We’ve been catching up with our tenant Kate Hill, founder of children’s fashion brand, Lola Starr. Inspired by her daughter Lola’s love of playing “dress-up”, Kate has developed a unique brand focused on quality, creativity and sustainability – so we had to find out more!
Here’s what Kate had to say when we spent “5 Minutes With…” her.
Tell us about your business…
Lola Starr is a unique children’s fashion brand that has interchangeable sleeves which come in a whole range of colours, textures and fabrics. The children can easily change these with our trade mark look of snaps fasteners (press studs) – we encourage children to make independent fashion choices and develop their creative skills through fashion!
Having worked on the concept as part of my Visual Merchandising & Promotional Degree at university, I became a bit obsessed with developing the range. My real inspiration came from my daughter Lola who is a dress-up fanatic. She loves experimenting with scraps of fabric and drawing her own little designs so she gave me the confidence to develop the idea into a business. Of course, I had to name the business after her, after all she is my own little star!
Our brand is passionate about promoting sustainable fashion choices and encourages parents to reuse existing items and team them up with some of our interchangeable designs. We believe in keeping garments beautiful for longer – we live in such a throwaway society so by reusing clothes you already have in the wardrobe you can get so much more use out them and still ring the changes each season by mixing up older items to create a unique look.
At the moment we are looking for independent boutiques to stock Lola Starr and this summer we will be exhibiting our SS20 collection at PURE/ BUBBLE trade show in London, so going forward and where would we like to go in the future, is into stores who share the same values as our brand.
Describe your typical daily routine…
At the moment my daily routine is completing our new designs, fabrics and putting samples together for our SS20 show at PURE. We have a fantastic new dress and jacket to launch, which we are super excited about!
I’ll reply to all emails and queries and I’ll also read a lot of articles to do with colours and fashion trends and about what is happening in the industry. Our SS20 range has earthy pantones as we enter a new decade into 2020.
I also attend a lot of networking events and attend business courses at 54 St James Street, which are delivered by the Women’s Organisation and have been such a great opportunity for me starting up my own business. I would recommend them to anyone thinking of starting up their own business – they have been there every step of the way with their continuous advice and training.
We have done a number of Pop Up shop events lately and have a few more up and coming, so I’m always on the look out for any information on those happening.
Why did you choose 54 St. James Street?
The Women’s Organisation have helped me massively along my journey, starting with my business planning and all the business advice from my fabulous business advisor to the excellent range of courses and training, from book keeping to social media and SEO and many more.
So using 54 St James Street as the base for my business was an obvious choice. It’s also been great to meet other like-minded women starting up their business in the workshops which happen at 54 St James Street – I have made some great contacts and friends there.
What would be your top tips for anyone looking to start a business?
For me, tips for anyone looking to start their own business would be to do your market research – that is key! Get help with your business plan which The Women’s Organisation can help you with, and the big thing I’ve learnt over the years is to be passionate and believe in what you do!
I truly do believe in Lola Starr and love the brand with a passion, it’s a unique concept and we stand by our values.
What’s on your reading or watch list at the moment?
I’m always interested in digging out and reading articles which are useful for my business and also personal interests. I watch WGSN stories and read their forecasts every week, I never miss them with their colours trends and retail key updates. I read Drapers online, keeping in the loop about the retail industry. Also love a glossy magazine!
At the moment, I’m loving The Bay and of course Line of Duty! I’ve also been watching The Sewing Bee – I love that programme.
You can get in touch with Kate Hill on 07515 887978 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Prices start from £69.00 – Extra Sleeves £20 per pair – Full details on website.