Celebrating Small Businesses

Celebrating Small Businesses

The Journey of a Small Business In celebration of Small Business Month ESK Founder Serra Kirdar shares her own experiences of starting her business The world stage is consumed with mega companies that own the monopoly of how we live, what we wear, where we travel and how we communicate and interact with our communities. In the midst of these mega giants there are so many talented independent brands, boutique hotels, small businesses, that are trying to carve out a niche and make a difference. EvolutionSK is a start-up like many other platforms, trying to shine a light on the alterative, the unique and the road less travelled. We are here to showcase, support and build an ESK community that applauds talent and encourage those around us to realise the potential and value that small businesses can bring to the table. As a full time, single mother, I embarked on launching EvolutionSK in 2020 on the hope that I could add something unique to what is already out there. It has not been easy! Having an idea is one thing but trying to realise it and build something that will prevail is a whole other ball game. The challenges I face as a start-up are endless from learning how to manifest what I want into a functioning business, learning how to navigate contracts, getting acquainted with the world of digital marketing and building a robust team to help me in this journey has all been one massive steep learning curve. My father always said that an idea is a dime a dozen, but it is all in the detail and execution…and he was so right! We often only see 25% of anything. A great brand that has products we love is just one part but no one realises what effort goes into making that 25% shine. Owning your own business is a full-time commitment. There are no weekends and ideas and problems do not adhere to working hours. Often I find myself remembering something that needs to be done while I am in the shower with shampoo dripping down my eyes as I fumble out dripping wet to make a note. I have notes that clog up my diary on a daily basis – to -do lists that literally give birth by the second. I find myself just about to dose off to sleep at night when ‘boom’ an idea or a thought flashes before me and I quickly reach for my phone to add that to the endless other ones that hijack my calendar. Ideas flow constantly and they must. The radar is on, always scouting for talent, potential collaborations, and best ways to harness and improve what is already there. Knowing when to slow down, when to walk and when to pick up the pace are all part in parcel with starting a small business. Often ambition gets the better of us until I realise that I simply can’t do that until I have built a solid foundation. Resources are finite whether is it financial, human capital or simply timing. Having an idea is one thing but trying to realise it and build something that will prevail is a whole other ball game. - Serra Kirdar, ESK Founder Starting one’s own business, I am humbled as to what it takes and I have a new found respect and admiration for the small business I see around me that have the courage, tenacity and drive to strive to build their brand in the midst of the mega sharks that circle around with endless budgets, knowhow, and access. Building EvolutionSK as the go to curated marketplace for independent brands is my goal and passion which I hope I will be able to realise and in so doing shining a light on the incredibly talented small businesses I encounter. ESK is here to support other small businesses that are in the same boat. So many of the small businesses I have encountered are women driven. Women who are either young entrepreneurs in their twenties or women like myself at a later stage in life who have chosen to channel their talent and passion whilst also juggling family and life. I feel as a woman who supports the power of the woman, that there is no better lesson for my son than to see his mother struggle, work, learn and take the plunge. The values, respect and appreciation I wish for him to have about the role and power of women can best be taught by living my truth and hoping he will witness, take stock, and come to appreciate the juggling act women today face as home makers, wives, partners, sisters, mothers and professionals. Small businesses have an extremely significant and important role in the world we live in. They bring creativity, authenticity, the unique and my hope is that ESK will serve to showcase, harness and applaud a community of small business from around the world. XXX SK SHOP THE ESK GIFT GUIDE Sold out Sold out Sold out Sold out
Travel Bucket List

Travel Bucket List

I would like to think that there is still a sense of adventure and hope left in all of us as we embark on summer and travel. For many of us summer is a time of respite, a time to recharge, a quasi-end of year relief from school schedules and the mundane day to day obligations of life. A time to pull out our bathing suits, kaftans, fabulous beach bags and plan a little escape of fun and frivolity. For anyone looking for some travel inspos ESK invites you to check out our summer travel bucket list on the hopes we can make it somewhere this summer armed with our V2 cards (vaccination x2)! Without venturing too far here are some of our ideal places Formentera and Ibiza for idyllic waters, the Amalfi coast with a day trip to Capri for a delicious meal at Aurora with of course some shopping in the Piazza. A road trip to Ravello, the Caruso Hotel for drinks with a pit stop at the Hotel Il San Pietro, Positano and the Sirenuse. Portofino has always been one of my favourite places for a taste of old Hollywood glamour. A stroll around the small, picturesque multi coloured port followed by an amazing meal at Da Puny and maybe a sunset Aperitivo at the Splendido Hotel high above the town and steeped in beauty. I personally love the Greek Islands, namely Mykonos that is home to glorious blue water, countless boho chic beaches with late lunches and music to keep you in on the sand until sunset! Some of my favourite places are Solymar, Principote, Spilia for those in search of the Mykonian vibe and delicious food whilst Lia and Branco Hotel are more low key but equally amazing! Wherever you choose to frolick in the sun this summer, don’t forget to check out EvolutionSK’s personal favourites and always Minx it up! XXX ESK #joinourevolution #minxitup
PRIDE

PRIDE

Once again June this year is going to be a very different year for Pride, the rainbow movement dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ communities all around the world.  Pride is usually celebrated with parades and marches but with coronavirus and social distancing still in place, things will be a little different this year. A lot of events have been postponed or cancelled.  Even though the parades can’t happen this June, it is still a fantastic opportunity to learn, discuss and campaign around a range of issues, help to raise awareness and promote equality. Should you wish to learn more, please visit the charities and foundations below and see how you can help and support the cause: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/  https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/ https://www.fflag.org.uk/  https://switchboard.lgbt/ http://www.galop.org.uk/ ; https://www.tht.org.uk/ https://lgbt.foundation Pride London will take place on 11 September 2021. The event will feature a parade route which will march through central London, Piccadilly Circus, and around Trafalgar Square, with exact details of the route yet to be published.   ESK looks forward to Pride London in September, so check back in with us then to see further how we will be supporting and celebrating the rainbow movement.   XXX ESK #joinourevolution #minxitup
HEALTHY MIND

HEALTHY MIND

Mental health is one of today’s biggest challenges. We live in a time where more than ever there is a deep sense of recognition that with all the technological advancements, we have around us we as a people are facing an existential issue. Loneliness, isolation, disconnected, feeling overwhelmed to name a few. What makes us happy? Is happiness something innate? How do we face our challenges whilst maintaining a healthy outlook on life?  2020 affected 7.7 billion people in varying degrees. It took us all to dark places, even those who might not have struggled with depression in the past surely felt moments, if not months of darkness. I myself have always tried to use the tools in my own toolbox to break through those voices and dark clouds that often sabotage the inner self, self-esteem and positive vibes. Exercise, reading endless books on how to stay positive, finding the spiritual path to happiness, chanting the Buddhist Lotus Sutra and drawing strengthen from the universe have been some of the tools I have tried to use. But all that was deeply challenged over the course of the last 14 months.  We all need a sense of support and community and many unfortunately do not feel they have this. Even those who do have struggled to reach out for help in their darkest hours. I personally have had many moments when I might not have acknowledged being ‘depressed’ yet with little to look forward to, and not even a glimmer at the end of the tunnel, I wondered will I ever be fun again? What is there to look forward to? What happened to my sense of joie de vivre? Having gone from planning ahead and looking forward to even the smallest things to living a day at a time without any idea of how long the darkness will linger was a gruelling exercise. And yet in the midst of all of this I have learnt to draw strength from others who have shared their struggles. I have looked to the smallest things I once took for granted to realise the blessings that surround me. To be grateful and show appreciation and to realise just how much there is that is beautiful.  I recently read Tina Turner’s new book, Happiness Becomes You – a great read by the way, but one point resonated. She speaks about turning poison into medicine. I found that very powerful as I reflected back on so many challenges, ups and downs of life and realised that the only way to keep swimming and overcome those pitfalls of darkness is to realise that out of darkness comes light and beauty. The Lotus flower is symbolic of this as it is the one flower that thrives amidst the muddy waters. It is not easy to see the positive in things that seem awful, unfair and painful. And yet, they say God only gives you what he believes you can handle. Whatever faith you may follow or whatever spiritual inclination you have I do strongly feel that with the bad comes the good. Often it is a time to learn and take stock and it is the universe’s way of asking us to grow and challenge ourselves to be better. Be more compassionate, more understanding, more kind and to be the best versions of ourselves. By being your true best version, you can inspire others to change how they behave. We all wish people around us would do things differently but the only power we hold is to change it up from our end and hope that in doing so it will lead to improvements all around. I am a mother to a 13-year-old son. Not a day passes where I don’t feel eternally blessed for being his mother and for embracing the learning that has come from being on the job for the last 13 years. I am more aware that his mental health today is more important than what grade he gets in his exams. As an educator I have always believed that happy, healthy children perform better so making sure he is grounded and compassionate, respected, trusted, loved and heard is my hope that the rest will follow. Children are a blessing. They guide us to be better people and challenge us on a daily basis. I am the woman I am today in large part to my parents, my experiences but also because of my son. I realise that I cannot be his strength if I am drowning in my darkness. I have had to rummage in my toolbox to find ways to cope with loss, grief, sadness and disappointments. I have sought help when my own toolbox was empty or missing key components to achieve this. We all struggle with challenges that life throws at us. How we deal with these challenges is what is important and helping others in their times of need is vital. Building a support group of friends and loved ones has helped me and there is no shame in crying out and asking for help. I have often needed help and looked to various supports in my dark times. There is no shame to ask for help. In fact it takes great courage and I strongly believe as quoted by poet John Donne, ‘no man is an island’. Ask for help, don’t hold back because there is always hope and light. Personally, I feel that staying in positive mental health calls for a combination of daily things that together work their magic. Eating healthy foods, daily exercise, reading about the lives of others, chanting, finding moments to turn down the noise and volume of life, laughing and nurturing close friendships with loved ones have been my way to navigate the bumpy road of mental health.  XXX ESK #joinourevolution #minxitup
BE CONSCIOUS

BE CONSCIOUS

Be Conscious  One thing that has become very clear in the last 12 months is that we are all connected and that what we do affects those close and far. 2020 restored our views and perspective of so much. It called for us to refocus our lens and recalibrate our values. We were challenged by a series of on-going global disasters around us. From COVID -19, to wildfires and natural disasters along with game changing political and economic events.  Like everything, there is always a silver lining if you take the time to step back. Covid -19 brought the entire world to a standstill, and the effects are clear to us all. However, one positive outcome is that we experienced a considerable decrease in carbon emissions. Literally…the air was cleaner, and the sky was brighter for the first time in years. As we watched nature heal, there is no denying that sustainability has to be at the forefront of how we choose to live, now more than ever. EvolutionSK was born in 2020. Recognising the importance of our world and the impact we can and want to have in our community we realise that celebrating even the smallest effort of mindfulness, conscious living and community driven initiatives is crucial to us.  EvolutionSK is showing our commitment by ensuring that all of our ESK packaging is 100% sustainable. We even have the super exciting Pre-Loved scheme where customers can resell their pre-loved bags where we minx it up with the ESK look.  Moreover, ESK celebrates brands and talent who too are committed to these goals. EvolutionSK’s “Be Conscious” is our way of shining a light on brands that share these values. Be Conscious is the sustainability scheme that EvolutionSK abides by to ensure a more sustainable future. Partnering with brands who value the environment, humans, animal welfare, community-driven initiatives and cruelty-free practices in hopes of securing a more sustainable fashion industry. While not all of our brands are in full bloom of sustainability, they are taking tangible steps to join us on our Be Conscious journey.  We were hoping our ESK Minxes will too! Join us by incorporating two or three sustainable practices into your everyday life. In case you are stumped for ideas we have some for you…. Steps to Being Conscious: - Donate old clothing (homelessness is at an all-time high, donate clothing to your local homeless shelter) or upcycle your wardrobe and let someone else enjoy your preloved items. -Pick up rubbish on your daily walk. -Try and limit food shopping for two or three days, rather than the entire week as this will help reduce food waste as well as the amount of single-use plastic you purchase. -Recycle at home and at work. -Try going vegan or become a vegetarian for a few days of the week. - Offset your carbon footprint by donating to https://ecologi.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMImc3N4M7B7gIVMoBQBh3vNgoPEAAYASAAEgJa4vD_BwE and many others like it. Share the steps you are taking to Be Conscious #beconsciousESK / (#beconsciouschallenge) /(#esklook) and join our Evolution! And always Minx It Up! #minxitup! XXX ESK #joinourevolution #minxitup
EARTH DAY

EARTH DAY

EvolutionSK invites you to celebrate and embrace Earth Day by indulging in all that evokes nature and the beauty of our planet. It is a day where we remember how important our environment is and how we all can make a difference in preserving what we have and celebrating the blessing of our Earth. Let ESK guide you to stepping into Earth day with some of our hot picks that will make you one with our planet from our Be Conscious brands to colours and products that are symbolic of the elements of mother nature and the shades of our Earth. Join ESK in minxing it up for Earth Day! XXX ESK #joinourevolution #minxitup  
SHINING A LIGHT ON THE POWER OF A WOMAN

SHINING A LIGHT ON THE POWER OF A WOMAN

I am a deep believer in the magical power of a woman and believe we should continuously raise a toast and applaud and support women from all over the world for their sense of accomplishments across all spectrums.       Women are forever inspiring me. A heady mix of power, emotions, intuition, compassion, empathy, soft power, creativity, strength and imperfections. Every woman I know operates on multiple cylinders - we are mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, aunties, colleagues...all at the same time! Every woman’s journey has its struggles, heart aches and challenges. Often, we find ourselves torn between work and family and in many cultures familiar to me a woman is looked at as a collective rather than as an individual, struggling at different times in her life to assert her own identity, desires and pursue her dreams.  Having dedicated so many years of my life to female empowerment and the pivotal role of female education I am a staunch advocate and believer that every woman should have the right to exercise choice and be the captain of her own ship. Women in many cultures are often looked at as the supporting actors in the lives of those around them - yet as the world recognises the profound importance of women – we are finally seeing and recognising just how much power a woman has. In many cases it is because of this sheer inherent power that women are restrained and limited in terms of what they can and cannot do. But times are changing, and it is because of the collective support of women and female mentors and role models that women are now taking centre stage. To think that girls outperform boys in the world of education and that there are more females graduate from higher education than males on a global scale is inspiring and deeply significant.  Young girls are realising the power of education as a tool for empowerment and whereas in previous decades the reason for educating girls was driven by men and the need to be better homemakers, today it is women themselves who have earned their stripes and working hard to forge an empowered future for themselves. Even on an economic level woman are a recognised force. In 2020, Forbes wrote there are two parallel forces reshaping the consumer market: technology and women’s rising economic power!       To think that two of the biggest revolutions of the 20th century were women’s increased educational attainment and their participation in the paid labour force! Women are the original social network, and our influence has grown along with our spending power. Women not only have the buying power, we have the influence. As the majority of primary caregivers for children and the elderly, women spend significant time and money buying on behalf of others. They are the gateway to the people in their households as well as their social and business networks. Women are also great drivers of word-of-mouth publicity and social sharing online. If you want to know where the market is going, follow the women! EvolutionSK started with a vision to bring together talent and I am proud to say that the majority of our brands are female led designers and businesswomen who have at different moments in their journeys pivoted to harness their entrepreneurial and creative talents. From female Gen Z designers and young budding businesswomen to women who chose to add a new dimension to their lives and are making a name for themselves through their fabulous brands. It is an honour to be partnering with them for our ESK journey. Even more rewarding for me is to celebrate ESK’s creative female powered team. A team of young women who show initiative, inspiration, drive, ambition and tons of talent! I feel privileged to work with such young, dynamic and powerful women who bring so much to the table and am committed to empowering these women along their career and life trajectory.   After spending so many years interviewing powerful women and writing about the need for women to chart their own path there is no better reward than to be living this at EvolutionSK.   No woman is an island. I can attest to this as I myself come from a strong family of female empowered women: mother, sister, nieces …we are a whole lot of women!  My mother, Nada is a force. Beautiful, smart, independent, hugely stylish and very much my most inspiring icon. I thank you Mommy for all you have taught me. But let us not forget the men who have too been our biggest advocates.  The unwavering vision, leadership and support of inspirational men throughout history who have often been our staunches supporters. I know personally that my journey would not have brought me this far without the vision, drive and endless encouragement of my late father Nemir. Thank you for being the biggest supporter of female power I have ever met.  With that we at EvolutionSK wish women all over the world our gratitude and support, and join our evolution and Minx it up!   XXX SK #joinourevolution #minxitup  

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