Today we interview Briar Prestidge: a PR maverick that, having in mind the role of women in society decided to power dress us in fashionable suits that exude quality, self-confidence, and intelligence. With her, Brooke Daji, the Brand Manager behind BRIAR PRESTIDGE -The Label.
BEHIND THE BRANDS
You are a successful businesswoman with your own personal branding and PR agency. How did the idea to have your own fashion brand come about?
Briar: Thank you. I have always been interested in fashion. When I was working in real estate in New York City I started to develop a love for corporate fashion. I believe it’s important to dress for success. The way we dress has an impact on our behavior, which in turn influences how we act. It also adds to our brand image and the way we are perceived in our surroundings.
I came up with the idea of starting BRIAR PRESTIDGE – The Label after not being able to find high-quality corporate suits on the market. Through my first business, a personal branding and PR agency Prestidge Group, I’m fortunate to travel and work with clients from all around the world – from London, Dubai, Riyadh, and to our offices in New York. We work with many high-profile business leaders and governments. A good power suit is often a must when I’m meeting clients or speaking at conferences.
For many years, I had a live talk show event in Dubai. After speaking to many businesswomen, I realized that I wasn’t the only one that struggled to find a bad-ass power suit. Our BRIAR PRESTIDGE power suits are sustainable and hand-crafted from fine European fabrics. Style-wise, our team wanted them to be classic and timeless, but with elements of sophisticated flair, such as bold colors and intricate button detailing. Here is an interesting fact – our signature buttons were designed by a 3D motions graphics designer who worked on Lord of the Rings movies!
A POWERFUL MESSAGE
What is the message you want to send to the ladies out there?
Briar: As cliché as it may sound, I truly believe that you can achieve anything you put your mind to – put yourself out there and chase after your goals. I’m currently writing a book at the moment (and have been for a few years now!) which is about everything I’ve learnt on this crazy journey of entrepreneurship. I grew up in a small town in the New Zealand countryside. I never envisioned being an entrepreneur, let alone running a business, and living and working around the world. It really wasn’t until I had hit rock bottom in my life that I was encouraged to take action and drastically change. So, I moved to NYC when I was 21 with a single suitcase, a couple of hundred dollars in my pocket, and hope. I got a job as a waitress and worked my way into real estate.
Moving to NYC really was a pivotal moment in my life. Even though I felt nervous about what the future may hold, it made me appreciate how good it felt to step out of my comfort zone and achieve something. It helped me understand that through hard work, by breaking big dreams into small, actionable steps, and by taking action and persevering, you really can do anything that you set your mind to.
When I started my first business, I left my corporate job, downgraded my apartment, made a plan, and gave it my all. My new motto became “go hard or go back to New Zealand”. I was so worried about running out of money… I remember being mindful not to put an excessive amount of toothpaste on my toothbrush so I didn’t have to buy another tube…
If you are an entrepreneur or businesswoman, listen to the market and your clients. Try to be one step ahead. I believe learning new skills and being the first to adopt innovative services has been key to our global success. If you are a new entrepreneur, surround yourself with an amazing team and support network. The journey, although exciting and rewarding, it can get tough and lonely along the way.
I encourage you to stop making excuses for why you can’t do something. Instead work on coming up with ways and solutions that will make it possible, even if it’s a small step forward.
LAUNCHING IN THE TIMES OF CORONA
You launched and soon after the pandemic hit. All our suits got stored and there was barely any office attire on sight. How did you manage through this period?
Briar: The Covid-19 pandemic was an unprecedented situation where no one really knew what was going on or what would happen. Like everybody else, we were concerned about many things, including health and business.
As the world went into lockdown and supply chains collapsed, I put my plans for BRIAR PRESTIDGE – The Label on pause momentarily. We devoted our time and attention to making sure our team and clients were safe, carrying out further market research, and perfecting our power suit designs and fits.
Fortunately, it ended up being a busy time for our personal branding agency, Prestidge Group. To the point that I’m proud to announce that we scaled during this time, and expanded offices into New York City. When I started the personal branding agency five years ago, it was almost before its time. I had to explain the power of an integrated CEO branding and PR strategy to prospect clients; how it acts as an inbound opportunity for media inquiries, and speaking engagements, while building brand awareness.
During the lockdown last year, I believe many marketing teams and CEOs had a realization. With many people home-bound on their phones and laptops, companies saw this as a unique opportunity to communicate authentically and empathetically with their audiences, sharing motivational messages through their CEO during this difficult time.
Prestidge Group was already well-established in this niche of CEO personal branding. As a result, we were lucky to sign on more clients during this period.
As soon as the global supply chains were back up and running, we started to manufacture our power suit collection. We launched in November 2020, just as businesses were beginning to pick up momentum again. Since then, we have dressed women around the globe – whether it’s everyday office wear or for the boardroom, to international conferences or TED Talks. We are currently in talks with a few celebrities for their red carpet looks.
Our suits are cut from fine wool-silk European fabrics and are expertly handcrafted. We have classic styles, such as our popular black tuxedo with peaked satin lapels, to intricate button detailing, cuffed trousers and bold colours that truly make a statement.
Do you think we will go back to the dressy office style or we already got used to the relaxed looks also in the working environment?
Briar: Of course – I’m already back power dressing, in fact I never stopped! We have seen an amazing demand for our more dressier style suits.
Tell us about the new collection you have been preparing. What can we expect?
Briar: Our upcoming power suit collection involves exquisite textiles, wide-leg cuts, fitted jackets with unique sleeves, flared hems, oversized blazers, patched pockets, and detailed buttons. Our shades range from muted hues to a pop of color. Our collection will also be available as separate pieces to mix and match. Stay tuned for our global launch in mid-July as the styles are limited.
What are your favourite materials?
Brooke: Top-quality materials make a difference when crafting a suit. It defines the construction process – everything from the drape to the cut. We have learned a lot about fabric compositions, including intricate details about textiles, weaves, and how they affect the final look. We pay close attention to the details, and our suit finishing, so it’s of the same quality you would expect from your favorite luxury fashion designer.
Briar: I am a fan of fine European fabrics and fine wool-silk blends. You will notice that this is one of the highlights of our suits collection.
Everybody is talking about sustainability these days. Do you have plans to introduce more eco-friendly parameters within your brand?
Briar: Consumers today are actively driving the conversation of sustainability, and this forms the core of what we do at BRIAR PRESTIDGE – The Label. I am proud to say that we are a sustainable brand and with slow fashion.
Brooke: We are mindful of our carbon footprint. our suits are made in limited quantities and made to last. We are driven to support local businesses, which in turn contributes towards a healthy business community.
A STRONG CEO PERSONAL BRAND
Do you find that having a strong presence as the best personal branding agency in Dubai is helping push your brand further? How did your agency do during Covid?
Briar: I feel that it has been a combination of factors that helped push my brand further. Since Prestidge Group is now a premier personal branding agency, and I’m very active in the business and media worlds, it has definitely helped when starting a new project like BRIAR PRESTIDGE – The Label.
As mentioned earlier Covid-19 turned out to be a time of growth for Prestidge Group. Everybody started to see the value in developing a personal brand for CEOs and thought leaders. We have recently signed on Saudi Arabia’s first female rally driver! It’s a very exciting time for us.
Our niche has worked in our favor and helped establish a number of CEOs and thought leaders across technology, aviation, health, energy, and finance, while raising the profiles of entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals in trending topics such as cryptocurrency, NFTS, and the future of work.
FINDING YOUR PERFECT SUIT
Where can we find your suits?
Briar: You can buy our power suits on our website & follow our Instagram page for the official launch of our second collection. And if you want to connect with me follow me on Instagram (@briar_prestidge) or on LinkedIn.
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