Stylish & Innovative: Marina Pengilly

“Don’t be afraid of failure, embrace it. Failure drives innovation.”

Marina Pengilly is a fashionable South African entrepreneur based in London. She is the CMO and co-founder of Little Black Door (LBD), the social wardrobe app that powers users to catalogue their closets, compile outfit combinations, and sell clothes. A true multifaceted woman, she is passionate about sustainability and advocating quality investment fashion. When not on tech calls, hosting dinner parties, or attending events, she is at her beautiful London home snuggling with her two adorable jack russells, Lily and Luna, and forever embracing her uplifting vibrance and inner strength.

What does a day in your life look like?

Covid has for sure bought regiment to my day, more so than pre-lockdown times. Before starting my working day, I walk my dogs around Battersea Park. For me this morning routine is fundamental and mentally prepares me for the day ahead, having started the day achieving one goal, I’m then ready for the next.  Post walk, I make an unnecessarily large pot of coffee (which I finish), and join our daily tech call. And for the rest of the day, well, working in a start-up, the day is often stuffed with unscheduled events and things to do.

What do you value most in your friends?

Loyalty. Kindness. Humility.

How do you create elegance in all different scenarios in your life?

For me elegance comes from within , it’s an attitude and an energy that we shine. This is complemented by the clothes that we wear, like the feminine cut of a Prada dress, the simplicity of Gianvito Rossi pumps and of course the sparkle of 64Facets jewels that I wear on special occasions.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be afraid of failure, embrace it. Failure drives innovation.

What inspires you? 

LIFE! I am forever learning and being inspired by the beautiful place that we are so lucky to call home.

During this time of staying at home, adjustment and uncertainty, what strengths have you found within yourself?

I am so fortunate to have been so busy with Little Black Door, which has given me daily focus.  Covid-19 has certainly reshaped our plans for 2020, but we’re a tech venture that as a team can work remotely and being a start-up you are always adapting to the current environment. That said, our days have been longer, weekends a distant dream, BUT thankfully we have achieved so much during this period. 

So to answer the question; bravery, positivity and resilience

How do you foresee the future of retail in the post COVID era?

Like many industries, not just retail, Covid-19 has deeply impacted them in ways that we would have never predicted. LBD has always championed conscious consumerism and digital connection and I feel that Covid-19 will fast forward this mindset and adoption of existing and new online product. 

We have some hard years ahead of us; retailers will and are already experiencing less physical interaction and less transactions. They will need to work hard and adjust strategies, quickly switching focus from physical to digital solutions  in order to win and maintain loyal customers. Brands have a chance to be innovative and experimental with online solutions, like supermodel avatars, VR wardrobes, digital boutiques. mobile games and so on. I see a number of brands trialing new tech with great success. For instance, Ada App encourages 3D interaction between users and brands like Prada.

In times of recession, resale booms! Sustainability is a hot topic and at last the notion of buying pre-loved fashion is no longer taboo. Selfridges has embraced these trends and has created the #projectearth initiative, teaming up with Hurr Collective (clothing rental and reseller) and Oxfam to offer pop-ups within their London department store. I feel that more retailers will react to these trends and follow in their footsteps. 

Equally, consumers are realising that slow fashion retains greater value than fast fashion and that buying better allows for a resale return in the future, as well as being more environmentally friendly. 

That’s where LBD becomes handy…

Marina Pengilly wearing 64facets fine jewelry

Follow Marina on Instagram and @marinapengilly

Discover other inspiring women on our Multifaceted Women Spotlight Series.