Sam Jones

This woman wants to rummage through your wardrobe

Photographs by Pippa Kapp

On a mission to help women sort out their personal style, meet Sam Jones, founder of fashion start-up The Style Alchemy. Whether you're up for a spot of wardrobe re-organisation, want to build an entirely new wardrobe, or are midst an existential crisis words cannot begin to describe, Sam's newly launched personal shopping and styling service will hand-hold you every painful step of the way. "Sometimes it’s just too overwhelming to tackle alone", she says. She is not wrong.

Hands up if you freaked out about going back to work after having a baby? One of The Style Alchemy's specialities, is helping post-pregnancy women figure out their style (not as hard as it sounds, according to Sam). She works with brides, can sort holiday wardrobes, can help you figure out what to wear to work when you need a boost. Too busy to shop? Zero interest in trawling hundreds of products only to feel disappointed at the end of it? Love fashion but struggle with knowing what works? Don’t worry, Sam’s here. And she knows exactly what to do.

I moved to Queens Park in ’98 before the area became gentrified…

I’ve always loved it. It was always my dream to live in a Victorian House by park, and thankfully I persuaded my husband Gary to move here from Little Venice. We bought our dream house together. There is such a friendly local community around here and we have so many good friends nearby. It makes London a very easy and enjoyable place to live.

I stumbled across the name Fox…

Whilst reading a back issue of Vogue, Alice Temperley has a son called Fox and I knew if I ever had a boy, that’s what I’d call him.

Bee was supposed to be called Clementine…

After a sweet French girl I met on a holiday in Provence, but I loved the idea of giving both the kids a punchy 3 letter name based around animals! We ended up going for Bee Clementine. I’m so happy with their names, they really seem to suit them.

Dressing a bump is always harder than you think…

Especially when you’re used to experimenting with your style, which I was back then. I found it very limiting once I got to around 5 months. My first pregnancy was during a very cold winter, so I lived in high waist leggings from American Apparel or maternity jeans from AG, roomy knits, over the knee flat boots I designed for Pied a Terre and a vintage fur coat lent to me from my husband’s grandmother. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get my figure back and get out of leggings.

My pregnancy with Bee was the complete opposite, with my 3rd trimester being in the middle of the 2013 heat wave! I was consulting at Fenwick Bond Street at the time, meeting brands, such as Chloe and Pierre Hardy in Paris. From memory I wore elastic waist cropped silk pants with heels and oversized shirts and blouses and accessorised the shit out of it!

My pregnancy style tips would be…

To make sure you have a great selection of jackets, blazers and footwear as they can transform an outfit and see you through all trimesters. I would also hunt for easy loose fitting, oversized clothes from Zara, H&M and TopShop rather than maternity specific brands.  Wear lipstick and statement earrings and you’ll be good to go!

I was inspired to set up The Style Alchemy…

Because it felt like now or never. It suddenly dawned on me one day I’d spent twenty years working in the fashion industry as a buyer. I realised I couldn’t imagine doing that for another twenty. The idea of working for myself and doing what I love excited me greatly. I spent years shopping in some of the best places in the world, so it was a natural next step for me. I loved taking my expertise directly to the end consumer, I’m such a people person and was craving direct customer contact and instant feedback. So with a little encouragement from a friend, I registered The Style Alchemy, had my website built and started running with it. I can now confidently say, you just know when it’s the right time. 

As for as work life 'balance' goes...

Now I’m getting busier with clients and shopping events, I'm getting some help at home, as it's impossible to ‘do it all’. The most important thing for the children, I think, is to have a happy, calm home environment hence why I’m not ashamed to admit I’m happier when I have help, especially given my husband works abroad every week. I’ve literally been spinning the plates on my own.

It’s scary how…

Quickly the clock ticks. 

If I could go back in time…

I would tell new-mum me not to let my children watch the i-phone at 5.30 in the morning just so I can steal a few more minutes’ sleep. Both my kids are now addicted to anything with an ‘i’ and trying to limit their intake always results in lots of arguments!

Having a baby doesn’t mean you need a style reinvention...

I think it’s natural for a woman’s style to evolve over time, through age and circumstance. Of course, a change in weight and body shape may require a different approach to dressing, but inspiration is always the best place to start. If you were re-designing your house or wanted a new hair style, you'd look for ideas, you'd find examples of things you like and identify with. Same applies to your style. Having said that, there are SO many choices out there that it can be completely overwhelming. That’s where The Style Alchemy steps in. We filter out all the noise of shopping and strip it back to the core - you. We take into account how you feel, what’s going on in your life, your day-to-day, work-life, home-life, budget. Everything plays a factor. I believe the best way to start afresh is with an organised wardrobe. Only then can you figure out what’s working and what’s missing.  You can’t beat a good clear out. It’s one of our most popular services.

The best thing about being a mum…

I’m able to put things in to perspective. Oh, and the conversations I have with the kids are just priceless. 

One of the biggest adjustments in parenthood...

Has been the relationship with my husband. It’s not just about me and him anymore. It must be hard for guys! There they are cruising along in first position and then boom, they get bumped to the back of the queue faster than you can say ‘it’s a boy’! We have our ups and downs like everyone, but we talk and listen and always try to work things through for each other. We’ve just celebrated 10 years of being together which feels amazing and has got us planning what we’ll be doing together for the next 10.

Speaking of which...

I’ve teamed up with a fashion industry friend to host private shopping events, @harriesandjonespresent. Together, we launched one of our first one in partnership with Fenwick of Bond Street, which was a huge success and we’re now about to launch a series of VIP pre-order shopping events. I’m also doing some styling work at the BBC.  

Tell us a joke…

Trump got elected…

My Favourite Things

My Kids Favourite Things

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@nicoandnate