Beulah London is a unique company that combines high-end fashion with ethically sourced products, maintaining its elegance and beauty whilst promoting social justice. The company was started by Natasha Rufus Isaacs and Lavinia Brennan, two young women with an inherent ability to help others without sacrificing the quality of their product.
Before the establishment of Beulah London the pair spent a large amount of time in India where they worked alongside numerous charities and organisations to promote justice, but the women found their passion after spending two months in the southern slums of Delhi helping women who had been rescued from the sex trade. Natasha and Lavinia worked in an aftercare home called ‘Atulya’ which provided a refuge for these women whilst also teaching them relevant skills which would allow them to be financially independent and prevent the women from falling back into the underworld from which they had been saved.
Their harrowing yet inspiring experiences in India created the momentum needed for the women to create their own company which could continue to deal with the issues presented to them both abroad and at home in the UK; thus Beulah London was born, the aim of which is to provide a new life to victims of the slave trade whilst creating a luxury brand of clothing which is both easy to wear and naturally elegant.
The production of the clothes takes place in a small cottage industry in Kolkata which creates employment in the area and also teaches important and sustainable skills. Although currently the women are not sufficiently skilled to create the garments themselves, they are making accessories such as scarves and bags in order to gain the necessary experience so that one day they will be involved in the whole production process along with members of local communities.
Their first collection ‘Amazing Grace’ which launched in the summer of 2011 represents the transformation and the potential for women to change their situations; Lavinia explains: ‘Our goal is to produce beautiful clothes that empower the women who wear them and the women who make them’.
Although neither Natasha nor Lavinia have any background of fashion, their brand has grown dramatically, with the likes of Kate Middleton being seen wearing their garments. Both women studied history of art, Natasha at Oxford Brookes and Lavinia at Durham, and then went on to gain experience in PR and at an art auction house whilst also being involved with social projects at Holy Trinity Brompton. The company received funding from bank loans and family and friends, plus the supervision of a mentor at TiE UK (The Indus Entrepreneurs) which helped the company to grow in the right direction. The pair admit that it has at times been a struggle and that they were heavily dependent on their parents throughout the establishment of the company, but that their motivation comes from the people at the heart of what they’re doing, the people that need their help.