#JDEEDLONDON | Meet Belma Gaudio, the creative behind KOIBIRD, Marylebone’s coolest boutique

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Is this the coolest store in London? KOIBIRD, located at the heart of chic-but-edgy Marylebone is a multi-brand retail destination that shelters all the most desirable brands under one roof- and online. With a funky curation that is all about maximalist fun, KOIBIRD is the go-to store for emerging (and more established) designer shopping, but not only. 

A homewear selection that makes us scream, accessories to make everyone envious and a decor that would bring sunshine to the gloomiest of days, KOIBIRD is an avant-gardist temple where fashion doesn’t take itself too seriously. Having brought a lot of new labels to the UK market, it also acts as some sort of an incubator that has taken -some now booming brands- under their wings in their very early stages.
Behind this gorgeous boutique and its creative direction is one woman, Belma Gaudio, whose story is as colorful as the pieces in store. JDEED wanted to know more about her story, inspirations and ambitions.

Hello Belma – can you tell us more about you and what you were doing before KOIBIRD?

I was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and at the age 8 became a refugee during a war in my country. From then I lived in several countries, the longest and most significant being Kuwait where i spent most of my formative and teen years. 
After that i moved to the US, finished school and university and got a job in New York. After graduating with a degree in Finance, I worked at one of the world’s largest hedge funds for 8 years trading stocks and high yield debt.
However, since I was a little girl, fashion had always been my love and what I had an affinity for. After working in finance for most of my career, I took a break to get married and have two children. When i felt like I had that under control, I decided to go do what I love, and I started KOIBIRD.

About KOIBIRD : How would you describe it to someone who’s never been?

KOIBIRD is a multi-brand boutique and brand, that is full of colour, designers and artists you haven’t heard of before, resembling a grown-up, luxurious candy shop consisting of fashion, accessories and homeware. It encourages creativity, uniqueness and most of all discovering your next favourite item. It’s a special place to visit to find your next love.

What is something that really excites you in the buying process?

The most exciting thing is finding something new, unique, and something others won’t know or have access to without us bringing it to them. We have introduced so many new brands to the UK market, and I am very proud of that. Those brands have gone to flourish but it’s a real accomplishment to have been that incubator.

On Instagram

Do you still get the same excitement about discovering new designers? What is something that you look for in these upcoming talents?

Absolutely, that is the thing that keeps us going: discovering great new product. We look for creativity, uniqueness, something we don’t see everywhere and on everyone, and we really look for quality. We try to find things that are fresh, exciting, young, new, but that also have that quality and sustainability behind it. It’s hard to marry all those things in one, hence its harder and harder to source new brands.

The store is absolutely fantastic, and having lived in Marylebone myself, I can definitely say it is the neighborhood’s little island of joy. Who would you say is your clientele and what is the main feedback you usually get about the store?

Thank you so much!! We have been very privileged to have such amazing clients that love the store and the experience they get with KOIBIRD. We do hear that people love the discovery of new brands, the upbeat vibe and clients have always loved us for gifting especially on homeware and around the holidays. My favourite thing to hear, and I get this a lot, is when someone buys something from Koibird, and tells me that everyone asked them where they got their outfit! That’s a personal favourite.

We have gone from having a very central London clientele, to international, and to having a lot of tourists and we aim to be that great store in London everyone must visit when they pass by. I also feel very grateful at the response we have received from our Middle Eastern clients who have loved the store from day one. I feel like the women from the Middle East really love fun, fabulous and unique things which is a perfect client for us. Resort wear has always been our strong point and US and Middle Eastern customers love summer wear!

“I feel like the women from the Middle East really love fun, fabulous and unique things which is a perfect client for us.”

Travels are an essential part of the KOIBIRD’s story. What is a trip that truly marked/ inspired you and where is somewhere you’d love to go?

I would love to say one exotic destination inspired me, but it’s actually an accumulation of travel that inspired me and continues to do so. And it doesn’t have to be exotic; I love a great beach holiday, that is always an inspiration. Sun, sea, beach, boat… I grew up with that and spent all my summers in Croatia, so for me that is the most nostalgic and happy holiday.
Salt, sun cream, ice cream is all need to get inspired; it’s when I feel my best, I want to look my best and wear beautiful things. I have spent a lot of time between Italy, Croatia and Florida and created those summer memories. I’ve also been luck to explore very far and exotic places, having lived everywhere from Kuwait, to Hong Kong, and Bratislava! So different cultures, people, and food very much inspire me.
Recently, I’ve been wanting to visit Madagascar and at some point, more of Latin America which I haven’t done much of. My summer trip coming up is touring Montana and Utah with some beach time later .

Would you ever think of opening something in the MENA or bringing a part of KOIBIRD to the region somehow?

Of course, I would love that! I feel so connected to the region. I basically grew up in Kuwait, so really feel close to the Arab culture, and need to polish up my Arabic. I would love to go back and have a homecoming!

What are 5 items you can’t leave your house without?

It’s going to sound like I’m making it up. But honestly the only thing I actually cannot leave the house without is my phone (and that’s the wallet) and my home-made Almond milk that I carry around in a small silver flask. That’s literally all I carry and it’s in my pocket. My husband frequently asks me to remind him why I have a walk in closet for just handbags ☺️

62, Marylebone Lane
+44 20 7935 1224

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