Founder of Astrid & Miyu launches business accelerator programme for retail start ups


The owner of British jewellery brand Astrid & Miyu (A&M) has launched a mentoring programme for small independent businesses wanting to establish their name in UK retail.

Alcohol brand Collagin, accessory and lifestyle brand Sun & Day and workbag business AMZA have been chosen for the three-month Business Accelerator Programme. A&M founder and CEO Connie Nam, ex-investment banker and entrepreneur, will help the three young business owners navigate the current COVID-19 crisis and beyond by focusing on her three core pillars for success.

The first month will focus on developing the vision of the businesses and long-term goals; the second month will be centred on brand positioning, go-to market strategies and financial planning; while the final third will look at refining financial reporting. Each founder will have a virtual one-to-one session with her each month with a bespoke programme established to help each business reach its maximum potential.

Nam launched A&M alone from her kitchen table eight years ago and now runs a business with six retails stores, a turnover of £10m and 80 staff. The first store launched in 2015 with in-store piercing introduced in 2018 and tattooing last year, leading to 350% growth in physical retail. She intends to expand nationally and internationally with target locations including Brighton, Manchester, Edinburgh and New York, where the business already has a loyal customer base following a series of store pop-ups last year. Meanwhile, online sales have increased 100% so far in 2020 following a focus on experiential shopping and online stylists.

Explaining the idea behind the programme, she said: “Launching Astrid and Miyu was a lonely journey – literally because I was working on my own and figuratively because nobody could really understand what I was going through.

“We are lucky that the business we are in a strong position and will survive the current crisis, but it struck me how much kindness and resilience we have seen for our customers, suppliers and network and as a result of the pandemic. I wanted to give back and that led me to launch the Astrid & Miyu Business Accelerator Programme so I can share my experience and help young business founders navigate this uncertain period.”

The three successful businesses were chosen for their personal drivers, go-to market strategy, soundness of financial planning and realistic longevity.

Collagin’s co-founder Liz Beswick, whose gin brand is modelled on fashion and lifestyle brands, said of the mentorship: “I jumped at the chance to be involved in this initiative. By generously offering up her time, contacts and skills, Connie is not only opening doors for us but also changing our mindset, approach and goals.”

Ariadna Pui, co-founder of AMZA agreed: “During this uncertain time, Connie’s inspiring story, experience and generosity is proving to be invaluable for us.”

Also on the programme, founder of Sun & Day Kim Reddish added: “Connie’s advice has been very insightful and challenged the way I think about my current business model, preparing for how to adapt to the crisis and strengthen our small business for the future.”

To apply for future places on the programme visit: