B MEETS VIOLET & WREN
Ever heard the quote life is better in pyjamas? We adore clothes but maybe that’s true with the luxurious printed silk loungewear from Violet & Wren. Our goal is to have nice pyjamas when we reach 30 (which isn’t long now) and these are definitely on our list! There’s nothing better than being cosy and feeling gorgeous in premium silk PJ’s, getting a glass of wine, putting the tele on, popping on a glowing facial oil - yes you can tell we’re approaching 30.
But if you fancy being wild and going out they look just as good as an outfit - just team the silk shirts with jeans, the silk cami’s with a pleated skirt or the wide leg pants with a Genevieve Sweeney jumper, add heels and your good to go! There’s some pretty gorgeous silk underwear too that is definitely for inside.
Read below all about Helen and Louise the ladies behind their ‘happy accident’ of a brand Violet & Wren - yes like most other happy accidents owning a business is like your baby.
A HAPPY ACCIDENT
We started the brand in 2015 as a happy accident really! I was working on bridalwear at the time, and asked Louise to design a print for a wedding dress I was working on. The bride asked for a kimono to be made from the same print, and the idea for printed silk loungewear was born! The print Louise created, ‘Magnolia Glow’, was our first ever print story.
WEY AYE PET
Louise and I both studied Fashion with Marketing at Northumbria University in Newcastle – it’s where we met and where the dream of having our own brand was born. Since graduating in 2004, we have worked within the fashion industry – myself as a pattern cutter and garment technologist for high street and designer brands here in the UK, and Louise as a womenswear and print designer in both the UK and Australia. The skills that we have both brought with us to Violet & Wren are key in the progress we have made.
B is for Botanical
We’d describe our brand as luxury, botanical silk loungewear, with a modern relaxed handwriting – all of our prints are designed in house by Louise, which gives us a really strong and recognisable handwriting.
Inspiration comes from all around us, but particularly the natural world as we focus on flora and fauna for our prints. The latest collection, Eternal Sleep, was inspired by the Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle – we loved the idea that behind the beautiful flowers and plants, there is a toxic and sometimes deadly secret.
All of our prints are designed in house exclusively for us. Louise uses a combination of hand drawing, painting and photography to create each unique prints. We carry out all our development here in the UK, which gives us thorough control during the process, and our production is based in China through our Hong Kong colleagues. We would love to develop a UK manufactured line which could be more of a bespoke, personalised service and warrant an increased sale price.
RIDING THE EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER?
The hardest part is also the best challenge! Juggling every aspect of the brand from devolvement, manufacture, PR, marketing, sales, the online and wholesale business. Not to mention the accounts, admin and finances! B – Yep we feel ya!
There are so many aspects to running a business which we were naive to when we first started and the last 2 years has been an incredibly steep learning curve, and emotional rollercoaster! B – Hearing you again! The reward though is that there are so many best bits too. The biggest sense of achievement is when a customer loves what you have designed. And seeing our collections hanging in a beautiful store or worn by a customer still gives us butterflies and puts a huge smile on our faces!
WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN
We would say to those thinking about going it alone don’t overthink it – seriously what’s the worst that could happen!? If we had overanalysed about every little detail, Violet & Wren would never have happened as we would have scared ourselves off before we’d started! Saying that, a strong visual identity is important and will tell your story for you. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason – when you encounter one setback it often leads to a new direction or something better than before.