Mini Fashionista meets Candy Queen Store’s Mel Buchanan

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In December the junior fashion world was abuzz with the launch of brand new childrenswear line, Candy Queen Store. Devised by mumpreneur and designer Mel Buchanan, the British girlswear brand debuted in Selfridges London on its destination childrenswear floor for the AW12 season. Exciting the Under 10 style generation with her line of customisable funky tees and icons, Buchanan it would seem has uncovered a unique niche in the junior market that plays to a fashion-forward girl’s need for individuality. Transforming the awkward Nineties trend for customising jeans, tees and converse with a handful of sequinned, buttoned and ribboned paraphernalia gleaned from the local haberdashery, in addition to a well-placed fabric marker; wannabe designers can – thanks to Buchanan – now personalise their apparel with the finesse of any discerning fashionista.

Regaining some semblance of a night’s sleep after the birth of her daughter, Bo, Candy Queen Store’s Mel took a few moments to reveal a few childhood favourites (including candy), the joys of balancing baby and business and what she predicts for her label…

MF: What first led you into the world of fashion design?
CQ: It was an ambition I had from a young age…I guess I’m a slow starter

MF: How did the concept for Candy Queen Store first come about?
CQ: Living in Bangkok in 2006 I noticed the Crocs/accessories trend with kids and thought it would be cool to do the same but for tees.

MF: The branding has a definite Fifties vibe, what would you say are your key inspirations?
CQ: I loved the movie Grease as a kid; maybe that has something to do with it. I also love the Japanese Lolita trend and I spent a lot of my time growing up at the Spanish City (sea side fair ground in Whitely Bay). All these experiences/inspirations have been picked up along the way.

MF: How did you alight on the name Candy Queen Store?
CQ: I thought Candy Queen had a nice ring to it….the store came with the “pick and mix” element.

MF: Launching in Selfridges will really put your label on the sartorial map, where do you see your brand in 5 years time?
CQ: I hope Candy Queen has the same success as the Cath Kidston brand; i.e broader range of products with concept store/concession stands in the UK and overseas. I’m already developing more products and have a few tricks up my sleeve re visual merchandising!

MF: Has motherhood altered your personal ambitions? Made them stronger/changed their course?
CQ: Weirdly, recent motherhood has made me more ambitious (there are more hungry mouths to feed ha, ha).

MF: What would your advice be to fellow mothers juggling babies with their careers?
CQ: Crikey, I’m not sure I’m one to give out advice on that front. I never switch off and I’m shamefully disorganised! In fact, there’s the answer… have YOU time and plan ahead!

MF: Do you have plans to incorporate designs for babies into your line?
CQ: Possibly in print, if the demand was there, as the icons would be too small for Under Three’s.

MF: What is your view of fashion bloggers? Do you have a favourite?
CQ: I think some blogs have a massive influence on trends and can really help make brands. I guess it depends on how good their content is and high traffic flow. I love Stylemybabylondon, Kids Style Junkie and of course….minifashionistablog.com 😉

MF: Name your favourite childhood candy?
CQ: Oh! I loved the Gold Nuggets chewing gum that we had in the 80’s! More so because it came in a little draw string bag!

For more information on this funkier than funky label, visit www.candyqueenstore.com, the range is available to buy from London Selfridges and at the Manchester store in the city’s Trafford Centre.

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