Good morning and welcome back!
I hope that you all had a fabulous bank holiday weekend and have had a good start to our four day week! Yipppeeee! I don’t know about you but I am getting far too used to these four day weeks!
It has been even more go go go in the Circus office over the last couple of weeks as we are in the middle of signing some fantastic new brands! We are very excited for them to be joining the Circus as they are brands that we have L.O.V.E.D and wanted to work with for a long time!! Hopefully next week I shall be able to reveal more but until then you shall have to sit tight and keep your eyes and ears open!!!
This week I am joined by busy bee Clare from children’s clothing brand Laylamay!
Helen & Clare the Team behind Laylamay
Clare! Thank you so much for joining me today! Let’s start off by you telling us a little bit about yourself…
Hello everyone! I live in Leeds with my husband Andy and our two daughters Madeline 7 and Layla 4. I love vintage!! Especially anything Art Deco and 1960’s / 70’s furniture! You should see my house! It’s full of bits I’ve picked up over the years! I’m a bit of a magpie!
What is your working background?
I did a Fashion Degree at Nottingham Trent University, and then worked in London for 5 years as a jerseywear designer! It was fabulous! I learned so much and travelled all over to China, Hong Kong, Japan, New York, Milan, Paris to mention a few! I was very lucky to get such great experience! My husband and I (at this point) made a decision to return to our Northern roots and moved to Leeds where I took a completely different direction taking a job designing Fancy Dress. I loved doing this so much as it was very creative compared to designing high street clothing! I designed kids and adults covering Halloween, Disney Princesses, Star Wars and everything in between! I was then offered a role as a Design Manager working for a wonderful family run fancy dress business with its own branded fancy range. I worked here up until I set up Laylamay.
What an exciting journey you have had to date Clare! You have visited some amazing places! I also LOVE Leeds! Lots of my friends go to Uni there so we always try to do some weekend getaways throughout the year! What made you break away from adultswear in to childrenswear?
I have designed both over the years and since having my two daughters have found it difficult to find strong, uncluttered but feminine clothes that I liked for them! So, I decided to have a go at it myself!
How did the business partnership between Helen and yourself come about?
Myself and Helen had been friends for a while as our husbands worked together and Helen has a daughter (Sophie) the same age as my daughter Layla. I was finding that although I loved my job, with myself and my husband working so much we needed to do something to come up with an idea to tackle the work / life balance.
My eldest daughter had just started school and it became apparent that she needed more attention and support so I decided to leave my job to try and do something more flexible that could fit in around school hours! It was at this point that Helen suggested we set up our own business.
Tell us about your fabulous brand Laylamay…
I call Laylamay my 3rd baby! I live and breathe it! Our handwriting is strong but feminine, drawing on vintage styling for inspiration combined with some modern twists.
Our range rolls over through the seasons as we believe that kids don’t really have an Autumn / Winter or Spring / Summer wardrobe! With this in mind, we try to design clothes that will last through the seasons, bringing in new styles a couple of times a year.
Making our pieces in Britain is something that is very important to us as well as supporting the local community so our range is manufactured in a local factory and we source everything through British suppliers.
What a fantastic idea! Viva Inglaterra! Where did the name Laylamay come from?
It was actually Helen’s husband’s idea! Layla comes from my youngest daughter and May is Helen’s surname so we joined the two together and decided it had a nice ring to it as well as having personal meaning.
That’s so lovely! Can you tell us about your role in the company…
My role initially was design but at the moment it just about covers everything involved in the day to day running of a business! It has been an amazing learning experience!
Do you have a typical day?
In terms of time, I have to fit in around the kids! So, the time I have, I really have to use as positively as possible and be very focused. I usually check my emails and social media first thing and then try and focus on whichever thing is most important.
One week I may be focusing on designing new styles, the next PR, the next Sales. I also make lots of lists! We have an overall plan for the year so I make sure I am doing the right thing at the right time!
I am a huge fan of daily lists! I don’t know where I would be without mine! Where do you draw inspiration from for each collection?
Lots of different things! I am always collecting any fabrics, trims or shapes that appeal to me throughout the year and I usually look at the catwalks and what is going on in adult fashion. When I actually sit down to design my inspiration usually firstly comes from the fabrics and colours and then I put them into shapes drawing from all the inspiration I have collated.
It sounds like you have it all worked out to a T! What’s your favourite SS14 item from the collection?
It has to be the Gracie Swing Cardigan! I love the shape and it’s a great cover up for those chillier British Summer days!
Can you tell us about the AW14 collection?
Yes I can! The colour tones are similar to what we have already done so that the styles link. We have found some lovely new fabrics to introduce which we are very excited about! We have chosen shapes which have real echoes of Downton Abbey / 1920’s about them, as our Jeannie Dotty Dress. The styling has worked well so we are drawing more on this theme.
How exciting! I bet you’re looking forward to seeing it in-store! What other projects are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am mainly focusing on Laylamay and building the brand. We are still a young company so there is still lots to do! I am currently contributing to the Junior Style blog which I have been loving as it’s not something I have done before. When I have more time I would really like to try some more new things as it’s great to broaden my horizons.
Who would you love to see wearing your brand?
Ooh everyone! I love hearing about any customers wearing Laylamay! It gives me such a thrill every time! A customer who bought from the range last year recently came back and bought all the new styles, which was fabulous! In terms of children in the public eye I would love to see Zara Phillips daughter Mia wearing something or perhaps if Baby George has a sister at some point…!
That’s incredible that a previous client came back and bought all of the new styles! What a compliment – congratulations! Where can individuals buy Laylamay?
They can go onto our online boutique at www.laylamay-uk.co.uk and also from our 3 fab stockists – Cootchie Coo in Leeds Victoria Quarter, Loo Loo’s in Ingatestone, Essex and Minimilks in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire.
I love those names! Cootchie Coo – brilliant! Have you got a celeb crush?
Apart from Brad Pitt?! 😉 I really admire Cate Blanchett as her style is amazing and she’s so stylish!
I agree! Brad Pitt is quite a dish!
Clare, thank you so much for joining me on CCT today I am very appreciative! It’s been fab hearing about your exciting background and how it led you to Laylamay!
Join me next week for lots more gossip and chinwagging <3 Kate xox
Images courtsey of Laylamay UK