Tell us about your background. What was the journey that led you to create Spots & Stripes?
Before I created Spots & Stripes, I had a 20 year career in glossy magazines. I worked at Vogue, Marie Claire, ELLE, US and UK Glamour as a Beauty Editor, Stylist and eventually as a Creative Director. It was an incredibly glamorous job and I travelled around the world working with amazing people - celebrities, top photographers, as well as very talented hair and make-up teams. What I didn't realise at the time was that this was fantastic training for creating a brand - from the look of the website to what's in the products.
How has the brand evolved over time?
The interesting thing is that it looks exactly the same now as it did when I first put together a presentation in late 2015. I had a complete vision of the brand, from the name and packaging to the product line up. What does evolve is what new products I launch and when, as we're constantly listening to what our customers are saying and as I become more aware of what these tweens and teens need.
What inspires you and motivates you?
My main motivation right now is to make Spots & Stripes as big as it can be. It's so clear from the response to the brand that there is a big gap in the market and I'm very excited about the possibilities. Even if it's a little bit overwhelming sometimes!
What does sustainability mean to you as a brand?
I knew from the beginning that sustainability had to be an integral part of Spots & Stripes. It's important to the parents who buy our products and to the tweens and teens who use them. I was very lucky to find a manufacturer who was even more passionate about it than I was and so I don't have to worry about the eco credentials of our ingredients or our manufacturing process. It's all done in the most sustainable and ethical way. Sustainable packaging has been a longer journey. Biopolymer and PCR bottles have huge minimum order quantities, so they were out of our reach as a self-funded start-up. But we're getting there! Our products will be in PCR bottles by the end of the year and even our pump tops will be more eco and fully recyclable. We're also looking at refills and 5 litre bottles, etc. so that families who love our products can use less plastic.
What would be your top tip to help encourage others to live more sustainably?
Think carefully about what you buy and who you buy it from. Look at the companies and their ethos. Support the ones who are doing the right thing (because, for a company, it's harder and more expensive to do the right thing, there are no cutting corners!). Travel less. It was incredible what we saw happen to the air quality and sky during the first lockdown when flights stopped.
What are you most excited to work on over the next few months (or in 2021)?
I'm always excited about new product development. We have some seriously good products coming out over the next year. I'm also excited about learning more about how to engage our customers and keep them happy.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who is looking to set up their own company?
Contact people who've done it before and ask them lots of questions. People are pretty generous with their knowledge and the more questions you ask, the more you'll learn and the less mistakes you'll hopefully make.
What do you look for when finding the perfect gift?
Something simple and personal. I often give books or flowers.
What are your favourite LITTLE FINDs?
I love the look of the Bamford Water Bottles. I love the idea that my water could be emitting a calming and creative energy. I really need that!
Let’s have a little fun and FIND out about you...
- Favourite TV series right now? I've been a late starter on The Handmaid's Tale. Gruelling, but brilliant.
- Last thing you cooked? Chicken Katsu.
- Favourite Instagram account to follow? Professionally, Glossier. Personally, I love garden and lifestyle accounts like @jennyroseinnes
- Best book recommendation? Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall
- Perfect way to spend your weekend? Escaping to Cornwall with my daughters, when we're allowed.
- Best restaurant you’ve eaten at? It's been so long since I've done this, I can't really remember. There are some lovely restaurants down here - The Beckford Arms, The Talbot Inn and the Pythouse Kitchen Garden. The food is delicious, but they aren't 'best restaurant ever level'
- Country you’d love to visit? New Zealand.