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The idea for LoveShackFancy came about when I was getting married. The inspiration behind my wedding was the South of France meets The Great Gatsby, with a touch of Great Expectations, and I couldn’t find any bridesmaids dresses, so I decided to make them instead. I wanted my bridesmaids to look ethereal in pieces they would want to keep forever, and thus, I discovered a gap in the market for beautiful silk pieces that could take you from the beach to a party – and so LoveShackFancy was born.
I never thought my wedding would lead me to start my own company. I wore one of the bridesmaid's dresses to some other weddings, which prompted friends to ask me to make customised dresses. I started fulfilling personal orders and after a year of playing around, left my job at Cosmopolitan. The business started with selling dresses at little trunk shows and out of my car, but eventually turned into pop-ups at different boutiques. The whole entrepreneurial thing was completely new to me, but it’s probably that lack of expertise which has made LoveShackFancy what it is today – a women’s clothing line which pushes the boundaries.
In the first year, the small collections constantly sold out. The business really took off and it was becoming clear that this was my path. So if I wanted to do it right, I knew I had to bring in some help. Since 2013, we’ve grown from a one-woman-show to an 83-person team.
Vintage fashion has always been my main inspiration. For me, it’s all about the journey vintage textiles can take you on, and I love discovering fabrics, colours, patterns, textiles and decorative ribbons from another era. It’s something that will always inform our collections. Specifically, I'm inspired by the Victorian and Edwardian eras, as well as the Pioneer, Rococo and Baroque periods. Our different styles reflect the literary classics of Jane Austen and Collette, as well as the work of great photographers like David Hamilton, and renowned painters like Renoir and Degas.
The LoveShackFancy girl is someone who is as at home on the beach as she is in the city. She’s someone who loves to travel and isn’t afraid to be her most authentic, creative self. She’s also easy going, and loves fancy dinners as much as she loves road trips in a convertible. It’s really a magical world for women of all ages who want to inject some fantasy into the way they dress. My muses are my daughters, Scarlett and Stella. Their freehearted spirits inspire me to create the brand’s signature fun and feminine designs.
Opening our store was a defining moment for the brand. The first boutique we opened was in Sag Harbor, and since then we’ve opened sites in Manhattan, California, Florida, and now Texas. Sharing our LoveShackFancy story is so important to us, and each of our boutiques plays a part in sharing our vision.
We’ve spent the last year or so exploring other categories. Now, with a children’s line, swimwear, bridal, athleisure and home goods under our belt, LoveShackFancy is transforming into much more than the boho dress label it started out as. My goal is always to give the customers what they ask for, and we have a several new collaborations in the pipeline which I’m so excited to share.
All our pieces are designed to be versatile. Because our customers span all ages, I love to see how each generation wears the different styles. For example, our blouses and dresses can be worn on their own, or they can be layered with a cosy cardigan or coat. I personally love to wear our flowy sun dresses barefoot around the house and throw on a pair of heels to run errands.
Seeing our dresses worn at weddings is really special. Since LoveShackFancy was the result of my own wedding, it’s very memorable when a bride, bridesmaid, or wedding guest chooses one of our designs for such a special occasion.
My advice to other women starting a business is do not let other people’s opinions get in the way of your own. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is always stay true to yourself, follow your instincts and your heart. It's important to surround yourself with good, honest people, too.
Where will the brand be in five years’ time? I’d love to keep expanding the interiors line, and collaborate with like-minded brands. I’d also like to make more accessories. Time will tell, but ultimately, I want the brand to continue inspiring women and girls all over the world to embrace their femininity and personal style in a way that’s true to them.