I’ve always been a creative. Growing up I loved arts & crafts. I get it from my mum. She’s an incredible artist – sketching and watercolours are what I remember her being best at. It’s a shame she didn’t stick to it and build a portfolio of work.
I wasn’t lucky enough to inherit her drawing skills. I mean, I’m not terrible, but certainly not as good as her. I’m creative in other ways. I have a creative eye. I love graphics, typography, print, fashion, illustration.
When I was at school I was an all round student. I did well at the subjects that mattered. Maths, Science and English – all A grades. Plus an A in art. I remember having a careers meeting and not having a bloody clue what I wanted to do when I left school. The careers lady said “well, lets pretend your 2 best subjects are something unusual like maths and art…” Hmmm…. these were my 2 best subjects! The idea was to come up with a career on what I was good at, her example was to find a career on 2 subjects that are rarely put together. Typical.
Well, you know what? I think I found the perfect career for my fave subjects. Fashion Design allows me to create and use my artistic flair, whilst working with numbers and measurements.
Unfortunately the careers lady didn’t think of this as a career while we were in the meeting, and it took me a while to realise fashion design was my destiny 😉
I started my design career freelancing for top Spanish brand Custo Barcelona. I worked from home sending my designs via email. Unfortunately, due to the company being so huge the job fizzled out. I was supposed to travel to Barcelona for design meetings fortnightly, or even move out there, but it just didn’t happen. I got to the point where I felt I wasn’t learning and wanted to experience what it was like to work in a studio.
I then found a job for a knitwear brand local to me (I won’t mention them because I don’t want to give them any free advertising #imnotbitter) where I worked for almost 6 years before being made redundant at the end of last year.
Although the company was a bit of a shambles, I did learn a lot while working there. I mean, I did a bit of everything. I began by doing the designing, organising samples, measuring, print design, samples sales etc. Towards the end of my time there as the company got smaller, I had to teach myself how to build mailers using fireworks and dreamweaver, run an ecommerce site, organise stock and arrange shipping.
All skills I have passed on to my current job – designing children’s leggings and running my online shop through my blog.
If you haven’t seen already I have just launched my new collection of leggings, meaning I now have 9 designs available online. I still have to pinch myself sometimes that I have a clothing brand up and running and I’m so impatient about where I want it to go. Unfortunately, as with most businesses, money is an issue. I was lucky to be loaned enough to order my first collection, then using the money I made from sales and a little from our savings I then bought my second collection. Every penny I make from now on will be what feeds the business. There is no more investment. But that’s ok, I’ll soon be taking care of a newborn and won’t have much time to work, so that gives the brand time to tick over and make some more sales.
I have so many ideas and so much I want to do. That’s the problem with being a creative, and even more so an impatient one, all your ideas seem to come at once! I already have samples for a short sleeve t-shirt, long sleeve baby grow, sleep suit and bandana bibs, but can’t order any until I make some more money. Actually the bibs will be launching pretty soon as I made enough money from my first trade show last month to pay for a collection of bibs. Basically once I approved the samples they will be in production!
I’ve booked to sell at 2 more trade shows this year, plus a local family charity day. 2 are in July which means I’ll have a pretty new baby to take with me, but I’ll be dragging hubby along to help and hopefully have grandparents to watch Lamb. The third is in September so hopefully our routine is settled by then and I can leave the kids at home. I’ll be advertising these shows on my Facebook page closer the the time for those interested in attending.
The one thing I love about my brand is that it’s unique. The prints are completely designed by myself. You can’t get them anywhere else (unless someone rips me off, which they better not). I don’t buy fabric and make the clothing. I design the fabric and spec the design, then have a bulk collection manufactured in a professional factory in India. What’s great about doing it this way is I can literally do anything I want. My contact in India can product any type of textile, so who knows, you might be seeing bedding and cushion covers in the near future! 😉
I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has supported me in my journey to launch my own brand, particularly my father-in-law who has endless amounts of help and advice to give. I wouldn’t be doing this without him. I’m a very lucky lady. He sees so much potential in Lamb & Bear and with his expertise I trust he will help me go far.
I still have a lot to learn, but I hope what I’m doing is what people want. It’s certainly what I want for Lamb, he is my inspiration after all.