection board which was frankly terrifying. But Beryl was brilliant actually and so that’s one example and there’s been many, many, others along the way. You know, George Davies obviously being a case in point. One of my favourite expressions from George is that “If you want something done ask a busy woman,” which I think is brilliant. Because we just seem to be able to innately multi-task and apologies if that sounds sexist, but I think it’s true. And Stuart, Stuart Rose at Marks and Spencer was amazing also. So, he saw something in me when I joined and I remember actually at one point I was going to resign and I went to see him to tell him I was going and I said, “This is where I’m going to go,” and he absolutely exploded at me.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Oh, did he?

Nayna McIntosh: He did. “What on earth are you thinking of?” and, you know, “We take more in one day than they take in a whole year.” It was that kind of conversation and to be fair to him once he calmed down, he just said to me, “Look, what is it you want?” And I kind of thankfully was quite prepared for the question and I just said “X, Y & Z.” And he said, “Right, I’m going to go away, I’m going to sleep on everything tonight. Come and see me in the morning.” And when I went back, he just said, “Okay, We’re on.” Not immediately, but several things he did within six months, and he was true to his word and therefore, I’ve been really blessed Sorcha with working with some amazing people. And I always remember and again this might be too much detail, but when I arrived at Marks & Spencer, for my last stint, because I’ve done three stints with them, but my last stint I remember being offered an executive coach and I was like, “Oh my God! What’s one of those?” you know. I’d worked in an entrepreneurial environment for the last 18 years and we didn’t have executive coaches and actually, it was amazing. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It was really, really encouraging to have someone that you could talk to and just say all of the things that were in your head, but you dare not articulate. So, Trudy and indeed Jean are women that became incredibly important in my life.

Sorcha O’Boyle: That’s fantastic. It’s amazing how big an impact one person or one small group of people can have on your life and people who kind of come out of nowhere, you don’t see them coming.

Nayna McIntosh: Oh completely. I’ve mentioned a couple of big names there I guess but, you know, my two friends Jean and Trudy, they are my go-to to this day. If I need to talk and just get something off my chest. They are what I call my wise women and we all need wise women in our lives.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Absolutely. And can you tell me then a bit about Hope and who is the customer of Hope?

Nayna McIntosh: I say, unashamedly, we are targeting a 50 plus woman Sorcha and I am this woman. So, when we started it as I said earlier, you know, a number of people when I came out of my corporate world, a number of people said to me, “Nayna why don’t you just set something up. You really should be doing your own brand and in particular doing a brand that wants to talk to this woman in a positive way.” And genuinely, it was not in my mindset that that is what I was going to do. But I suppose it was all about timing, personally at this stage in my life, I’ve explained how I felt when I got to 50. I was also going through the menopause which I’m very open about, thankfully the world is more open these days about that too. And for me, it was relatively straight forward apart from the way my body shape was changing and it was just harder, and I would say there were things that I took for granted that I could wear and no longer worked, and I had to think so much harder about how I put things together because I was pretty certain that I still wanted to look good. I’m sorry if that sounds indulgent but I did because that effected my confidence. But it was just harder to do, and I suppose the reality is that I just felt, “Well crikey, if I’m feeling like this with my years of experience in the sector how is the average woman out there feeling?” So, I did lots of research, looked at the market size and I often say I’ve sat in many a customer insight boardroom presentation which kind of talked about this woman, but I always felt that there was a real lack of emotional connection to her. It was almost as if, “Oh yeah, you know, she’s in the background complaining about sleeve lengths and skirt lengths etc.,” but I don’t ever really feel that there was anybody who wanted to nurture her and there is nothing like being that woman to understand that woman and I just wanted to come at it from a point of view. And I talk very openly about the emotional connection here because people can deem fashion to be frivolous. I actually think the way we present ourselves to the world effects our confidence and if we are feeling and looking good it will make us more confident and if we’re more confident then I think we walk differently, we present ourselves differently, and I think confidence is a really big factor in what we do here. And we’re out, I mean you’ll know Sorcha we are out to raise money at the moment, and you can almost feel people closing down on you when you say, “We’re in the fashion sector.” So, my view is actually we’re in the confidence business and we just happen to sell clothes as part of that journey and the confidence business is about making women, like in this genre, you know, 50 plus who for all sorts of reasons has got things going on. Whether that is retiring from big corporate jobs and no longer needing a workwear wardrobe or simply dealing with changing body shape or just lost her mojo. And what Hope is about is actually helping her to curate a wardrobe that is easy to put together, has all the qualities which I’m sure we’ll go on to talk about, but more importantly just happens to make her feel good.

Sorcha O’Boyle: And can you tell me a little bit more about raising investment as a black, female, founder. Because, you know, the demographic or the group that you’re selling to is such a big group. Women over 50, it’s a huge proportion of the population. So, can you tell me what it’s been like?

Nayna McIntosh: Thus far I’ve been really blessed Sorcha because most of the investment that we’ve raised has come from family and friends and which is what any start up should try and do if they can. We’re out to now raise a million pounds which with the best will in the world I can’t go back, yet again, to my family and friends and talk about that kind of number. But my view is, is that look, we’ve been trading for over six years. We have a proven concept the market opportunity is blindingly obvious. This woman represents over half of the UK womenswear market. She influences something like 78% of the consumer spend in her household and frankly 82% of them will say that the clothes that are meant to be aimed at them are way too old fashioned, so, you know, the stats are there. So, my argument is look we’ve proven the concept, the loyalty I get from our customers is amazing, the challenge now is about customer acquisition. That’s what the investment is for, it’s about driving that, whether that be through paid social or other channels and to do that as anybody in this world knows is expensive. You have to invest to speculate. So that’s the place we’re at at the moment and I was talking to somebody recently who’s helping us to raise that money and I was well aware of the fact that, because I’d done my own research, that less than 1% of funds raised in the UK go to female founders which in itself is just horrifying and actually if you want to push the boundaries further, those that go to black founders is kind of somewhere I think 0.2%. So that is, reasonably unpalatable, as you might imagine.

Sorcha O’Boyle: It’s staggering, is what it is.

Nayna McIntosh: And I was talking to a friend of mine recently and I have to say I got quite emotional about it because I just said, “We think we’ve moved the dial, but in so many ways we haven’t.” There’s, so much of it is still controlled by a niche proportion of the population shall we say and therefore my view is in trying to raise this money, I think we’ve got to talk to people who get it and are listening. And the starting point is women or what I would describe as emotionally intelligent men, who don’t get turned off when you raise the menopause word or, you know, when you show a picture of my customer. One of my customers, who by the way places an order every three weeks but is what I would call a normal looking 69-year-old, doesn’t get turned off because she’s older, etc., And I just think at what point are we going to start viewing some of these women as wisdom, as wise women as opposed to old, to be really blunt about it.

Nayna McIntosh: I think it goes back to a book that I read actually when I first came out of corporate life which was called The Athena Doctrine and how Women (and Men Who Think Like Women Will Change the World). And at its core it’s all about feminine leadership. And the two authors of the book had spent their time across the world looking at what they said were remarkable examples where women and men where leading innovative organisations with skills and values, as they put it, that were commonly associated with women. And they surveyed 64,000 people across 18 countries and two thirds of the people they interviewed said, “The world would be a better place if men thought more like women.” Almost, we’ve had enough of this winner takes all, testosterone fuelled, masculine approach. It’s time to do something better

Sorcha O’Boyle: Okay, lots to think about there. I think we need to put it in a caveat, obviously we’re not anti-men. They’re wonderful, we love them too. But I think definitely there is probably more nuance.

Nayna McIntosh: And that’s the point and in fairness that’s why they said (And Men who think like Women. And I, you know, ultimately, I guess that’s what we would now call emotional intelligence. It is about being comfortable talking about things in a more emotional sense or understanding what makes people tick and not necessarily being completely black and white about things.

Sorcha O’Boyle:  And probably also being a little bit more vulnerable as well. Not having to be right 100% of the time but acknowledging where you don’t know, or where you made a mistake.

Nayna McIntosh: Yeah. Definitely. Yeah, I mean I gave this really silly example you know, of, I think this kind of might help to typify it, but you know in my old life you’d go into a trading meeting, and it would be the first thing we’d talk about was the football results, you know, that weekend and that kind of chest beating approach. Whereas in my organisation, the first thing I spoke to Amanda about this morning - because I know her son’s away on a school trip – is, you know, “How is Sebastian getting on?” and you know, “Is he enjoying Rome, wherever he is today.” But much more about I guess family and because those are the sort of things that then will affect how people are feeling that day and understanding that might explain how things pan out that morning.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Do you know what’s actually really jumping out at me Nayna is as we’re talking you’ve mentioned a couple of times or you’ve used the word ‘emotional’ a couple of times and I think often that can have kind of a negative connotation, which I think is wrong. Because there’s nothing wrong with emotion, it’s human and it’s normal and we’re all emotional whether we are every day. But I think what also jumps out at me is that you have a huge amount of empathy for your customer and also for your team, you know, as you’re talking about Clare whose been there for so long. But yeah, the empathy that you have for your customer is really, really jumping out at me. I’d love to kind of understand how you build your relationship with your customer? How that’s happened? Especially as an online, mainly, online business and for a business that is targeting older women. I don’t want to over generalise but my mum for example, is kind of mid to late fifties and doesn’t really like to engage with online businesses terribly much. She likes to discover things by picking them up and, you know, trying them on and so on. So how do you build that relationship with the customer?

Nayna McIntosh: There’s several answers to that question Sorcha but if I were to simplify it, I think the pandemic was really good for us in some ways, in many ways. The truth of the matter is, when the lockdown was announced on the 23 March 2020, I kind of just had to look in the mirror and say, “What the heck are we going to do?” So fast forward, the decisions we made was to what we call put the business into hibernation and what that was about was how do we maximise revenue on minimum costs, so I think that same week actually, the government announced the furlough scheme so that’s what we did. So, everybody in the team got furloughed and thankfully the business is kind of 15 minutes from home for me and nine months earlier we had put everything into one building. So, we had all of our fulfilment and stock storage up in Leeds and we pulled it down in 2019. So, where I’m sat now is our warehouse. So, everything is here, and we fulfil from here. Our customer service was being operated by a third-party agency in Colchester, who were very, very good and we pulled that in in September 2019 and if we hadn’t made those decisions then, Sorcha I don’t think we would be sat here today. So, what happened when everybody was furloughed it was kind of like, “Well okay. Lowest cost to operate is you love, so you need to go into the office and kind of pick the orders and answer the phone.” And you know, I’d be answering the phone and saying, “Hope customer services, how can I help,” and they would ask their question and halfway through, they’d just say, “Is that you Nayna?” and you’d go “Yep.” And then it was chat, chat, chat, chat, chat, chat, chat, which is lovely and then I’d put the phone down, thinking, “And now I’ll go and pick your order as well.” But they weren’t to know that. But the truth of the matter is Sorcha is that we, for me personally who loves chatting to customers it was just the most rewarding time because we became a real human connection during that period, and it led to us setting up our fortnightly Zoom calls. When most people where at home, kind of walking the dog, in the garden, whatever, adjusting to this rather strange life that we’d been thrown into and desperate for company. So, we would have these Zoom calls with women all over the country, dialling in and just chatting. It wasn’t about a hard sell, it wasn’t about “We’ve just had this pink jumper delivered, etc.,” it was just basically how we’re surviving, how we’re coping. And I’m delighted to say two years later that some of those women have now developed their own friendship groups outside of Hope.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Have they? Oh, that’s lovely.

Nayna McIntosh: Oh my God, yes. So, if I now have what we call a ‘Coffee and Chat’ which is a version of what we used to do, you know, I’ll have Mary on and Elaine on and I’ve realised from what they’re saying to each other that they’re kind of chatting outside of the group anyway. And there was an incidence where Jan wore something and Mary said I’m really glad you tried that on Jan, because we’re similar colourings and I knew when it looked good on you, it would look good on me. So, this is a community that we’re building here and so I think that was the start of it. And I give you an example we had a what we call a ‘Hope at Home’ event which is basically we open our show room and invite customers and this lady came in called Carmel. And we’d had dialogue with Carmel through the season, she’d wanted a particular dress for her 60th birthday and we’d moved heaven and earth to get it for her. She sends us a photograph of ‘The Day’ in her dress, with her two sons and then she turns up at our event last week and I kind of saw her name on the list and I thought, “I don’t think she lives locally.” Two hours and forty minutes Carmel drove. I’m not joking.

Sorcha O’Boyle: No. Wow.

Nayna McIntosh: And she just said that she’d got her son’s graduation, she’d got this, various events and she just thought “Do you know what, why not?” and she did. And this is going to sound crazy, but we honestly threw our arms around each other because it was just like we knew each other. And, you know, and Jan and her husband David came all the way from Norfolk, which is a three-hour drive and David sits in the armchair in the show room and and we are obviously providing the entertainment because we are just chatting and laughing together. And at the end of it, Sorcha, we’d had I think nine hours of selling, it was mad. Linda and I were exhausted but at the same time we were so energised by talking to our customers and meeting them directly. And somebody said something to me afterwards which I couldn’t have put it better myself and they just said, “When I come down to Hope it’s like meeting family, because that’s how I’m made to feel,” and that in a nutshell is what this is about. I always said I wasn’t interested in creating another womenswear brand because the world needs one of those like a whole in the head. What I’m interested in creating is a community, it’s a movement for women who are largely ignored. And at this point in their lives, for lots of them have, are losing their confidence and often, they talked about as having an empty nest and the reality is they’re at the centre of their families. So much is happening around them, they’re influencing so much and in other societies and other cultures they would be viewed as really, as the heads of the family, as really important, as the carriers of wisdom and that’s the way I talk about my customers, and they seem to respond to it.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Yeah, they certainly do. And one thing from reading customer reviews and customer feedback that I see is people just really love the approach you’ve taken to sizing, which is really unusual, and I’d love to hear more about that because you’re not a kind of prescriptive sizing brand. Can you tell me how your sizing works and why you set it up that way?

Nayna McIntosh: Well, I guess it’s interesting that you picked up on the word emotional earlier Sorcha because I think this is a really good example of where we’d tapped into the emotional. So, to cut to the chase, we cater for a UK dress size 8 to 20 and because our garments are non-structured, non-tailoring, usually non-fitted, it allows us to do things in dual sizes. Which isn’t unusual in the industry but all too often they would be referred to as a small, medium, large, and extra-large and my starting point is I’ve yet to meet a woman who’s comfortable being called an extra-large. So, we decided that we wanted to give them much kinder descriptions. So, we talk about a super-slim which is a size 8, a slim 10-12, a curvy 14 -16 and a super curvy 18 – 20. And it’s a really small thing but it just becomes much more emotive. So, when you’re in the middle of a show room and there’s lots of people in as there was last Thursday and you know, making this up but Beryl from wherever wants a particular size, you can say, I think you’ll be a super curvy with us, as opposed to “Beryl, I think you need an extra-large.” It just feels different.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Absolutely no one want to shout an extra-large across the room and say, “Oh yeah, that’s me.”

Nayna McIntosh: Oh yeah, that’s, I’ll put my hand up for that shall I. Whereas if you say, “I think you are a super curvy,” it’s like “Ooh.” You know, it just, it makes you feel a bit better and back to the point you made earlier, yeah, it’s emotional. You bet it’s emotional. Because trying on clothes is emotional. And I tell you this because you’ve just reminded me of it. We did a shoot, actually about four years ago, with a particular dress which was amazing. We called it our magic dress and we had women of all shapes and sizes, all ages, trying it on. And one of our lovely customers Elaine, who was with us just last week again, she was one of the women we’d asked to come and participate in the shoot and we had hair and makeup and what have you and at the end of her time on set she comes over to the screen were Jen the photographer is doing her first edit and I can see Elaine watching and we’re going, “Oh my goodness you look amazing,” and when I looked across again I realised that there were tears rolling down Elaine’s face and And I thought we’d done something, I was like, “Elaine are you okay?” And she just looked at me and she said, “I’d forgotten how good I can look.” And she was sixty. When you say is this an emotional business, you bet your bottom dollar it is, yeah, because it’s about confidence and how people feel.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Absolutely. Absolutely. Listen Nayna, I mean, I’ve just enjoyed this chat so much, I really have. It’s been great. It went in directions I didn’t think I was going to go. But listen it has been such a treat to talk to you. Thank you, so, so much for coming on the show.

Nayna McIntosh: Ditto. Not at all you’re so welcome and thank you so much for your time, it’s been a pleasure.

Sorcha O’Boyle: Oh, my treat, my absolute pleasure. Thank you so much. That was Nayna McIntosh, founder and CEO of Hope Fashion. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Industry’s Leaders podcast and don’t forget that you can catch up on all of our previous episodes on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And take a moment, if you have one, to leave us a review. It really helps more people to find the podcast and learn from our brilliant guests. That’s it for this week though, so from me, Sorcha O’Boyle take care and we’ll see you again soon.




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