The Coven is a regular content series profiling interesting, fun, intelligent women who Lucy admires and respects for myriad reasons. The Coven allows them to speak about their projects, their work, their passions; it also allows them to speak about their friends - their own Coven of women and in turn to offer those women a name, a voice, in a room of opportunity.
Today Serena Hood; co-founder of the online shopping platform, Collagerie joins us to talk about the women who inspire her.
LD: Serena, welcome to The Coven! I’m so lucky to count you as part of my witchy crew. You have been one of my biggest cheerleaders, I’ve actually HEARD you shout my name in a room full of opportunity and I know you very rarely leave the house without a piece of LD jewellery on. So I thank you for that.
I love Collagerie and the way that you have effortlessly fused fashion and tech to create an incredible platform that equally promotes global fashion brands as well as the start ups like me.
Please tell us about yourself, your back ground and the moments that lead you to found Collagerie. What was that journey like?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, I actually started my first business from my dorm room at Georgetown University during my sophomore year. I’ve always been obsessed by fashion from an early age. I used to spend every Saturday visiting the vintage stalls of Portobello Road with my mother. My first internship was at Elle magazine in NYC, which opened my eyes to how big the industry was, and all the different job opportunities out there in the fashion space. I love the world of magazines, and when I graduated, I moved to Manhattan and worked at US Vogue in the fashion market department. When I moved to London in 2010, I worked in the press team at Giorgio Armani before moving to British Vogue as Executive Fashion Director working closely with the brands featured in the magazine, and organising events such as Fashion’s Night Out and The Vogue Festival. After leaving Vogue I caught up with Lucinda Chambers, who was Fashion Director at Vogue for over 25 years, and we had the “lightbulb idea” to start Collagerie – curating the world of shopping in one beautiful space online.
Tell us all about what’s coming up this year - what are you excited about?
Every year since we started has been exciting, and I can hardly believe that in just three years since launch we have partnered with hundreds of brands, and collaborated with the likes of The Conran Shop and Jigsaw. We have some exciting new collaborations in store so look out for those which are dropping soon!
What are the peaks and the troughs of running your own business?
There are many milestones to celebrate, and it is important to stop and take the time to recognise those and everyone who has played a part. When we had the idea for Collagerie, my oldest was 2 and I was pregnant with my second child. Navigating the world of start-up life is a whirlwind for any founder, and being a mother and co-founder is a definite juggling act. Having a business partner, Lucinda Chambers, has truly been such a guiding force, as a mother of three herself I’ve taken so much advice from her along the way. What I’ve realised is that you can only strive to do your best, focusing on what is in front of you at any given time , and take the next right step as it comes.
I want the Coven is a celebration of the relationships that define us - it’s a chance for us to highlight and to thank our crew that have been there for the personal and the professional moments. It’s also a way for us to support those to have supported us along the way. Can you talk about 3-5 friends, mentors, colleagues, other founders that you’d like to share. What is it that they are doing that’s exciting or different. How have they helped you along the way? What was the advice they gave you? What are they doing that you want to “shout their name in a room full of opportunities”
It goes without saying Lucinda Chambers, my co-founder at Collagerie plays a big part. She is the most driven person I know and inspires me everyday.
I’m always speaking to my mother and two sisters, and leaning on them for advice and support.
How does it feel when you’re with your Coven?
They give me confidence and inspiration in everything. I feel very lucky to have them in my life.
How does jewellery make you feel? Can you talk us through why you were drawn to the pieces you wore?
Jewellery is part of my uniform and must admit I feel as naked if I leave the house without a pair of hoops on as I do without eyeliner (a must)!
I love Lucy’s unique take on classics whether it is a pair of hoops, a bangle or that necklace you never want to take off. You fall in love with her heirloom designs; they make you feel powerful and beautiful. They are the pieces to accompany your everyday look, they are just as versatile (and admired) in the Boardroom as they are over the dinner table.