Connie Nam founded Astrid & Miyu in 2012, inspired by travels with her family in her younger years – visits to markets and boutiques and picking out special (albeit inexpensive) pieces of jewellery. At that time, each piece of jewellery had a meaning behind it, but later on in life this was not the experience Connie gained when visiting stores along the high street.

Everything was nice and professional, but it was a bit stale and lacked warmth

Connie wanted to replicate the warmth and feeling she experienced when purchasing jewellery from markets in her younger years, but in a high street and online setting. Hiring a friend of a friend, and with £500 to launch a website, Connie was able to use the rise of social media to quickly build brand visibility (gaining 20,000 followers in a year across Facebook and Instagram) to launch Astrid & Miyu.

Now, in 2023, Astrid and Miyu is a well-known brand across a number of markets – with 23 stores, a strong global presence and £35m projected revenue. 

Organic growth occurred naturally for the company, with Connie reaching out to bloggers and influencers – at a time when that social media influencer industry was not properly developed. This was the growth engine that Astrid & Miyu needed to build brand awareness and reputation.

At first the quantities were so small but the interest was significant, so everything sold out within a day – it was an amazing story and gave me lots of confidence

Effective early PR also played a huge part in the rise of Astrid & Miyu. Grazia and Stylist featured some of the brand’s products at a time when they were particularly unique in the market through the use of an external PR agent. Press in the UK were eager to pick on these original demi-fine products, with stocks selling out at rapid pace.


Funding was a key challenge early on for the company – particularly as it was initially turning over just 500k with a challenging jewellery market landscape for those seeking rapid expansion. Investors were predominantly male and didn’t understand the product or recognise the motivation behind it (sometimes asking if this was just a lifestyle business). Despite this, Connie was able to refine her pitch and win over angel investors over a six month effort, receiving a £600,000 investment to open her first store – this included just one female investor. 

I saw a challenge that a lot of female brands face, because it wasn’t tech and there is no IP – I needed investors that believed in me and what we were trying to build

In building a team over the years that followed, Connie sought a balance of people that grew with the business, alongside additional individuals with specific expertise – for example a COO that can focus on building the foundation for growth of the business, in particular in systems, finance and operations. 

Ultimately it comes down to hiring people that are smart and driven, but also ensuring those are people that possess emotional intelligence and want to do things for each other

In seeking and utilising wider support, Connie recognises that the company could do better at looking outwards to who and what can contribute to the journey. Connie has tended to seek advice and support from other founders and individuals rather than institutions, but would be open to other avenues, including government organisations. 

We have been focused on executing the plan first, but we would love to get any wider help we can


But, like many companies around the world, Connie faced significant challenges through the COVID pandemic. Less people on the high street forced Connie to take the difficult decision of closing stores and losing staff. Fortunately for the company, the strong presence it maintained online – with 70% of sales originating from the website – allowed it to continue to make progress with customers sticking by the brand, but the pandemic did disrupt the natural evolution of the company. 

Doors were closing and we were sacrificing 30-40% of our revenues, but fortunately because of our online presence we had a positive bump through our website site

New York was the priority market outside of the UK. But reduced footfall in high streets due to the pandemic meant plans there also had to be put on hold. Pop ups were essentially a marketing free hit, but a permanent store would need to pay off for Astrid & Miyu. 

Connie said that she balanced managing expectations with high ambitions for new markets by recognising the journey the company had been on in the UK. Astrid & Miyu could not expect to crack the U.S market in a year, but with commitment and a strong belief in the product and services, it could be highly successful there too.

I think it’s mindset just believing that it will happen

Despite the pandemic-related challenges, the company was able to bounce back across high streets with the slowing of restrictions and a return to normality. In stark contrast to other retailers and jewellery brands, customers flocked back to Astrid & Miyu stores quickly (for both jewellery products and in-store services) when they were re-opened. 

Astrid & Miyu now sees a huge part of its growth through its high street stores. E-commerce remains a significant focus, but this “natural evolution” to diversify the company’s products and services gave it the stepping stone to look beyond just the UK market. 

People were asking us on Instagram whether we were opening some of the services shown online to the public – every time we opened it was fully booked within an hour of the launch, they were so popular


Connie has confidence in the stability of the business and the team she has built over the years. Now, her focus is international expansion and what is in the future pipeline. Having launched her first store in the U.S (in New York) last year with a second this year, the expansion is building momentum with a number of stores in Europe. California and Paris are the top priorities for expansion. 

Currently just a small percentage of Astrid & Miyu’s revenue comes from abroad, but in five years Connie wants the company to be a truly global brand – with double digit growth every year until then. Whilst being London-centric initially (and still) Connie sees no reason the company cannot expand in existing and new markets, including in Asia and the Middle East. 

Inflation and increased costs of raw materials are a challenge. Connie is raising salaries significantly to keep up with wider pressures, whilst not increasing prices in line with inflation and additional production costs. Sticking by the customers and staff that got the company to this point is crucial in securing long term growth. 

“I saw a challenge that a lot of female brands face, because it wasn’t tech and there is no IP - I needed investors that believed in me and what we were trying to build.”

Connie Nam