5-minutes-with-Dessi-Bell-Studio-Magazine-Featured-Image

5 Minutes With… Saint And Sofia Co-Founder Dessi Bell

Co-CEO and Co-Founder Dessi gives an insight into what it’s like to run a successful business

By Chloe Lawrance

Ever wondered how a sustainable fashion brand is run? To shine a light on the hard work that goes into Saint and Sofia, each month we’re catching up with a different member of the extremely talented team. We’ll be chatting careers, clothes and everything in between. This month, we’re sitting down with Saint and Sofia’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Dessi Bell.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START SAINT AND SOFIA?

“[My husband] Malcolm and I founded Saint and Sofia because we wanted to create a modern brand that offered the joy of fashion, fairly and sustainably. We believed – and still do – that the future of fashion was a multi-dimensional experience that goes beyond product alone. We wanted Saint and Sofia to represent that, and to connect with customers’ values.”

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR ROLE...

“As Co-CEO, I spend my time optimising our operations as well as our product offering. This means I spend large parts of my day looking at ways to deliver a better customer experience driven by data. My other “hat” involves looking at products that we think will bring our customer joy. Of course, I also have the privilege of working with an outstanding team, who share my passion and drive for the brand.”

WHAT’S The best part of being ceo?

“Learning from my team every day.”

What has your career path looked like up UNTIL THIS POINT?

“I graduated from the London School of Economics and then spent a few years in investment banking. By the time I was 27 I knew I wanted to enter the world of entrepreneurship, so Malcolm and I launched our first venture together, which was an activewear brand. Our first business taught us a lot about serving customers and scaling operations. With Saint and Sofia we saw a bigger opportunity to create a modern fashion brand that delivers joy and value to all stakeholders, and we jumped at the opportunity.”

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?

“A fashion designer! I ended up going into finance, but it’s a dream being able to combine the two today.”

WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

“Do not negotiate against yourself.”

HOW WOULD YOU SPEND THE PERFECT SATURDAY?

“I would wake up before the rest of my family, go for a morning run and then enjoy a long coffee while reading the papers. Then, once everyone else has got out of bed, we’d enjoy a long walk round a part of London we’ve not discovered before. The afternoon would be spent at home: seeing friends (when we can!), enjoying a movie together or playing games by the fire. One of the great things about the last few months of lockdown is that I’ve been able to reconnect with old friends around the world. We enjoy regular weekend video calls with a glass of wine; that’s always a treat.”

TELL US SOMETHING UNEXPECTED ABOUT YOURSELF?

“I love laser guns. We’ve been taking our children to the woods on the weekends and playing pretend ‘battles’. To our surprise, my husband and I enjoy it as much as they do!”

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SAINT AND SOFIA ITEM RIGHT NOW?

“There are so many! I wear the Odette Overcoat in black almost everyday; it’s a perfect coat both for the city and a long country walk. I also wear the Glen Cable Knits a lot – they’re super warm, sustainably made and just so comfortable, especially in the current cold weather!”