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How to care for your leather bag

How to care for your leather bag

Tips and tricks

Your first leather Healthy Back Bag is an investment that will look beautiful for years. Our leather develops a natural patina to keep the bag looking beautiful over time. We’ve put together a few tips & tricks so that with a little bit of care you can help your bag continue look its best.

Tips and Tricks

By following just a few simple rules, you can avoid unnecessary wear and tear and extend the life of your bag.

1 . Leather is a skin, and it can stretch. Avoid overfilling your bag to maintain its original silhouette and to get maximum benefit from the ergonomic design.

2. We recommend avoiding contact with rough or abrasive surfaces as this can damage the leather.

3. Avoid placing your bag on the floor or ground if possible, this helps to avoid damage and extra unnecessary cleaning.  This is where our bag hooks come in handy!

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Tips and Tricks

By following just a few simple rules, you can avoid unnecessary wear and tear and extend the life of your bag.

1 . Leather is a skin, and it can stretch. Avoid overfilling your bag to maintain its original silhouette and to get maximum benefit from the ergonomic design.

2. We recommend avoiding contact with rough or abrasive surfaces as this can damage the leather.

3. Avoid placing your bag on the floor or ground if possible, this helps to avoid damage and extra unnecessary cleaning.  This is where our bag hooks come in handy!

Cleaning your leather bag

To clean your leather bag we recommend using a mild ph-balanced leather cleaner and conditioner with a damp cloth.

If the leather is looking a little dull we recommend following up with a leather restorer, a cream which will bring the life back to your bag!

Don’t forget the inside too… Spot clean with wet wipes or sponge with a mild, non-biological detergent solution and leave to air dry.

By taking time to care for your leather, you will uphold the value and maintain the appearance of your treasured leather Healthy Back Bag. All our leather bags are shipped for free within the UK and can be split into 3 easy payments with Klarna.

For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us, we would be more than happy to assist further.

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Colour Analysis – What’s the Point?

Colour Analysis – What’s the point?

The latest from our House of Colour blogger
Fiona Ingham
stripey dress and blusher copy

Surely everyone knows their Colours

Some lucky individuals instinctively know which colours suit them. However, many don’t and take refuge in black and grey, or buy clothes in random colours which they then don’t wear. A recent study found that each Briton throws away 3.1kg of textiles every year and that 1.7kg of this ends up in landfill. Colour analysis can help towards reducing this waste!

Where it started

I had my colours analysed in 1987. I discovered that I was as an Autumn, suiting warm, rich, earthy tones, quite the opposite to the cool rose pinks, powder blues, lilacs and black that I favoured. I had felt that I often looked washed out, but didn’t relate this to the colours I wore. When I changed to warm reds, yellows, greens and turquoises, people commented on how well I looked. It was wonderful!  I thought back to items I had loved in childhood: a forest green skirt with orange trim, a buttercup yellow dress, a coral coat. All Autumn colours and perfect for me.

Colours in Childhood

Little children tend to know their colours. But gradually influences come into play. Parents ( it is usually the Mum!) unwittingly dress them in colours that would look better on themselves.  Incorrect advice, such as ‘no red with red hair’ ‘yellow is only for people with dark hair’ can further confuse.

Colours worn by people we admire in childhood often have an influence. Conversely a scary primary school teacher who sported purple head to toe ruined that fabulous colour for one client. Fashion colours help to shape our taste. Consequently we might love or hate 60’s neon, 70’s browns and oranges, 80’s brights or 90’s neutrals.

MYTHS

Myths around neutral colours are endlessly repeated.  ‘Everyone looks good in a LBD’, ‘Black is slimming’, ‘You can’t go wrong with a crisp white shirt’ , ‘Grey is sophisticated’.  Beige is disparaged by the fashion press until every couple of years when it pops back as a ‘wardrobe essential’. Which it is. But only if you are a Spring or an Autumn!

Nowadays confusion is compounded by advice from peers on internet colour forums and attempts at self- analysis, which can waste time and money.

finding your colour season

Your colour season is determined by the complex combination of your skin tones, eye colour and natural hair colour. Only by sitting in front of a mirror for a couple of hours, guided through the maze by an experienced consultant with access to 144 coloured drapes will you discover which colour season you are.

The later teenage years are a wonderful time to gift a colour analysis consultation. A lovely client who did her colours with me over 20 years ago, wrote to me recently. She treated all her grandchildren to a consultation when they were school leavers and observed the benefit to their confidence when attending interviews and embarking on their studies and careers. I’ll leave the last words to her.

“I wanted you to know that I think that Colour Analysis and advice on style is the greatest gift for a young person. We have such fond memories of our visits to you.”

stripey dress and blusher copy

FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2020. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award and also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a private, Individual session or Duo session where two friends attend together in the Primrose Hill studio.

Personal Style can be an Individual session or a Duo session for two friends in the studio OR an Individual session on Zoom for clients who live further away.

Please email or call for full information.

Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk
07791 507534

DON’T FORGET YOUR BAG!

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5 Picnic Spots we Love in East London

5 picnic spots we love in East London

With the sun finally shining again, it’s time to share our favourite picnic spots in East London. During what seems like a century of lockdowns, the local park has become a hub for the community. East London has parks for every type of picnic, from family birthdays to late night parties (looking at you London Fields). So grab your bag, pick your park and head east!

1. VICTORIA PARK

Situated in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Victoria Park is one of London’s most visited green spaces with approximately 9 million visitors every year. The park opened to the public in 1845 and features two identical statues of The Dogs of Alcibiades. These statues stand guard over the Bonner Street entrance, next to Regents Canal which were donated in 1912 by local resident Lady Aignarth in memory of her late husband, Horatio.

Walk around the lake past the pagoda which was refurbished in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics and stop at the Pavilion Café for great coffee and a delicious cardamon bun. The park has plenty of picnic tables dotted around but if it rains, venture to the eastern boundary where there are two white stone alcoves which were part of the old London Bridge moved here after the bridge’s demolition in 1831 and where you can sit sheltered from the great British summer!

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2. DE BEAUVOIR SQUARE

Small and perfectly formed, De Beauvoir Square is tucked between Kingsland Road and De Beauvoir Roads (home to our very own HBB office). A perfect place for picnics away from the crowds, the park features a circular rose garden and children’s play area.

In July each year the park plays host to the famous De Beauvoir Party in the Park. The local community come together to set up stalls giving away toys and books to the younger generation and selling Pimms and cake for the parents.

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3. LONDON FIELDS

A short walk west from Victoria Park takes you to London Fields. Home to the popular London Fields Lido, its large grassy spaces are therefore perfect for hipster hangouts and weekend picnics.

The nearby Broadway Market has all you need to stock up on delicacies for an afternoon of lounging in the sun. The Inn on the Park has a garden with great views over the park and a Pétanque area with boules to hire to while away a lazy Sunday.

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4. SHOREDITCH PARK

Featuring a huge climbing boulder, an amphitheatre for events and outdoor screenings, a beach volleyball court and a state of the art leisure centre, Shoreditch Park sits just off New North Road and has undergone some major transformations in its day. The site originally provided housing for London’s East End until it was bombed in the war and was subsequently used for temporary accommodation for homeless families.

In July 2005/2006 archaeologists from the Museum of London carried out extensive excavations to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. This was documented in a Time Team special episode called “Buried By The Blitz”.

5. HAGGERSTON PARK

This park was once the grounds of the old Shoreditch Gasworks which was hit by a V-2 rocket in the war. In the 1950’s the park was created for local families and now provides football pitches, a nature reserve, plenty of grass space for picnics and events (the 2012 Olympics was screened here). In addition it houses Hackney City Farm on its south side.

Close to Columbia Road Flower Market which operates every Sunday morning, the park is a pleasant 10 minute stroll north. Little known fact – if you see nuns walking around the park , it’s likely they belong to St Saviours convent on Queensbridge Road. The convent still functions and holds a jumble sale each Sunday morning at the same time as the flower market.

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Spring into colour!

SPRING INTO COLOUR!

Written by Fiona Ingham
stripey dress and blusher copy

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

Spring has sprung with designers offering a rainbow of colour designed to incite optimism and encourage transitioning from those dull grey jogging bottoms and sweatshirts into bright colours and perhaps celebrate the thrill of al fresco dining.

So here we go! Greens are good for you. And a huge trend. I have many from the zingiest limes through fresh grass to soft moss and rich deep greens. A favourite jump suit in dark olive ticks a trend box and can be teamed with boots, colourful kitten heels, or when the weather warms up, embellished sandals. My pistachio baglett completes the outfit. Look out for vibrant emeralds sparkling on the rails when the shops open. Green in judgement? Certainly not. But colleagues might be green with envy when you join that Zoom meeting wearing a chic green top or statement necklace.

MELLOW YELLOW

Yellow, a top trend this season, from mellow and soft to sharp and vibrant, will brighten any outfit. Its popularity has exploded, from that joyous La La Land dress of 2016, then adopted as occasion wear by two duchesses and Amal Clooney. Now shining bright as the Pantone Colour of 2021, Illuminating Anything goes, from soft pastel primroses to bright buttercups and golden tulips. Bring a sparkle to any neutral including the current greige or true grey, navy or black. Be bold and take it to the limit paired with neons, maybe an optimistic orange.

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PAINT THE TOWN RED

A red dress is a great addition to any wardrobe. Energising, cheering, centre of attention red. Its iterations include tasty tomato, watermelon or cherry. Choose fit and flare, a midi shirt dress, a tea dress or a cover- all maxi to chime with the current relaxed vibe. If your thermals won’t fit underneath try shapewear to keep you cosy when an icy blast blows in over lunch. Make a statement in red ultra-wide leg, high-waisted trousers or an oversized deconstructed jacket. If the full Lady in Red look is scary try stripes, neat and ordered or madly clashing. Or wear a splash in large tropical prints maybe including on-trend fuchsias or magenta pinks.

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CONTRASTING IDEAS

In contrast you might love dainty florals in blouses or full skirts wafting in chiffon or tulle pastels: soft pinks, blues, aquas and lavenders. Add a pretty pointelle cardigan. Formal/casual mixes stalked the catwalks so feel free to break rules and toughen up this girly look with chunky boots, a denim or biker jacket and heavy chain necklace. Alternatively dress up to the nines with skyscraper strappy sandals, provided you can still remember how to walk in them!

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TRUE BLUE

Make sure you’ve got the blues. Think of the Mediterranean or cool glacial aquas and everything in between. Don’t neglect the peacocks and kingfishers. Return to nature and add shells, pearls, a raffia bag, a straw hat and gladiator sandals. We’re all going on a summer holiday!

GET YOUR FREE GUIDE

To receive a Free Illustrated Guide of Spring/Summer 2021 Trend Colours just email me. Request either the general one or if you have been colour analysed, the one specific to your colour season.

stripey dress and blusher copy

FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award and also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

For the time being Fiona is running her sessions virtually. For ‘Individual Personal Style on Zoom’ sessions and how to look good ‘Across a Crowded Zoom’ mini workshops contact Fiona directly with the details below.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

DON’T FORGET YOUR BAG!

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Shop Japan – Pop up stores

SHOP JAPAN

ポップアップ・ストア*

By Global Business Development Manager, Nancy Evans

Our Global Business Development Manager, Nancy Evans, provides an insight to The Healthy Back Bag in Japan

Japan, a population of 126 million and a people of discerning taste when it comes to quality and feature-rich brands, is the undisputed birthplace of pop-up shops aka fairs.

                            

Whilst people in the US and elsewhere have just recently embraced the power of the Pop-Up, this has been a viable retail platform in Japan for years and is now considered a sustainable trend.

Since no two pop-ups are created equal, this limited time only space is sure to create a buzz, a sense of urgency and at-once purchases.  And securing the ‘right’ space is no easy task as the competition for the best real estate can be fierce.  As the experts say: ‘location, location, location.’ In addition to high profile department stores, they are equally successful in off the beaten track lifestyle shops in rural locations.

The set-up is nothing short of fast and furious taking place when the store is closed (often dark!) leaving two windows of opportunity;  after 10 PM or before opening at 6 AM.  Picture a small, nimble team building out a store in less than 3 hours.

In an average window of two weeks, you can expect to see a full assortment of the brand, interact with trained staff and encounter lots of visuals and brand information (no story too long).

The advantages are many and not limited to connecting brand and consumer, building awareness offline and testing new markets all in venues cheaper than traditional, permanent retail space.

These otherwise temporary locations can show up in the most unusual of places like in the center of Shibuya metro station, the 3rd busiest in Tokyo with 2.4 million people passing thru on an average weekday.  Whether commuters or tourists, everyone is on the go and has a common need for… a bag that moves with them.  Enter NeWoman (pronounced Newman).  After proven success, this is a re-occurring pop-up.

At 6+ months and still going strong, Odakyu Shinjuku is a personal favourite since my picture is on the wall of fame that proudly displays the brand timeline.

Pop-ups can also increase a brand’s ‘cool factor’ as is the case with Loft, a variety store attracting the young female to a wide array of accessible cosmetics, lifestyle accessories and snacks.

Litmus test for success you ask?

When a pop-up looks and sells like a monobrand shop, the perfect example being Diamor Osaka.

A must see when visiting Japan, everyone should experience both sushi for breakfast at the Toyosu fish market along with a stop at an authentic pop-up shop.

*And for those inquiring minds, ポップアップ・ストア translates to pop-up shop, a welcoming mix of English and Japanese.

NANCY EVANS
Global Business Development Manager

Nancy Evans has over 26 years experience with premium brands rich in heritage. Her journey began in sales management with Hartmann Luggage, followed by various roles with Victorinox Travel Gear, then as VP Marketing of Columbia Sportswear bags and later Nike’s Business Director of US bags and subsequently a global merchandising role overseeing bag specialty. Nancy initially joined The Healthy Back Bag Company with a brief to develop European distribution, and in 2007 her role expanded when she was appointed Global Business Development Manager. Nancy’s expertise spans lifestyle, luxury, sport/athletic and outdoor products, and she is actively involved in design, development and product marketing all while seeking out new markets to add to the company’s current distribution in 27 countries worldwide.

A lover of great brands, all things outdoor, cooking/eating and of course, international travel, Nancy makes her home in Salem, Oregon USA.

WHILE YOU’RE HERE…

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Frontline Heroes Roundup

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR FRONTLINE HEROES!

Throughout April and into May, we have been asking the general public to nominate their own Frontline Heroes – Our glorious doctors, nurses, and paramedics, and other key hospital staff; the cooks, porters and janitors without whom the wheels would stop turning. Police officers, pharmacists, social carers, utility workers, firemen, teachers, farmers, refuse collectors and sewage workers, transport staff, delivery workers and those on the check-out in our local stores. The response has been amazing with 1000’s of nominations pouring in!

The initiative originated in early March when the team discussed how they could support all of those key workers putting themselves at risk every day and it was decided that they would give away 100 bags (quickly increasing to 150 due to demand) to those whose stories moved them the most.

Very soon though, with personal tragedy hitting the team this initiative took on far greater meaning as Dan’s mother-in -law became ill.

“Not long after we had come up with the idea of a Frontline Heroes campaign my mother-in-law caught the virus. Although physically fit and well, within 4 days she was taken to hospital and sadly died 2 days later.”

“The shock to our family was extreme and the circumstances of not being able to visit and family members being isolated was heart wrenching which made the amazing support and comfort we were shown all the more powerful. The paramedics who came within minutes to her home, the staff at The Royal Free Hospital, those in contact with the family following her death – these people were truly amazing.”

Our frontline hero nominations have come from all areas of the country across a huge range of industry, from NHS staff to pharmacists, delivery drivers, checkout staff, care workers, cleaners and so many others…

These are but a few of the amazing stories that will hopefully show just how incredible the key workers have been throughout the pandemic!

Wiiner Paramedic

Michael

nominated by his friend Rosalind

Michael is a paramedic… The current crisis means wearing uncomfortable protection gear, being called out not knowing what they will face and with the likelihood that a percentage of their pick up will not make it. They risk their lives to do it.  Michael does this so willingly without any thought of his safety, shift after shift. A little boost to morale will go a long way”

Amanda

nominated by her daughter Chloe

 “I nominate our hard working mum.  Who works different day evening and night shifts in SSD Craigavon Area Hospital.  Mum never complains, but I can see on her face she is worried and tired, her smile is always there but her eyes say different.  I would love this surprise for mum, she wouldn’t ever expect this”

Winner Nurse
Eduardo

Eduardo

nominated by his mum Sandra

“Eduardo is my 18 year old son, one of the youngest frontline works in the QMC hospital where he works as a phlebotomist. He works day In day out, staring Covid in the face… He gives up his days off as he says the patients need his help more than he needs his rest. He is always there for his team, that are so short staffed. He has grown up into a beautiful human and I’m sooo proud of him. He is our HERO”

Barry Shaw

nominated by his wife Malgorzata Shaw

“My husband and father of two young children is a hospital porter, who goes to work every day knowing that he will helping patients in the hospital, were it is impossible to be socially distancing, and he goes with the same cheerful manner he always has even though it is a very strange time to be working in a hospital”

Porter winner

See more of our nominees here!

There are so many more stories that we haven’t mentioned, but you can read more
about these amazing people by clicking the link below.

ABOUT THE BAG

Our Expedition Bags

‘We’ve nominated our Expedition Healthy Back Bag for our frontline heroes. It’s made of strong, water resistant cotton twill, with nubuck leather trim, burnished brass hardware, and has a fleece-lined strap for extra comfort. It features a full size internal zipped and padded security pocket for valuables, documents or gadgets which combined with its retro-rugged styling makes it great for everyday use and perfect for taking care of your back when you’re on the move.’

Size: Large. 52 x 29 x 18 cm
Capacity: 13L
RRP: £115

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Declutter that Wardrobe

DECLUTTER THAT WARDROBE!

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

Written by Fiona Ingham

Maybe you believe that Marie Kondo is right but somehow just haven’t been able to get rid of those clothes which don’t spark joy.

Well, now’s a great time for that wardrobe declutter so I do hope these tips might be helpful!

Importantly, feel free to keep items of sentimental value but store them away from the working wardrobe. For me it’s my Thierry Mugler jackets, bought preloved in the 80s.

Mirror

The Basics

Make sure that you have a full-length mirror.

Scrutinise the clothes in a good light and get rid of anything bobbly, faded or permanently stained. Pull out anything that you can mend now or can take to a good dry-cleaners when the crisis is over.

I recommend reviewing your clothes in categories, to avoid being swamped and giving up on the job!

First steps

So, let’s start with jackets. From being out in the cold they’re back with a vengeance, so try each one on to check before getting rid. Sleeve lengths are important. If they half cover the hands of a petite or give a skimpy look to long arms they ruin the outfit. Are the shoulders a blast from the past? Perhaps you don’t wear it because the jacket length is too long or too short for your height, or too fitted or too unstructured for your body shape? Maybe update by teaming that formal jacket with jeans, or over a dress.

Your best lengths of skirts and dresses will depend on body proportions and personality. Whatever anyone says, age also plays a part! Shorter works best for me, but I’ve moved from way above the knee in my heyday, to on the knee now in my prime. The look can be updated by teaming with trainers or boots.

Danger Zones

Trousers seem to be the first garment to show every added kilo. So be ruthless, get rid of any that have no hope of fitting again (sadly my Topshop leopard skin, skin tight jeggings, a mad impulse buy, just had to go). All shapes are currently fine. Curvy bodies usually excel in straight, bootleg and softer fabrics. Petites look good in straight, skinny, bootleg and are swamped if too wide. The tall with straight body lines are lucky, as almost anything goes.

Possibly that top isn’t worn because the neckline is unflattering. In a nutshell – softer body shapes, shorter necks, soft faces excel in drape, scoop, wide soft v. Angular bodies, faces and longer necks look their best in a sharp v, square, slash, or high polo. Or possibly the pattern is the wrong scale or shape for you.

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Get Brutal…

Be ruthless with those accessories, only keep the scarves, belts and costume jewellery, that you use. Ensure that you have a bag for every event and work out which are the ones that you actually use. Shoes can date us so check they aren’t out of time.

Try items on together and see whether they work, or is your buying rather hit and miss? Maybe send a photo to a young person or a stylish friend if you are undecided. It’s good to make a note of any bad patterns of buying that you’ve discovered.

Have separate piles for when the crisis is over: give to a friend, to charity or sell. Make someone’s day!
Now is a wonderful time to think about building an effective wardrobe and discovering your Personal Style as this can now be done on Zoom. It works well and is great fun. Colour Analysis sessions will have to wait until everything is back to normal! Good luck and have fun!

Fiona Ingham

FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award.also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

WHILE YOU’RE HERE…

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Shop Japan

SHOP JAPAN

ヘルシーバックバッグ専門店  

By Global Business Development Manager, Nancy Evans

Our Global Business Development Manager, Nancy Evans, provides an insight to The Healthy Back Bag in Japan

It all started as if a dream.  After all, who wouldn’t want to see their brand showcased on the world stage?

And it was never a matter of IF we would open a Healthy Back Bag monobrand shop, it was merely a matter of Where and When;  just the ‘small’ details.  As such, we consider it an honour that the launch of the 1st HBB monobrand shop(s) occurred in Japan, a country the world looks to for trend, style and unique finds.

By definition ‘mono’ is a combining form meaning ‘alone’, ‘single’, ‘one’.  So a mono retail store has just one brand.  Typically, this would be a stand alone operation but in Japan, the rules are different and instead, the shop exists within a department store.

Each location and site selection were carefully evaluated and tested as temporary pop-up shops.  After favourable results and negotiation for shop space, the build-outs quickly morphed into our current line-up of monobrand shops;

Tokyu Plaza Ginza

9 August 2018. A bustling tourist epi-center, Ginza is the most famous upmarket shopping area, dining and entertainment district within the Tokyo prefecture.

Tokyu Kichijouji

23 August 2018.  Home to affluent younger families in their 30’s & 40’s, Kichijouji is a popular commercial shopping and leisure area.

Marui Kitasenju

20 June 2019.  Adjacent to the 3rd busiest station in the Tokyo metro network, Kitasenju sits outside of the city center and offers up a suburban, traditional and slower paced environment.

So, what are the hallmarks of a monobrand shop?

  • First & foremost, it’s a destination.
  • It displays a perfectly curated representation of the range.
  • It’s the first place to launch new seasonal items, limited editions and offer exclusive promotions.
  • Its Visual Merchandising is best in class.
  • It offers up a platform for testing new and creative ideas.
  • It provides the best service from designated and knowledgeable HBB staff.

In a culture where authenticity, storytelling and thoughtful design reign supreme, it’s no wonder Japan truly has the street cred when it comes to validating a brand particularly in the lifestyle space.

To everyone in Japan we wish to extend our sincere appreciation and say Arigatou Gozaimasu for welcoming the Healthy Back Bag brand into your elite retail community.

Who says dreams can’t become reality?

WHILE YOU’RE HERE…

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Working in a Familiar Environment

Working in a Familiar Environment

What a difference a month makes…

Just a few weeks ago we were in the office complaining about the grey skies and constant rain, now we are all working from home, grappling with new ways of communicating remotely with our colleagues and considering ourselves lucky to have a bit of outdoor exercise and a trip to the supermarket.

These sudden changes to our lives can of course create higher levels of anxiety and stress than we are used to. We are concerned about the health of our family and friends, worried for ourselves and the bombardment of real and fake news stories from around the world creates an existential threat which very few of us have experienced before.

Here at the Healthy Back Bag Company, health matters are at the core of our business and we take our own and others mental health very seriously, particularly those already living with conditions like anxiety and OCD. For some of us, life goes on as normal, the lack of a pint at the local pub being the main concern however for many, the changes to our lives can make existing mental health problems worse.

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So how can we protect our mental health?

The World Health Organisation recently released advice on protecting your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. They suggest:

  • Avoid watching or reading or listening to news that could cause you feel anxious or distressed
  • Seek information mainly to take practical steps to protect your plans and protect yourself and loved ones
  • Seek information updates at specific times

So far so good. But what are the practical ways in which we can all manage this whilst working from home without the office routine and colleagues to talk to?

So what can be done?

We conducted a very casual (and very virtual) poll around our office. These are some of the ways we’re keeping ourselves healthy in mind and body:

Coping with ‘Stay at Home’ life outside of work:

  • Gin featured fairly highly on our lists! Not that we are all raging alcoholics but 5pm G&T’s on the balcony with housemates does wonders for marking the end to a working day.
  • Manage your news. Switch off all those newsfeeds and only access information when you need it. Alternatively, subscribe to goodnewsnetwork.org which gives you a break from covid chat or at least a positive spin on it.
  • Hold Zoom parties on a Saturday night! (downloadable from zoom.us). Arrange to share a glass of wine and catch up with friends. Does wonders for morale.
  • Get out in the garden – being out in it, tidying it up and enjoying this best time of the year as everything bursts into bud is really grounding
  • Cook some of those recipes you’ve been meaning to try out for ages
  • Use your evenings to catch up with family over FaceTime or Skype or pick up the landline and give them an old fashioned telephone call!
  • Learn a new skill, learn how to draw or play guitar
  • Sort out all those photographs at last

Working from home:

  • Keep a routine – get up at a normal time
  • Start the day with some yoga – sun salutations before work are a great mood booster
  • Exercise regularly – make the most of your outdoor daily exercise and download home workout apps for regular workouts in the living room (see links below)
  • Use the extra time to have a long shower, enjoy a morning coffee outside in the sunshine or take a proper lunchbreak
  • If you share a house, consider swapping round workstations every hour so you don’t end up sitting on the sofa all day
  • Stick to a healthy eating plan. Stock up on fresh food and embark on that health kick you always promised yourself. No snacking!
  • Open a window, enjoy the cleaner air

And last but not least,

Think about all those new tech skills you’ll have learnt by the end of it all and try and remember this is only temporary!

 

Useful websites

World Health Organisation https://www.who.int/

Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/

Mental Health UK https://mentalhealth-uk.org/

BBC tips for working at home https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51868894

Women’s Health 28 top workout apps to use while social distancing https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/fitness/workouts/a707729/home-workouts/

 

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Fiona Ingham – All About Red

IT’S ALL ABOUT RED

Written by Fiona Ingham

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

Red will take centre stage for Winter 2020, according to the recent Paris fashion shows, but in reality, red is always in fashion. Diane Vreeland, legendary editor of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, expressed her enthusiasm for this colour stating ‘I have spent my life searching for the perfect red.’ Sometimes I wonder if I’m red’s second greatest fan, but I guess Coco Chanel, Christian Louboutin and Armani are way ahead of me!

Blue is the colour most loved globally but red tops the league for visibility, excitement and extreme reaction. Teams wearing red win more. Red Sale signs make us buy. Red energises.

As a Colour Analyst I find that many clients fear wearing red, but when encouraged to try it, they love it, as these emails following colour analysis show:
‘I’ve bought a red coat. I get loads of compliments. You’ve given me a new lease of life! PS I’ve got on my poppy red lipstick too, in my pyjamas!’

‘I’m wearing my geranium red top this morning and already have had three compliments!’

Times have changed

In the past a long-lasting red dye was difficult to acquire so the colour was worn by only the rich and those considered of high status; royalty, nobility, the church. The introduction of synthetic dyes in the 19 Century made red available to all, but associations of authority, and confidence still cling to it.

I try hard not to sigh when people tell me ‘Red only looks good on people with dark hair’ or ‘Red only looks good on blondes’ ‘Red heads can’t wear red’. All so wrong! Everyone can wear red. We just need to find the correct hues for our skin tones.

Seeing Red

Primary red can be worn whatever your colouring. Yes really! The reason is quite logical. It sits right at the centre of the colour wheel and works for each colour season. You will see it called middle red, poppy or scarlet. The very different colourings of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex both looked stunning wearing it recently.

If you have warm based skin tones (Autumns and Springs) tomato, geranium and orange reds are for you. Or go richer to terracotta or rust, brighter to orange and tangerine or deeper to chestnut.
If that range doesn’t appeal, consider the blue based equivalents which work for cool based skin tones (Winters and Summers) Think delicious cherry, carmine, berry, raspberry or go deeper into burgundy, plum, fig.

If you’re tempted by red but eschew a head to toe Lady in Red look, then go for accents : knee or ankle boots, loafers, a cashmere scarf, gloves, belt or bag, A red necklace enlivens any neutral coloured dress and a red top works under every neutral jacket.

Don’t rush in

Maybe just dip your toe in the water with a fashionable red lip which adds glamour to that LBD or for me, as an Autumn my LND (little navy dress).

Whether you want to look cool or hot, choose red. Banish the Blues and brighten everyone’s day with a splash of red. Cheers!

Fiona Ingham

FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award.also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

Get your red on with our range of Red Healthy Back Bags here