Behind the Brand: Nariva Boutique

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Part one of our series of talking with entrepreneurial women who have launched a successful business.

What tips do they have for those of us wanting to go down the self-employed route?

What do they know now that they wish they’d known then?

Marie-Claire Frederick is the founder of Nariva Boutique, a luxury leather ethical accessories brand.

Marie-Claire is a supporter of creative industries and innovative start-ups and has advised several businesses at inception and beyond.

What advice does she have for those wanting to relaunch an existing business or take the first step on the path to becoming self-made?

Why I relaunched my business

In 2013 I had a baby boy and, wanting to spend as much time as possible just spending time with him, I set about relaunching my creative business – Nariva Boutique.   I wanted more time with my little bubba, I didn’t want to spend the whole day working away from home only to return and feel too tired to be fully engaged with my little one.

An idea is born while cruising with my Baby Bjorn

I set up and designed a range of leather backpacks while on maternity leave.  I wanted to have a backpack that was for me but also one that I could cruise along with while I was out and about with my little one. It was important for me to have my hands free but I needed a backpack that was not the run-of-the-mill, something that would stand out, that looked and felt understated and was suited to my love of contrast and texture.

I also wanted to empower other women, busy go-getters like me. I recognised that desire in me, and in lots of other women, to slow down, enjoy the world and explore, learn and discover more things for themselves. This need grew after the birth of my little one. It’s something that parents, in particular, are terrible at but so desperately need to do.

We design luxury leather backpacks for the discerning woman who wants something individual, an affordable investment piece which allows them to be and do what they want to.  Show off, (or not) slow down, live life and enjoy your time.

At Nariva Boutique, we live by the motto: ‘Live life to the fullest, by chilling the heck out!’ and I very much try to live by this rule.   You can usually find me on my vintage 70s Dutch bike cycling around the mean back streets of Islington with my toddler boy sat in the child seat singing: ‘The planets orbit the Sun.’

We handmake each backpack in our UK studio using locally and ethically sourced leather. We create each piece to order and in limited edition quantities and colours to ensure we never have stock lying around.  We’re excited about shipping our first global orders to the US and Sweden.

Tips for success

The most important thing I advise people is to really love the field or area of business you want to move in to. If you truly love what you are doing, this passion will drive you, especially when things go wrong, as they most definitely will do. 

Try to remember that your chosen field is something that you will have to work on day in and out sometimes completely on your own. If you have a passion for what you’re doing, your days of self-doubt and fear will feel more bearable.

The numbers

I am a creative at heart but I recognised the need to develop a love of numbers. I have an Economics degree and everything I do is based on ROI (return on investment) or some sort of financial planning, even if it's scratched on the back of a dry cleaner’s receipt.

It sounds simple but when you understand the numbers in your business, it’s easier to make progressive decisions.

Mason Backpack, £399.

Mason Backpack, £399.

Expand your network

The final piece of advice is to network with like-minded business people. These don’t have to be people in the same field as you and I think it helps if they’re not. 

Think of this group of people as your network, your board team who will support you when you need another set of eyes or ears.

I have two support/network mastermind groups, one is global (we’re 4-5 women – all mums from a range of different sectors and at different business stages) – we have a mastermind business Skype call every week and take turns in supporting the wins in each business.

We also spend 10 mins each meeting looking at one of our real business problems and offer practical solutions.  It's quite similar to what happens at board level – diving into specifics that can drive one's business forward or stop the business from faltering.

For more information Marie-Claire and about her luxury backpack range, visit or get in touch via email.

Prices for a Nariva backpack start at £259.