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Midlife Reinvention: Tina Malhame sets up her own clothing brand in her 50s


Interview by Ceri Wheeldon

midlife reinvention, tina malhame midlife fashion image

I met Tina recently at a show in London. Tina set up her own clothing brand in her 50s catering for midlife women, I asked Tina to share with us her story  and the story behind her brand  NoLoGo . This is what she had to say:

I live near Windsor, married to a wonderful man for 21 years. We were together for 9 years before we married. We have 2 SONS, 1 at University and one in his GCSE year.

What were your main activities before turning 50?

I Have been a clothes designer my entire career. Before 50 I designed and supplied several well known store groups with clothing collections

What have been your main activities since turning 50?

Continuing working full time as a clothes designer only now I run my own on-line clothes company selling directly to customers through the online shop or at various Fairs in London and around the country.

 

One of Tina’s designs

What prompted you to start your business/ take up the challenge/follow your dream?

I HAVE RUN MY OWN BUSINESS FOR 30 YEARS, but the change in selling directly to the customers happened after turning 50. Store groups spend a lot of time deciding what to buy, cutting costs everywhere so that the original design becomes very diluted by the time it reaches the stores.

How old were you when you started?

Actually I was sketching clothes from as young as 6… but my career took off as soon as I started working at the age of 22.

 

What has been the best aspect of  your journey so far?

The people I have met during the course of my work, by far. I have been exposed to such incredible artisans who have a passion and love for what they do, wood carvers, block printers, weavers, embroiderers, tailors, print artists

Did anybody in particular inspire you?

MY MOTHER. A beautiful woman who always cared about the way she looked and wore fabulous put together clothes, shoes and handbags. MY mother truly cared for her clothes and always took care with them. Mother showed me how working hard and focused would help me achieve my dream.

 

What challenges did you initially face? How did you overcome them?

The decision to stop supplying stores and design and supplying directly to customers was very swift and sudden. A decision was made on a journey returning from an appointment with buyers changing the designs once more at the last minute to increase their own mark up, and still holding me to the same delivery. After 30 years in the business it was time to take a step away, think and change. Challenges of course was financial (it usually is!). My suppliers always loved to work with me so supported me on my new journey.

What other opportunities have materialised as a result?

I am often asked to design for other well known brands, after they see my NoLoGo-chic collection.

Which of your previous experiences (if any) did you draw upon the most?

I consistently draw upon my entire career experiences as I am still in the same industry although on a slightly different path.

What are your next steps?

To expand the brand, developing a range which women totally trust and rely upon for fit, function and to make them feel beautiful whatever size or age.

How have friends and family reacted?

My family have always totally supported and encouraged me.

Any regrets?

No regrets.

What 3 tips would you give other women over 50 looking to do something similar?

Do only what you absolutely and positively LOVE doing. Money is surely important, but our time on this planet is so short it seems a waste not to seek out and really enjoy something that makes your heart sing.

 

A little bit more about Tina

All time favourite book or film?

Book: Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote.

Film: The House Holder by Satrajit Ray.

How would you describe your own style?

I try never to fret or gossip. Keep calm. I love to wear black or deep indigo when working. As a designer, it is so hard to design with colours unless I’m wearing black. It is a colour that neutralises my surroundings in order to work and be inspired by colours for collections.

Three words that sum up your life over 50. 

Happy, Inspired, Grateful.

 

You can also see some pics of me wearing some of Tina’s designs here.

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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