What is your backstory and your journey with Clove?
"The paths that have led me to this point in my journey are varied and somewhat disconnected. However each one has uncovered new elements of myself I had not known were there before.
I completed a design degree straight out of school, it was a hub of creativity and learning and I loved every second.
I worked in offshore production for a few years after that, a busy stressful environment with super highs and super lows. I learnt resilience and was shown a fast paced, intense side of the industry. I was given amazing opportunities and met wonderful people along the way. It also cemented a strong desire to work in a creative environment again, I really struggled with not feeling creatively fulfilled.
I began teaching in secondary school for a brief period, learnt a lot about myself and built more confidence in my abilities.
This coincided with my journey into motherhood, which essentially changed everything about me. I was left to figure out what I wanted from this life and who I wanted to be.
I am now working on Clove around three busy kiddies so it has felt like a really slow start, but steps are moving forward and I keep holding onto the dream of having flexibility, autonomy and fulfilment. I want to be able to provide for my family whilst also being present for them, which has been a really hard balance to find but I am hopeful that all the hard work will create that for us."
What is it you want to accomplish with Clove?
"The vision is forever evolving, starting with a brand that makes quality items fit for a lifetime of wear. It sounds really cheesy but I know the power of having clothes in your wardrobe that give you an instant pick-me-up, so it is important to me to create clothing with this in mind.
I have hopes of being a really conscious brand that creates avenues and opportunities for others. I am not yet sure what this looks like but am forever playing with different ideas.
I love thinking up ways to use all the scraps and off cuts so that I am being as conscientious as possible in my creation and I want to empower customers to look after and mend their clothes as well.
The long term dream is having an open studio or shop with an in-house team and I really hope to embark on some collaborative projects along the way."
What are some external struggles you are facing at the moment with Clove?
"Time and space. Building a business around 3 kids from a small room in our house is a constant juggle. I feel really grateful to be able to do this at all so I keep working with what I have for the time being."
What are some internal struggles you are dealing with at Clove right now?
"Overthinking and perfectionism are two factors I work hard to stifle. I get in my own way a lot and imposter syndrome has a front row seat most of the time. I am learning to push through and the passion for what I am doing outshines the doubts, so when I get into a creative flow I am able to run with it. I have also learnt to listen to myself, when I feel like I am pushing against the grain and things become too much of a struggle, I work on something else for a while so as to not make avoidable mistakes while feeling like I am in conflict with myself."
What was the catalyst for you to begin this journey with Clove?
"Clove has been something I have always wanted to do, I just thought I had to “get a job” and was forever waiting for some sort of opportunity to arise while trying to figure out where I fit in. I never felt good, or fashionable enough to be part of a brand but I always wanted to be. It was a constant cycle of working out how to become aligned with something, hopefulness followed by disappointment.
I was on maternity leave from my teaching role and felt extremely anxious about the thought of going back into teaching. I had found it really challenging to juggle with one toddler, let alone two and I was still having that feeling of lacking as I was not getting the time to create. I realised that I didn’t want to be confined by someone else’s parameters. I wanted to create a life for our family on our terms by doing, if I’m honest with myself, the only thing I have ever really wanted to do. I started working on Clove from there. It has taken a long, long time to get to where it feels like I am actually starting something, but here we are and it feels really exciting.
It was once said about me that I walk to the beat of my own drum, which got me thinking that even though I still don’t quite know where I fit, that maybe that’s ok and the path that I get to follow with Clove is completely my own."
What would you tell yourself if you were to begin this journey over again?
"At the beginning I spent a lot of time researching and fixating on things that I thought were important, instead of focusing on the clothes and getting them made.
So I would give myself three important pieces of advice:
- Start small and keep it simple, don’t worry about how things will be perceived.
- Build a creative community around yourself. Everyone battles the same feelings of unsureness, so don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with people.
- Ask for what you want. The worst that can happen is you get shut down, but waiting for things to happen isn’t going to open up any opportunities, so you have nothing to lose. "
Any advice for creative women wanting to start a business but don’t know where to begin?
"My advice would be to find the space you want to be in and just start creating. The learning that you will encounter once you start getting yourself out there will then enable you to refine your offering and the rest can be figured out along the way.
It is really scary getting yourself out there, most creative forms feel extremely personal and can feel quite confronting to share with others. But feeling that fear and doing it anyway will open your world right up."