Tell us about your business and the type of products you sell?
I’ve been trading since November 2019. All the Syd and Coco garments in the range are designed by myself. I’d worked designing women’s clothes for about 20 years, so in terms of the fitting process its quite different, however, the design process is pretty similar.
I’ve designed a unique look with a kimono style sleeve and hidden popper fastenings. The plan is that the style of the garments remains consistent season in and season out as the look is quite unique and specific to Syd and Coco, whilst fabrics will be updated and new prints introduced.
I outsourced a grading company to size up all the patterns and a local alterations company make all the clothes. It was important to me that the finished product looks as good as the photography and the hype so imperative that I employed a machinist to make the garments as my sewing skills aren’t slick enough!
As mentioned I worked in the clothing industry for years and sadly there had been bits that I hadn’t enjoyed; such as the fast fashion element, the churning out, mark it down, dispose of it, cut-throat mentality. Whilst developing and exploring how I wanted the brand Syd and Coco to develop I found myself going down a more ethical route.
Sustainability became important to me. I became passionate about building a sustainable brand. I use only organic fabrics, my fabrics are made and printed in the UK. Our clothes are made in the UK. Our packaging is biodegradable and we give a pair of pants to a child that needs them for every pair of bloomers sold. I’d like a business with a heart.
How did you come up with the idea and what motivated you to go for it?
I was made redundant 6 weeks before I was due to return to work after mat leave. I was working in a managerial design role, primarily in womenswear. I had no intention of not returning to work after having had a child as I love my job and I love working and as much as I love my little girl to pieces the thought of being only a Mum petrified me!!
I had always planned to create my own range – just not now – so thought I’d best bite the bullet and get on with it as if I didn’t do it now I possibly never would! As I’d had a child I loved the idea of getting involved in the kids clothing side of things. My little girl is called Syd, her favourite toy was called Coco, so there you have Syd and Coco!
What do you love about running your own business and what do you find hard?
I love everything about running my own business. I love the freedom to be able to try and do anything – its hard work but I love it. I think the hardest thing is that it can at times be lonely. I’d worked remotely for years but had always had regular interaction with colleagues. I’ve realised how important social media is to an independent like myself and the community you can build.
What kind of BossMum are you and how do you manage the juggle?
I’m a pretty organised person, but setting up a business from scratch whilst having a young child and running a house is the hardest job I’ve had to date!! So as organised as I try to be there is an element of winging it. I most definetly have a plan with the business, I like a list and do structure my weeks – so I’m pretty on it – however, NEVER have enough time! I’m probably the most disorganised when it comes to the Mum stuff!!
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
That you would think that working in the clothing industry for 20 years, having travelled the world, worked in various jobs, with extensive experience, that I’d have a bit of a head start – but my god there is so much stuff that I’ve had to learn on the job and you don’t realise you don’t know it until you don’t know it!!
How do you define success?
Happiness and enough money to be able to do the things you love.
What is a normal day in your life like?
After having had Syd I was all geared up to return to work so had put all the tools in place thinking this was going to happen. We’re really lucky as live near parents and they like being involved – win-win!
We’d planned for Syd to go to nursery two days a week, however, when I lost my job we had to cut that back to one day as couldn’t afford it. We probably couldn’t afford one day but wanted Syd to go and I needed my sanity to stay intact! I work from home in our spare room – we moved house a few months ago and have done nothing to this room, it used to belong to a little boy – so currently surrounded by mental cartoon wallpaper!
What’s next for your business?
It’s early days as we’ve only just launched; so 2020 is going to be all about brand awareness, getting my brand out there and growing a community that loves to shop Syd and Coco!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve heard a few people say ‘don’t listen to the white noise’ and it always sticks with me.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about setting up their own business?
Do it, get on with it and believe in yourself. Try to block out the white noise – only you know how you want your business to look.
What is your favourite Social Media platform and how has it helped in your success?
Instagram – I love that its a visual and creative platform. It’s enabled me to tell my story from day one, build a community and launch a business. However, I’m obsessed with Pinterest; just need to get my head around using it for Syd and Coco, as pinning interiors isn’t helping my kids’ clothing business!
Who inspires you?
I’m currently in awe of / have a girl crush on Holly Tucker; founder of Not on the High Street and Holly & Co! I find her extremely inspiring, motivating and just a very lovely person.
What was your dream job growing up?
I wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 7!!
What do you enjoy most about being a part of Mama Tribe?
It’s a community of like-minded people – an instant support network, that’s so important when you’re working alone / doing it alone.
Thanks for giving us an insight into life behind Syd and Coco Emily, we love having you as a Member of the Tribe.