18th October 2017 / Abbie Tanner
Your Style Vaults meets… Natalie Powell
Are you always on the hunt for that perfect pressie? A gift that combines style, thought and a little edge? Yep, we know, it’s a tough task! Enter Natalie Powell, Founder and Director of the luxury gifting service, Parcel – this brand new concept is sleek, time-saving and unique.
Natalie lovingly sources a selection of luxe, innovative brands in order to create bespoke gift ideas, which have already been a hit with top bloggers. These are top-notch gifts (our personal favourites are ‘Besties’ and ‘Pamper’) and ones we know people would love to receive – with Christmas around the corner, could this be any more perfect?
So, without further ado, let’s meet Natalie, see what makes her tick and how Parcel came to be such a god damn awesome idea!
YSV: So tell us, what is Parcel and how did it all begin?
Natalie: Parcel is an online service which offers pre-curated gift boxes full of lovely presents for women. I’ve always been obsessed with giving (and receiving) gifts but it’s hard to find the time when you’re busy with work and distracted with everyday life, to pull off an amazing present with all the little extras. I decided to set up a website that does it all for you! We choose gifts from loads of lovely brands, wrap them, write the card and deliver them to the doorstep. We get the gifts, you get the glory.
YSV: What was your background before going it alone?
Natalie: I’ve had quite a varied career but always based in Fashion. After graduating from London College of Fashion, I started out as a make-up artist and then eventually transitioned into shoot direction and production, most recently at Net-A-Porter. I’ve been very lucky to be exposed to incredible brands and products which has helped me to pick gifts for Parcel which I think people will love.
YSV: Who was a big part of helping you embark on your new career? Be it inspiration or support? Family, friends, an icon?
Natalie: My fiancé Mark was an incredible support to me, he was my 24-hour sounding board, as well as helping with all the real-life things that I didn’t have the time or brain space to do during the start-up phase (he’s now head chef at home!) but mainly his unwavering belief in me, you definitely need that in times of fear! I also have an amazing group of friends and ex-colleagues that helped me out with so many important things such a branding, copywriting and digital, they’re wizards! It can be a very lonely time when launching a start-up so it was lovely to have my friends around me to help – especially when they’re so talented in their fields.
YSV: What is your number one tip for anyone wanting to embark on setting up their own business?
Natalie: Keep a side hustle for as long as possible! There are so many different parts of setting up a business that are scary, the main one being that you often can’t avoid spending lots of money, so if you can keep a small income on the go while you’re finding your feet, it can really help to take the pressure off. I think the tip for this is to pick something that leaves a realistic amount of time for you to concentrate on growing your own business rather than distract from it.
YSV: What do you wish you knew before you started Parcel?
Natalie: That no decisions are set in stone. When you first go it alone, it’s an amazing feeling not to have a manager to answer to, but I was paralysed by indecision, thinking every single tiny choice had to be underlined in a notebook and never changed. Once you get further down the line you realise that every good business is constantly changing and evolving. I update something every day based on feedback and hindsight, so there really was no need to worry so much before the launch!
YSV: Tell us about the brands you have curated for each box? How do you choose who to work with and why?
Natalie: The quality of brands included in each Parcel is what I’m proudest of and the part which took the most work. I’m very conscious of the types of brands I work with and am a huge supporter of independent and innovative makers. Some of my favourites, which are all based in London are chocolate experts – Land, leather and stationery brand A L’aise, handcrafted candles from Join and Guy Morgan Apothecary who create the most gorgeously packaged natural skin care. When I set out to create Parcel my main aim was to create gifts that not only looked beautiful when you open them, but that are also great quality. The question I asked myself in the early buying stages was ‘would I buy this myself, for myself’ if the answer was no, then the product wasn’t included.
What was the best piece of advice you ever got? And, the worst?
Natalie: The best advice is from my parents who told me to ‘just go for it’ because it will be worse to regret never trying than to fail. The worst advice – that it would be a viable option to plan a wedding and start a business in the same year. It. is. chaos.
YSV: When you’re not working, where do you like to hang out in London?
Natalie: Before moving to Surrey, I lived in East London and this is where I feel most alive! I love that everyone has such a sense of personal style and open attitude. My favourite place is Broadway market on a Saturday afternoon, you can wander around for hours, looking in bookshops and eating the worlds BEST chicken burgers from the stall right at the end.
Finally, for some fun…
YSV: Handbag essential number 1?
Natalie: Paw Paw papaya moisturising balm. It’s actual magic!
YSV: That one song which brings all the memories?
Natalie: Kevin Lyttle – Turn Me On. It instantly takes me back to teenage holidays with my best friend Sophie.
YSV: On top of your bucket list you have…
Natalie: To visit the Galapagos islands, I’m obsessed with wildlife documentaries!
YSV: Last three things you bought on your credit card?
Natalie: Pink velvet Gucci loafers – Swoon / A flight to Dubai – Excruciatingly hot / Coffee and cake – because I never sleep or carry cash.
YSV: Give us your usual coffee shop order
Natalie: Almond milk cappuccino.
View the full Parcel gift collection here.