We recently checked out the new Velveteen store in London’s pretty Notting Hill. From comfy chairs complete with stacks of magazines to a beautifully thought out cubby area for the kids, this welcoming store wants you to stay for hours – and it really is that easy! The childrenswear brand is all about celebrating the magic of childhood (think: sparkly sequins, delicate embroidery and lots of tassels) whilst keeping a strong social responsibility.
We chat to Creative Director, and mother of two (Alessandra and Gabriel), Laura Egloff, about motherhood, family teamwork and how she achieves ‘that dash of sass’ Velveteen is so loved for. (She also shares which piece she buys every season in size 14 years to wear herself!)
TELL US ABOUT VELVETEEN. HOW DID IT ALL COME ABOUT?
The brand was born when my life-long obsession with fashion design and my new found obsession with my first born child began to intertwine. As a designer, I began to work at making her clothes as beautiful and functional as I could. My frequent travel to India brought about an introduction to factories and local designers who were so inspiring that my husband started pushing me to bring my notebook of sketches to life with my first collection. We officially launched Velveteen in 2013 and delivered our first collection to select boutiques in the US in 2014.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE BRAND’S NAME?
The Velveteen Rabbit is an award winning children’s book and vivid childhood memory for me. My father read it to me at bedtime and the illustrations were really impactful. I still have the original copy from my father. When it came time to choose a name for the brand, I wanted something that spoke to very traditional childhood memories but also sounded rhythmic and appealed to a base that included all ages from baby to tweens and even adults. The fact that the word is also used to describe a type of velvet fabric reflected my obsession with choosing the best fabric quality for each style.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
Milk, no sugar.
WE LOVE YOUR ‘CHILDHOOD WITH STYLE… AND A DASH OF SASS’ TAG LINE – HOW DO YOU ENSURE EACH COLLECTION RADIATES THIS?
That part actually comes quite naturally as a derivative of the brand DNA. It’s a bit difficult to put into words as it’s just a feeling with each piece – the way you know when you’re getting dressed in the morning that you need to add the right accessories or shoes to pull it all together. We start with the class and then add the sass for fun.
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN SOURCES OF INSPO?
I take a lot of my personal inspiration from women’s wear. That viewpoint is then layered into each season’s theme and direction which can be inspired by a particular song, place or time… Or all three. I take quite a bit from my family’s own travel and then consider what the children would be doing in each collection –would they be on holiday? Would they be on an adventure? What would their personalities and discussions be like? We pull it together with music and images and it all ends up this living, breathing collection with a life and opinion of its own! It’s really the best part of the process…
FAVOURITE VELVETEEN PIECE?
I love so many styles and fabrics but my heart is forever biased toward the Eloise Skort because I buy it every season in a size 14 years for myself! I also love our new Britt Playsuit and the fabulous Adele wide-legged Pantsuit… I tend to fall in love with our more editorial pieces but love that there’s something for every child to build their own self expression.
HOW DO YOU JUGGLE MOTHERHOOD AND BUSINESS?
I really love and hate this question. I love that people are discussing it and interested in my view but I also realise that no one has ever asked my husband how he manages to balance fatherhood and business. I can’t wait for that day – and I can’t wait to read his answer!
The truth is that I’m not sure I do a great job of balancing these two responsibilities every day. Some days I do a great job of being a mum and a less great job of running my company. Some days that mix is reversed but I do my best to stay focused on where I am at the moment. As the company has grown, I have a great team to rely on when I need to step away and be present for the kids and the company has grown largely because I have an amazing support team at home between my husband and our two amazing helpers. Ning and Gisele run the household with precision and that enables me to work the long hours that running your own business inevitably requires.
FAVOURITE THING ABOUT MOTHERHOOD?
The smell of my children’s cheeks when they’re fast asleep is still the best thing ever. I feel incredibly lucky to be their mother and work hard to deserve their unconditional trust.
…AND HARDEST THING?
Knowing the right way to guide them through the challenges of life so they grow up to be resilient and kind human beings.
WHAT ARE YOU LOVING RIGHT NOW?
Therealreal.com – literally loving it right now as we speak! I’m obsessed with Jerome Dreyfuss handbags and love that I can find the most obscure sold-out styles on The Real Real and give them a second life for an amazing price. Such a win!
GO TO: velveteenclothing.com
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Inspiration/Image Credits: velveteenclothing.com