Archives for category: Fashion


Following this week’s dinner with Cate Trotter from Insider Trends, this post delves into the *future* to see what the world of retail will be like in 5 years time. Grab your hover boards!

Cate’s key trends for the future of retail

  1. All superfluity will be removed from the consumer journey; e.g. going to a shop and finding that the item that you wanted isn’t in stock.
  2. Minimising returns. Companies like M and Co are already working with a data analytics company who are predicting which items are most frequently returned and pulling these items from their stock. This preventative procedure has saved them £400,000.
  3. No more queuing! Qudini are a company who let customers ‘virtual queue’ on their smartphone. This is a lot less frustrating for the customer who is more likely to think well of the brand.
  4. Offline stores will soon have the same functionality as online sites. Stores can now start to use analytics to track where people are in the store geographically to get people moving through the store. It can analyse which displays attract the most attention.
  5. Targeted marketing for high value customers. Ometria can very quickly analyse if someone is a high value customer.
  6. Personalisation. Cutting out irrelevant marketing.
  7. Invisible retail. Removing the need for tills, as customers will be able to trust the brand and scan the items they’d like.
  8. 3D printing to create personalised luxury items.
  9. Stores as ‘spaces’ – a three-dimensional space to sell products.

For more information about retail trends, see what happened at Cate’s TableCrowd dinner.

Retail InstagramThis week, we were over at Jamie’s Italian with our speaker Cate Trotter,and guests, to discuss the future of retail. Cate started Insider Trends, who help global brands create world-leading and profitable retail ecosystems. Her client list includes Marks and Spencer, Chanel, Unilever, Absolut Vodka and more, so it was fantastic that we were lucky enough to hear her speak this week at a TableCrowd dinner about what lies ahead in world of retail.

What will the world of retail look like in 5 years time?

Cate shared some of her predictions with us over dinner, and explained a bit about how the use of technology will affect the retail industry as a whole.

Some may say the role of the store is becoming obsolete, but Cate thinks differently about the future of shops.

Stores will still be relevant, but their function will be different.

The journey of the consumer which will be affected by technology from start to finish. Cate described the journey of a consumer in the year 2020, a journey which will largely be controlled by your smartphone. Each consumer will have a data profile, created from data harvested from our previous spending, and this profile will affect how we shop. She explained how these profiles will affect our every day retail journey:

  • We will be able to share all of our information with brands. Our location, our heartbeat, our favourite colour – all this intimate detail will be available on our profile, if we choose.
  • Within our data profile, we will be able to set up new shopping journeys.
  • Details of items will be beamed directly to your phone. If you are searching for an item on Google, you will receive directions for how to get to the store.
  • There will be micro-navigation in the store itself, to take you to the correct floor or section of the shop.
  • Items will be delivered to you, so you won’t have to physically pick it up.
  • Store assistants will be alerted when you arrive – and they will know your name!

These predictions are all incredibly exciting, and are mainly focused on making the retail journey as seamless as possible. There may even be an option, for example, to hold your phone up to the mannequin in store to find out all the details about the item.

For more discussion on the future of retail, check out Cate’s further predictions.
Our speaker, Cate, was joined by WickedUncle, Insider Trends, Travelex, CC Group, Porter Novelli, Deloitte, and KNOMI amongst others.

Hungry for more? Check out our list of upcoming dinners here.

Last week was a busy week, we had seven TableCrowd dinners happening across a variety of sectors, including WedTech, playing the stock market, Food & Beverage industry, PropertyTech and more. Here’s the rundown of what nuggets of wisdom our speakers imparted on their fellow diners: wedtechdinnerWedTech at Aubaine, Heddon St
We held an intimate dinner for those in the wedding industry with our co-host Sachin, Founder of Think Shaadi, discussing how technology is impacting the £10 billion UK wedding industry. Following the usual round-the-table introductions the diners chatted en mass about wedding trends and how to work together in such a big industry. With tech being a relatively new thing in the UK wedding industry, it was agreed by all that a lot of venues, dressmakers, and photographers are still using basic technology and definitely need to catch up! For the wedding industry, the most useful marketing tools are still word of mouth, with everyone stressing the importance of customer reviews.

foodUrban Food Fest at Piccolino, Exchange Square
Both Mike and Jessica joined us from Urban Food Fest to discuss the London street food scene and how it has revolutionised the way London eats! Founded two years ago, Urban Food Fest is a street food market based in Shoreditch occurring every Saturday. Around 15 food stalls – including a V corner for vegans and vegetarians – are surrounded by lots of bars and live music to entertain and delight the crowds that attend. Starting with a pop up status, their festival is now a regular event and they have expanded into corporate and private events including one for Henry Cavell, Apple and Volkswagen.

Ultimately, the team at Urban Food Fest love being a platform for so many diverse people who want to share their passion for food. For our diners, Mike’s top tips all related to networking and how it is crucial to success.

Business is person to person. Get over any inhibitions about talking to people and get out there and just do it!

You’ll never know where the conversations might lead. So, remember – always bring your business cards with you, be prepared and be passionate!

fashionpressdinnerHow to charm the Fashion Press
Diners were in for a treat at our Fashion Press dinner as they had two speakers, Alison Levy, Global Director of Brand Development at Fashion GPS and Tansy Aspinall, co-founder of Tada & Toy. The great thing about this dinner, apart from the amazing food at Mint Leaf Lounge, was the opportunity to garner insight into the accessibility of fashion magazines from both a PR and brand perspective. Both ladies had such insightful and worthwhile information, that we have a whole separate post dedicated to their top tips. Take a look at it here.

Tony Wollenberg on playing the stock market
Last Tuesday saw a group of diners joining serial entrepreneur and stock market guru, Tony Wollenberg for dinner at Aubaine where his market successes and failures were discussed over food. Tony had some great advice for those interested in playing the stock market which identified that whatever you’re doing in the markets, it certainly won’t be a boring journey up, or down. His honest depiction of crashes in the stock market led him to describe them as “cataclysmic, seismic events” that are “the times when you can make the most money.”

You can be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy.

acceldinnerDinner with Luciana Lixandru, Accel Partners
The private dining room at Jamie’s Italian in Piccadilly was the backdrop for our fundraising dinner with Luciana Lixandru, Vice President and an early stage investor at Accel. Providing a brief history of the company, Luciana explained that Accel was built in Silicon Valley 30 years ago, and in Europe they invest $0.5 billion dollars. This is usually invested in early stage to growth businesses, and the sweet spot is often around £10 million for the initial investment. Accel’s ‘Claim to Fame’ is that they were the first to invest in Facebook!

Luciana’s top tip was:

Be straightforward and make it easy for VCs to understand you

A vibrant evening with lots of lovely guests was the feedback from our host with regards to our Property Tech dinner with Ed Freyfogle, in partnership with Wellers and our co-host Fixflo. Ed shared the story of Lokku, including lessons he learnt whilst at Yahoo about getting annihilated by Google, analysing Yahoo’s site and realising how cluttered it was. He stressed the importance of making sure you understand the value chain of your piece of the business.

His top tips were:

  • Keep your endurance and stick with it
  • Control the things you can control, don’t spend too much time worrying about the things you can’t
  • The better you do at serving the consumer, the more money you make
  • As you go on your journey, don’t forget to enjoy it

Click here for all the tips provided by Sarah Jossel at the ‘Getting into the Glossys’ dinner.

A big thanks goes to our speakers Mike, Alison, Tansy, Tony, Ed and Luciana, and our partners Fixflo, Wellers, Taylor Wessing and SilkFred.


For a full list of our upcoming dinners, click here.



fashion-show-nyc_6880_600x450Our Fashion Press dinner last week was full of valuable nuggets of information for securing media coverage for fashion brands, whether you use a PR company or contact them directly. Alison Levy, Global Director of Brand Development at Fashion GPS provided the PR perspective insight, whilst Tansy Aspinall, co-founder of Tada & Toy, highlighted the key elements from a brands point of view.

Alison’s Top Tips

  • Leave a lasting impression
  • Bloggers are always looking for unique content – make sure yours is
  • Lots of brands want to launch when they’re not ready, they expect press when they don’t have the content or the means to sell their product – don’t do this!
  • Stay organised and think outside the box

Tansy’s Top Tips

  • Be different and have unique selling points – Tada & Toy is a luxury brand with accessible prices, produced by an ethical company with a charity conscience. They use clean packaging with a card inside that explains each pieces’ story
  • Sometimes it pays to hire a PR company
  • Gifting works but do your research – Send earrings to the Editor’s Assistant, making sure she wears them (‘stalking’ on Facebook and Instagram is acceptable when trying to establish this!)
  • Be realistic about your product – what publications does it fit with? You only get ONE chance with A LOT of these publications
  • Be 100% satisfied and ready to launch

When discussing which PR firm to choose, Tansy had a great piece of advice on how to find the right one. Look at brands you like, research who their PR agencies are and target them specifically. Of those who are interested, shop around for the best one that understands your brand and vision. This process worked for them as they managed to be featured in Vogue just before Christmas which had a massive impact on their sales.

To hear from more of our knowledgeable and inspiring speakers, be sure to check out our upcoming dinners you can join, right here. Think you have what it takes to be a speaker at a TableCrowd dinner? Get in touch with us,

It’s almost the middle of May already – before you know it, summer will have whizzed right past us. To ensure you make the most of your time, next week is crammed full of dinners for you to meet and network with a whole host of people. So, without any further ado, here’s what’s happening:

NWD180515Hear how the pop-up scene has changed the way London eats
Join Jessica Tucker, founder of Urban Food Fest, for dinner and drinks and discuss the revolutionary way in which street food has transformed the London food scene. This dinner is for food entrepreneurs and enthusiasts looking to gain a valuable insight into the world of street food.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 18 May

Discuss the future of #WedTech and it’s effect on the £10 billion UK wedding industry
Join your industry peers and the discussion on WedTech, how it’s booming in the US and ready to explode into the UK market. See how your business can capitalise on this trend and the growing number of brides and groom spending up to 10 hours a week on wedding sites and blogs.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 18 May at Aubaine, Regent Street

Dine with Tony Wollenberg, founder of City Index: Playing the stock market
With decades of experience and market anecdotes, Tony Wollenberg is the person to garner information from relating to the stock market. Meet Tony informally over dinner and listen to this serial entrepreneur and stock market guru’s after-dinner talk.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 May

Dine with an early stage investor from Accel
Find out what Luciana Lixandru, an early stage investor at Accel, looks for in the companies she invests in. She focuses on early and growth stage investments.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 May at Jamie’s Italian Piccadilly, Soho


Find out how to charm the Fashion Press with Fashion GPS and Tada & Toy
Obtain an insight into both sides of the story, from agency and brand, when securing coverage for a fashion business. The Global Director of Brand Development at Fashion GPS, Alison Levy will be providing an after-dinner talk, as well as Tansy Aspinall, co-founder of Tada & Toy.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 19 May at Mint Leaf Lounge, Bank

Dine with Ed Freyfogle, founder of Nestoria at our PropertyTech dinner
We’ve teamed up with Fixflo to bring you our third PropertyTech dinner for fellow entrepreneurs and professionals in the property industry to meet and network over food. Ed Freyfogle, co-founder of Lokku (who’s key consumer brand is Nestoria) will be talking after dinner, which includes an informal Q&A session.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 20 May at Mint Leaf Lounge, Bank

“Getting into the Glossys” dinner with Sarah Jossel, Glamour Magazine
Talk informally over dinner with Sarah Jossel, Glamour Magazine’s Deputy Beauty Editor, and Backstage Reporter for New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. Find out how to get into the pages of coveted glossy magazines at this dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Wednesday 20 May at Pescatori Italian & Seafood Restaurant, Fitzrovia

New to TableCrowd? Take a look at our video to see what it’s like joining us for dinner:

For a full list of our upcoming dinners, click here.

edwinWhat a monumental week of dinners we’ve had to finish the month of April on a high. With seven dinners to cover, this is part 1 of 2 (find part 2 here), so we’ll keep this week’s round-up as concise as we can:

Edwin Smith on media coverage for your startup
Our first dinner this week was with freelance journalist, Edwin Smith and our partner Mangostorm Media at the scrumptuous Mint Leaf Lounge. As usual the atmosphere was electric, with everyone having lots to say to each other. Ed delivered a fantastic speech; his top tips for getting good coverage were:

  • Have a really good ‘About ‘ page on your website
  • Know what makes you interesting
  • Don’t always rely on PR agencies – sometimes a personal approach is better
  • PR should be the responsibility of everyone in the company
  • Don’t oversell yourself
  • Think of it from a journalist’s POV

Ultimately, you should ensure that you have a “good, concise, well written, interesting piece with relevant information and specific statistics and figures” available for journalists to review. This is vital for them to try and find info out about a company as quickly as possible.

Women in STEM
This dinner was a first for us, bringing women together from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics industries, however it went down a storm with the ladies. A big thanks to our partner Mendeley for adding a personal touch with branded napkins and chocolates – what a treat! Taking place at The Green in Clerkenwell, Nasrin Hafezparast from Outcomes Based Healthcare spoke passionately about her experiences of being a woman in STEM (and being dual-qualified no less!) she had the attention of the whole room during and after her speech, with the majority of diners burning the midnight oil with her.

bloggersFashion eCommerce with Chloe Thomas
With our partner Attraqt, Tuesday saw a group dining with Chloe Thomas, author of eCommerce Masterplan who spoke about her history in eCommerce and international selling, which has led her to now help other businesses. She does this by absorbing what happens in the market and looking at the options, to find out what can be done by eCommerce business owners. Chloe concentrated her talk on the core of eCommerce, specifically CBT (cross border trading, otherwise known as international selling), as well as understanding the customer.

Did you know?

  • The UK leads the world in eCommerce
  • UK consumers spend on average £1145 each online per year
  • Trust, experience and convenience are the three main reasons that people enjoy shopping in stores rather than online

Top tip:

Take the tactics being used by the big players and use them in the smaller market. E.g. Claire’s Accessories sold on Amazon in three countries to find out which one had the biggest traction so they could set up shops in that country.

The Bloggersphere with Hayley Carr and Jane Cunningham
Tuesday night’s dinner at Jamie’s Italian in Piccadilly Circus took the TableCrowd experience to a whole new level thanks to Hayley Carr (London Beauty Queen) and Jane Cunningham (British Beauty Blogger), who turned our Q&A session on its head by introducing the #honestanswers question box. All our diners got to put questions to our speakers completely anonymously which meant the PR crowd could ask the nitty gritty questions they’ve always wanted to ask!

As independent bloggers, both Hayley and Jane run practically every aspect of their blogs and describe blogging as a 24/7 job, “a regular job would be easier” explained Jane. As the bloggersphere is becoming more commercial, both bloggers predicted that the future will see blogs being primed for sale and sold off as commercial commodities. The main topics stripped bare and discussed were:

  • PRs can be influential in a blogger’s journey, and should focus on up and coming blogs
  • Bloggers know their audience, and they know what works best
  • They do not “play with lipstick all day”
  • A great blogger works really hard across all channels and has constant content as well as their own opinion
  • There’s always a thirst for knowledge and this usually involves a change in the reader’s life initiating a need for knowing
  • Understand the longevity of a blog post, two year old blogs are still being read today

They both agreed that what makes a good PR is someone who listens, someone to create a relationship with and who wants to build on that relationship. But most importantly of all, know who you are pitching to!

Big thanks to our partners Mangostorm Media, Mendeley and Attraqt, along with our speakers Nasrin Hafezparast, Edwin Smith, Hayley Carr and Jane Cunningham.


For a complete list of our upcoming dinners, click here.

150325-adrThis week we had three dinners going on, we started the week off on Monday with diners joining Solvej Biddle, a dragon’s den success story and an inspiring female entrepreneur. Tuesday night saw a collective of beauty bloggers and brands hear Hayley Carr of London Beauty Queen blog talk on digital beauty, as well as Joel Freeman, the co-Founder of Grabble discuss the success of his fashion app. Here’s the lowdown on what went on:

The recipe for success – mix courage, humility and passion in equal measures
Monday night’s dinner with Solvej Biddle was a classic TableCrowd night at Aubaine, Heddon St. To set the scene, 12 ladies dined in an intimate setting around a huge and beautifully laid table, with delicious food and fascinating conversation, each sharing their stories and ideas. Solvej spoke knowledgeably throughout the evening on three main topics:

  1. Having a decent idea
  2. Finding and making contacts
  3. Passion

For the first topic, Solvej talked about her original idea of creating an intimate dark space for babies to sleep, the highs and lows she went through, including being a woman running a business, being a sole founder, and the work involved in building a brand. She moved on to the need to surround yourself with people who know more than you in order to gain knowledge. This will help your business in more ways than you can imagine. Finally, and the most important subject of all, Solvej covered the underlying need to be passionate about your product or business, so much so that it is infectious and is passed on from buyer to buyer.

If you are courageous, have humility and keep your passion through all the hardships – you will get there!

The evening was concluded with a lovely round the table discussion with answers to such questions as, is being a sole founder a good thing? What are the difficulties of negative social media? And trying to understand the surreal world of trade shows.


Use buzzwords to impress people
The diners at our fashion dinner at Rocket, The City, with the co-founder of Grabble, Joel Freeman, heard the whole story of Grabble including all the mistakes they made to get to where they are today. Humour was scattered throughout Joel’s talk as he provided his top seven tips for how to get funding; with a big one being to ask the investor at the end of the first meeting if they are going to invest in you. This way you won’t waste any more time with them if they’re not; it also means that you have the opportunity to find out why they’re not going to commit right there and then. An honest reply can be really hard to get in follow-up emails. Joel emphasised the importance on the way you talk about your business, and how much of a difference it can make.

Don’t take no for an answer!

beautyEngagement and interaction is key
Our final dinner of the week was co-hosted with MyBeautyMatches and featured London Beauty Queen blogger, Hayley Carr, speaking on social media for the beauty industry. Dining at Jamie’s Italian, Piccadilly, our diners argued over who had the most delicious dessert! Hayley’s talk covered the social media landscape and why we can’t ignore importance of social media in 2015.

75% of companies are not investing at all in social media.

What Hayley really honed in on was the importance of your audience, to reward them, to interact and engage with them, and to mix up your content across your social media channels. Find out when they are online, establish the best time to engage with them, and use questions to get your audience to interact with you. Make it clear what you want them to do – explicitly tell them if you want them to ‘like’ or ‘retweet’ something. Interestingly, only 8% of bloggers make a full-time living from blogging. If there’s one thing to take away from the evening, it would be using the 80/20 rule for content on social media; 80% of content should be about related topics, with the remaining 20% being about your business.

Our speakers were joined by: Le-Ster, Seren, Brilliant Basics, Street Stream, Auburn&Ivy, StreetHub, WonderLuk, TreatNOW, Yours Truly Organics, I Heart Beauty, Benefit Cosmetics, The Library of Fragrance, ila-Spa amongst others.

Here’s some snippets from the evenings:

Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.55.42 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.56.07 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.56.36  Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.57.20 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.57.39 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.57.50  Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.58.26 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.58.32 Screenshot 2015-03-25 09.58.42 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.04.52 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.05.47 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.10.03 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.10.46 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.10.56 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.11.18 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.11.23 Screenshot 2015-03-25 10.11.41

Big thanks go out to Solvej Biddle, Hayley Carr and Joel Freeman for speaking, and our partner Taylor Wessing.

TAYLOR WESSINGTake a look at our upcoming dinners and book your seat today.

150316 dinnersBefore we cover next week’s dinner, it’s not too late to join our dinner with Julian Blake, TechCityinsider’s editor. Julian will be talking about how to tell the story of your startup, whether to attract coverage or generally progress your business. We also have our much-anticipated sharing economy dinner which is invite-only and being held at the fabulous City Social, Tower 42.

Next week, we have:

Dine with Solvej Biddle
Another of our ladies only dinners, this time Female Business Owner of the Year, Solvej Biddle will be sharing her story, as well as tips and insights for other entrepreneurs. As a successful Dragon’s Den business investment. Solvej is the founder of Content & Calm, a multi-award winning range of children’s travel products. The business currently boasts supplying the UK’s biggest retailers as well as retailers and distributors in 21 countries.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Monday 23 March at Aubaine, Heddon Street

MyBeautyMatches’ digital beauty dinner
Social media is key to any business these days, so we are incredibly excited about our latest beauty dinner, hosted by MyBeautyMatches. London Beauty Queen’s Hayley Carr, who will be talking about using social media to accelerate your brand, as well her top tips and insights, will join diners for this upcoming instalment.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 24 March at Jamie’s Italian, Piccadilly

Dine with Daniel Murray, Grabble’s founder
It’s the ‘Tinder for fashion’ app that everyone is talking about, after all, it has just been named best app by Apple in 34 countries. Daniel will be discussing his journey with Grabble, including smart marketing and his top tips for others in the sector. Grabble has just closed a £1.2m seed round, so you can also expect plenty of insight into fundraising for your startup at this dinner.
Dinner is at 6:45pm on Tuesday 24 March at Rocket City

Finally, we can announce our exciting new dinners just for you:

For all complete rundown of our upcoming dinners, click here.

We met Moyang Yang at our “Fashioning Technology” networking dinner earlier this month. We were excited to find out more about her business.


What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Vernez is the place where you can express your fashion style using any clothing items (without having to buy them!) at any time you feel inspired. We have seen our userscreating styles as simple as an outfit to ones that look like fashion magazines. They also have complete freedom in curating what they want to read by following favourite creators and items they want to buy but need more opinions. It’s really a lot of fun!

What were you doing before you launched your startup?

I was an organisational psychologist and spent a lot of time analysingdata to predict personal choices and behaviours at workplace. However I always consider fashion as my true passion, so I thought – why don’t I combine both? And there was Vernez!

If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?

My co-founder, Arron, who comes from strategy consulting and private equity brings a full spectrum of commercial expertise. He has been my life partner for nearly 9 years, and we are getting married in Italy this summer. 🙂

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What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

I used some professional UI design firms in the early days hoping that they would translate my vision into a pretty product, only to find out that there was no shortcut to doing it myself. After all no one can truly see the world through your lenses, especially when it’s a new idea!

What will 2015 bring?

The formal launch of our platform on website and mobile app… and lots more happy stylish people on the street!

1 piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?

Start with the hardest and weakest part of your business. If you can’t pull it off, you’d want to know it sooner rather than later.

Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words.

Express your passion for fashion to an audience who share your style. Curate inspirations for your next look with complete freedom from an endless supply, and discover ideas on how to wear your new or all-time favourites. – All of these at your finger tips!


What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?


What’s your favourite London restaurant?

Japanese restaurant Roka, on Charlotte Street.

To read more Business Spotlights, please go here. If you have dined with us and would like to be featured, please get in touch to

Last night, London’s FashionTech scene dined together and shared delicious Asian food. Our after dinner speaker was Alex Semenzato. Alex is the founder of FashTech and Market Development at Cortexica. He shared his insights on the emerging trends and types of innovation we are seeing within the fashion and technology industries from both a b2c and b2b perspective.

We first met Alex at our FashionTech press dinner last year and we were delighted to welcome him back to speak.

We welcomed diners from CortexicaRunning in Heels, Bill+Mar, Vernez, & to name a few. Thank you to everyone that made the evening so great.

A few snippets from the evening:


Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 21

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