From one girl boss to another, I’m super excited to introduce the brilliant Beatrice Von Trecksow and Fredi Gardiner – the mother/daughter duo behind inimitable fashion brand, Beatrice Von Trecksow. I’m keeping this girl boss particularly close to home as Fredi and Beatrice are family; on a recent trip to Berlin, I had the pleasure of watching one of their fashion shows in person and it was a joy to catch up with them both afterwards. So without further ado, welcome to the family…
Your designs are super opulent and inspired by your upbringing in Africa, Afghanistan and India, what is it about these areas that you find so fascinating?
B: Afghanistan and India incorporate strong and rich colours and texture in their fabrics, plus fine delicate beadwork and embroidery. Africa offers simpler naivety, more clear and confidant colour blocks. These cultures and their craft have inspired me for a lifetime.
F: Every year, I cannot wait to go to the far east to soak up the colours, texture, noise and culture. It’s by far the best part of the design process. Ideas just come in abundance.
Everything is made (with love) in small production runs, what are the core values at the heart of Beatrice von Tresckow?
B: Our core values are to continue producing unique, original, head-turning fashion. We remain completely involved from the start of design to end of production. All along still touch a current trend.
F: I agree with B in that remaining creative with our embroidery and personal with our seamstresses, is what truly makes us, us. The uniqueness of each, individual item is testament to the passion of all members of our team.
Your clothes are known for being totally elegant made with sumptuous fabric, what are your ‘must-haves’ when sourcing new fabrics?
B: We create most of our own fabrics. With beadwork and embroidery. The end result MUST achieve an exciting vibrancy.
F: Quality and colour MUST be right.
Starting a business from scratch and putting on major fashion shows takes a LOT of hard work, what have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome and learn from them?
B: The biggest challenge over the years has been cash flow.
Creativity flows easily.
Kept alive with daily inspiration.
Production can be found.
All forms of marketing will bring the sales.
Yet to harmonise all these aspects: produce all in correct sizes and numbers, then expect to sell ALL. This does not always happen! Then resulting in low cash flow for the next design/ production campaign. This can be a reoccurring challenge. A certain calm, hard work and determination repeatedly comes to the rescue here.
F: I have obviously been very fortunate in that my mother has already built herself a legacy. I was tasked primarily with establishing a pulsing BvT base in Berlin, Germany. There have been many challenges and I’m sure there are many more ahead, but having to get a grip on the German business and financial language with no real education (in that department) was a real tough task.
What’s been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business?
F: The small highs of progress. This comes in many forms. If I had to chose one, it would be a happy customer review. A public show of appreciation and praise.
B: Agreed with Fredi: nothing is more rewarding than public appreciation for our brand.
From one girl boss to another, what advice would you give you other women wanting to start their own business?
B: Retain your passion. Remain excitable and enthusiastic about your ideas and the business. This way you build and hold a following. Lows are inevitable; accept them as challenges and work through them. Don’t loose your energy.
F: Ask for help. Do the hard things first.
Besides being your own boss, what’s your favourite thing about running Beatrice von Tresckow?
B: Travelling in pursuit of fabrics and ideas, immersing myself in the detail of design and later the selling.
F: The fantastic people who work with me.
With three different stores (Portobello Road, Cheltenham and Berlin) you must have to travel a lot – how do you balance work/home life?
B: This is a lifestyle business. It comes with endless positives. Travel, creativity, meeting of varied people everywhere… I am a workaholic, I immerse myself too much sometimes. I’m realising more now that ‘timeout’ doesn’t mean you loose your thread… My work/home life balance is getting better.
F: I have little responsibility outside of the business currently, but I just try and have fun wherever I am. I do definitely wish I saw my British friends more though.
Can you tell me about your future plans for Beatrice von Tresckow?
B: To be an internationally renowned brand.
F: To make BvT a brand for everyone.
Now for some down time… What do you enjoy doing to relax after a stressful day in the office?
B: Tune into a short meditation or head to a swimming pool.
F: Cook! I love fantasising throughout the day about what I am going to make. I never really follow recipes, so its all just improvised deliciousness. I also love the water or a game of tennis!
Talk me through your day in food: What is your favourite meal?
B: Early morning ( 7am) coffee. Breakfast: a berry feast , raspberries, blackberries, blueberries. Plus any fruit I can find additionally. Highly seeded no sugar muesli and two soft boiled eggs.
Lunch: an Avocado Salad from the coffee shop next to my office, sometimes a few chunks of chicken there. It’s huge and takes me through the afternoon. After a swim at 7pm I’m usually ravenous: some fish ,salmon or trout, baby potatoes, broccoli or spinach are a regular; this is my favourite meal.
F: Morning: A cup of tea, and then a quick gym session followed by seeded rye crackers with Boursin and fresh tomato (and eggs if I have time!). Lunch: either juicy leftovers from my cooking the night before, or a fresh salad packed with seasonal veg and german ham from the age old cafe next to the Berlin shop! Dinner: dinner is my favourite meal. Anything goes. Tonight I’ll be making jerk chicken thighs with a pineapple salad!
Where are your favourite places to eat out and why ?
B: If I was living in London I would be frequenting Social Pantry and Soane’s Kitchen regularly. But based in Cheltenham I love a place called Moran’s: they serve the best Hot Chicken Salad ever (an abundance of avocado, crispy bacon and onion rings). The place is familiar, warm and friendly. For more style I’d go to a restaurant called 131 . They serve a delicious Sunday roast. Presented beautifully. Super tasty.
F: I love, love, love going out for Sushi. Japanese food is something I will always go out for, simply because if I made it at home it would never be as good. Dudu in Berlin, is just fantastic on all levels.
If I came over for dinner, what sort of food would you serve?
B: Not enjoying long hours in the kitchen it would have to be something fairly simple. A mozzarella salad for sure. I’d hope you like salmon , would add asparagus and prepare garlic bread. For dessert I’d serve you a variety of bought ice lollies presented on a mountain of ice cubes .
F: I would relish the hours spent making this decision (many). If it was the weekend, then probably something slow roasted like a leg of lamb on a bed of prunes with a side of garlicky potato dauphinoise served with a fresh green salad packed with fresh spring onions – always a personal favourite! A weekday would be a quick and easy Salad Nicoise.
Lastly, are there any particular foods or ingredients you couldn’t live without?
B: I could not live without an avocado a day
F: Garlic… I’m not ashamed to say it.