Sasha Muir has launched 3, count ’em, 3 successful brands. If you’re reading this article while scrolling on your smartphone – you might notice your brightly painted nails. Mine are currently a shade of pink called, Cake Hole.
Muir launched butter LONDON in 2005 and successfully built the company into an influential, high-design, nail lacquer brand.
Muir moved to Seattle (by accident …that’s another story!) after graduating with a Masters in Engineering from Cambridge. Her first career was in strategic management consulting. She applied to INSEAD business school, near Paris, and earned my MBA in 2002.
After the success of butter LONDON, Muir transitioned into a board-only role and launched Knickerbocker Glory in 2010, a high-end children’s apparel brand. She sold this company in April 2014 and almost simultaneously launched BEVÉE, a luxury handbags and accessories brand.
Whew! Girls done WORK. Check out the quick interview with Sasha Muir below.
When did you first self-identify as an entrepreneur?
Looking back, I’ve always been entrepreneurial but did not identify as an entrepreneur until I moved to Seattle. When I arrived, I knew no one and no one knew me! Faced with a clean slate of choices, I realized I wanted to get off the corporate ladder and I had a strong need to create and build something of my own. Being in the city of Seattle really helped… entrepreneurship is amazingly well embraced here, at all levels.
Share a bit about your company and some of the highs/lows associated with your entrepreneurial journey — biggest learning curve? Most exciting moment?
My biggest accomplishment to date is undoubtedly butter LONDON. I created a brand and built a company that is fast becoming a household name.
My focus now is to do the same with my latest business baby, BEVÉE. It is a luxury handbags and accessories brand, designed to work with a modern woman’s busy lifestyle and get her love of fashion. I believe there is a real niche for us in this crowded and competitive environment.
The life on an entrepreneur is filled with highs and lows. It’s like a roller coaster that you just can’t get off because life and work have such blurred lines.
My biggest high right now is seeing BEVEE bags out in the real world. Whether it’s a regular customer or a celebrity, it’s a rush to see my vision in real life and the audience I am targeting wearing and loving the bags.
The lowest low I’ve had with BEVÉE was realizing that my business partnership was not going to work long term. Having to end the partnership was difficult. This was the first company that I had co-founded and we had such high hopes. On the plus side, I feel fortunate that we realized this so early on and know that the personal learnings I have gained from it are vast.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face being an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur – especially in start up mode – one of the biggest challenges is dealing with the amount and variety of work that needs to be done. I like to think about work in terms of ‘urgency’ and ‘importance’. It’s pretty easy to steer the team (and myself) away from ‘non-important and non-urgent’ items but sometimes it’s harder to make sure that the ‘important but non-urgent’ items get done BEFORE they become urgent.
Growing up, or now, did you have one particular mentor that inspired you or helped you get to where you are today?
My biggest inspiration is my father. He died when I was 17. He told me everyday that if I worked hard and believed in myself that I could be, and do, anything I wanted. He didn’t half of the education that I did, but worked his way from Mail Boy to Director of one of the largest insurance firms in the UK and became a “name” at Lloyds of London. I still hope to make him proud of my choices and achievements in both my personal and private life.
What are you reading now – or what have you read previously – that inspired you, that you’d like to tell others about?
I’ve just finished reading my big brother’s first published short story, “Fame and Blinding in Shanghai” by James AC Muir. He has wanted to be an author for a long time and I am so proud he has achieved this first milestone. He has a fabulous career as an Environmental Engineer but in his late-30s he went part time and enrolled to earn his Masters in Creative Writing (whilst raising two young kids!). His dedication to achieve his dreams (and his writing) inspires me.
If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger self, or to other emerging female entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Stay open to the input of others and surround yourself by advisors and mentors who have been where you want to go. That being said, don’t be afraid to listen to your gut and follow your own vision. A balance between these two sometimes-counteractive forces is key. You have to learn and act on good advice whilst maintaining the confidence you need to pursue what you believe to be the right path at the right time.