Careers in Lingerie: Managing Director with Jemma Barnes

Author: Estelle

Today’s post is part of my Careers in Lingerie series, a behind-the-scenes look at distinct jobs in the lingerie industry – what they’re genuinely like, and how to get into them. Previous installments include an online boutique owner and an owner of an independent brick-and-mortar boutique, and today I’m moving on to the role of managing a lingerie brand when it’s owned by somebody else.

I spoke to Jemma Barnes, the Managing Director of Anita in the UK and previously of Aubade, who reveals the many different tasks this job role entails, shows that you don’t necessarily need to have a degree to land a equivalent position, and explains what personal qualities she’d be hunting out for if she have been hiring her own replacement.

Hi Jemma, thanks for joining the series. Can you start off by telling my readers a little about the business you work for, Anita UK Ltd.?

Anita UK Ltd. is a subsidiary of Anita Gmbh, a German/Austrian firm which is 130 years old and still in the ownership of the founding household, some four generations later. Anita has one particular simple purpose to provide functional, comfortable lingerie for ladies at each and every stage in their life and for every eventuality life throws at them! We have five sub-brands:

Anita Care – for post breast cancer surgery

Anita Maternity – for for the duration of pregnancy and then nursing newborns

Anita Active – for specialist further help needed when exercising

Anita Comfort – for ultimate comfort, especially for those will a fuller type

Rosa Faia – for “big cup beauty” sized from A – I cup

We have lingerie and swimwear in all 5 sectors and also supply health-related aids such as compression bras and silicon breast types to ladies who have undergone breast surgeries. In addition to our retail operation, we supply many of the NHS trusts and their hospitals across the UK, as well as supplying several private clinics all through the UK.


Anita Active Momentum Sports bra. 30-46 band sizes and A-H cup sizes.

You also head up Eloise alongside a brand manager. What is that organization all about?

Eloise is mostly a mail-order company specialising in products for ladies who have undergone remedy for breast cancer. The company was set up some years ago and had a loyal following who relied on Eloise for option, selection and great service. A handful of years ago the company was up for sale and in danger of ceasing to exist – so rather than allowing the firm to close, Anita decided to acquire the brand and develop it into a luxury mail-order organization for fashionable and discerning ladies struggling to locate lovely lingerie and swimwear to wear with breast forms following surgery.

Whilst the majority of our consumers like the capability to attempt on their intended obtain in the comfort of their homes, some highlighted the fact they would genuinely really like to have somewhere to come and be fitted and to be capable to have guidance on the ideal merchandise to suit their individual needs. From this we decided to open the Eloise Fitting Suite in Milton Keynes, a private, comfy and relaxed environment where ladies can come by appointment only to have a one particular-to-one fitting with one of our specialists.


Anita breast prostheses and bra.

What drew you to the globe of intimates?

Possibility! I was initially going to be a Chartered Management Accountant, very a different career path than the a single I took. Nevertheless feeling a small young and naïve right after finishing school and having grown up in a small village, I was not very prepared for the excitement of living alone in Birmingham, so I took a year out and went to work as a management trainee in family-owned department retailer chain Beatties, in Northampton. My 1st division as a manager, getting graduated via the scheme, was Childrenswear and Lingerie… from that day forward I was hooked!

I by no means produced it to university, I loved the merchandise, particularly all the beautifully-coloured silks and laces. I loved the emotional connection with consumers – fitting them with garments for weddings, 1st dates or merely anything to make them feel better. Usually soon after half an hour in a fitting space collectively we were connected, and the satisfaction of creating them feel comfortable in my care and confident in their body and their purchases is a joy that’s by no means left me! I nevertheless get the very same feeling of satisfaction now when I have carried out breast form fitting in a clinic at a hospital, or in the Eloise suite.


Anita Maternity Kamaka tankini. 30-38 band sizes and C-D cup sizes.

You have the rather lofty title of Managing Director! What does being an MD involve specifically?

It signifies that I have to have a title that satisfies the legal needs and Firms House! I’m not a large believer in titles or pigeon-holing people accordingly. What operating a tiny organization like Anita implies is a lot variety and a huge commitment. I enjoy my job and the fact that I have to put on so a lot of various hats and be so several different men and women as and when the want arises.

I run the sales force, the workplace, the clinic fittings and the company vehicles. I’m accountable for marketing and overseeing the PR agency, I organise the exhibitions to market the brand and its items, I run the companies’ budgets and forecasts and am accountable for sales and monetary performance. I operate with the designers giving industrial input and feedback, I liaise with the parent organization on pricing, advertising and marketing and brand identity, I run coaching courses for retailers and breast care nurses, I run the Eloise subsidiary… I even make tea and place dustbins out!


Rosa Faia Josephine bra set. 32-42 band sizes and B-H cup sizes.

So your job requires a dash of sales, a dash of marketing and significantly much more besides. It sounds super varied! Do you have a certain bit that you get pleasure from more than the other people?
I often have been and will constantly be a sales particular person at heart. Give me a solution I think in and put me in front of a buyer at a trade fair, or in the Eloise fitting suite with a customer, and I’m in my element!

And are there any parts you locate tedious or hard?
Budgets and forecasts – in this ever altering financial environment it is so difficult to predict and program. I’m a perfectionist and I hate receiving it incorrect , but getting it proper is harder and tougher every year!


Rosa Faia Vienna bra set. 32-42 band sizes and B-G cup sizes.

What’s your career and education background, and how did it aid you to land this part?

My education ended after my A-Levels. Spurred on by a headmaster who told me to use my long legs and other charms to uncover a good man as I would never ever amount to something, I was extremely determined to prove him incorrect. As I mentioned earlier I had originally planned to be a management accountant and had a spot at Aston University, but a opportunity chat with a girlfriend on a bus led me to apply for that Management trainee function in a department retailer. I progressed properly in this part and was profitable speedily, and it soon became apparent that I performed greater in a hands-on education and understanding part.

In addition there was yet another simple truth I was earning a wage and so I could acquire good clothes and go out clubbing, whilst my buddies at uni have been all ‘poor students’ scratching around for an odd night out! I decided that staying on and creating a career in retail was certainly the path for me. Any formal qualifications ended after Beatties, from there it was the university of life – I moved from Sales Rep to Region Manager, then to Important Account Manager, Field Sales Manager and National Sales Manager. I did come up against male discrimination along the way and refused to give into the ‘boys club’ or the want to use my charms, as per my headmaster’s advice. Hard function and doing a good job always paid off – I was sooner or later headhunted for my initial position as MD, for Aubade, by reputation soon after getting advised by a number of of my happy clients.

My interview with the co-owner of the organization was an knowledge I will by no means overlook. I sat down on her stand in Paris and she asked me a couple of very practical concerns, then at the finish of the formal interview she place a set of her lingerie in my hands and asked me to sell them to her. They have been stunning pieces – I took a moment just to really feel the, touch them and understand what they meant and represented, then I launched into my sales pitch! At the finish of the interview, I was quickly offered the job. She stated “Just before you opened your mouth to describe the merchandise I had already produced up my mind to provide you the job – simply because of the way your eyes lit up when you held the solution“. I guess if you have a actual passion for something then it usually shows via.


Anita Comfort Manhattan corselet. 34-50 band sizes and B-E cup sizes.

Final one – let’s imagine for a moment that you’re hiring for your own replacement. What expertise do you consider is desirable or needed to be the MD of a huge lingerie brand such as Anita, and what would you look out for on someone’s CV?

Oh my gosh, that would be so difficult! I had to do it as soon as prior to when I left Aubade and really in the finish I couldn’t, I left it to the HR division. I was as well emotionally attached! I’m not saying I’m irreplaceable, not for a moment, but I have only ever taken on the part of MD of organizations that I really believe in, that I recognize and that I am passionate about. To date they have also been household businesses exactly where the owners have actually welcomed me into the fold and treated me like component of their extended family members. As such I have a fierce loyalty to their brand and everything it represents – I treat the firm like it is my own. I be concerned about every single penny I invest and invest, I take care when I recruit to make sure I have the appropriate folks with the right outlook, I commit heart and soul and often want to accomplish growth, profit, increased brand awareness and an improved reputation for service.

I would be hunting for the very same type of qualities and the exact same commitment and passion, a person who wasn’t just searching for a wage and a good vehicle! I would want an individual who wanted to comprehend the company and its goods and would embrace all that is very good about it, but show a commitment and drive to improve the good and respectfully address any problems or failings.

Thanks so considerably for sharing some insight these days into what it is like managing a lingerie brand. Where can my readers find you on the internet?

Click right here to see the rest of the Careers in Lingerie interview series, and subscribe to the weblog if you want to make positive you don’t miss future instalments! If you’re seeking to acquire any Anita items, you can get them from Amazon or discover a stockist here.

What would you like to see me concentrate on next for this blog series? Is there a particular job in the lingerie market that you’re keen to understand far more about?Estelle

Esty Lingerie Blog

Careers in Lingerie: In-Home Lingerie Designer with Heather Mercer

Author: Estelle

Previously in the Careers in Lingerie series I’ve spoken to each an independent lingerie designer and a freelance 1. Right now, I’m speaking to Heather Mercer, lingerie designer for British brand Lovehoney, to locate out far more about what it is like designing underthings in-residence for somebody else’s brand. Heather has been with Lovehoney considering that they very first launched their eponymous lingerie line in 2014, obtaining prior worked on behalf of major high-street and luxury lingerie labels.

Right here, she discusses the style method, what a common day in the office includes, and her tips for other aspiring lingerie designers…


Hi Heather, thanks for taking the time out to join my Careers in Lingerie series and answer a handful of inquiries about your function as lingerie designer at Lovehoney! What drew you to the world of intimates?

No difficulty at all, thank you for your interest! I’ve constantly loved generating things, beginning out on a extremely old Singer sewing machine. Ahead of I studied Style and Textiles BA (Hons), I worked as a lingerie sample machinist and this introduced me to the fantastic planet of lingerie.

How well did the Style and Textiles course prepare you for a profession in lingerie style?

It was a superb course that allowed me to be as creative as feasible. I was introduced to lingerie pattern cutting and construction while I was functioning as a machinist and our main buyer was Marks and Spencer. So by the time I went to university, I utilised the information I currently had and fused it with new methods.


Would you advise the very same educational route to other folks hoping to get similar roles?

A lot of style jobs will count on candidates to have a degree level education in a relevant subject, so I would suggest carrying out a style degree. But I would say that obtaining as considerably industry encounter as achievable, such as intern perform for tiny brands and big firms, will permit you to see how the industry actually works and will inform which route you make a decision to take.

Let’s talk far more about your current role. What does a common day in the office involve for you?

As you can envision, a common day with Lovehoney is usually entertaining! There’s usually something going on. Not too long ago we’ve had the Lord and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Somerset here to present the owners Neal and Richard with the Queen’s Enterprise Award for International Trade.

For me, a day would commence with answering emails – we perform with suppliers all more than the planet so the time difference signifies a full inbox by the time I arrive. Then depending on exactly where we are with the season it could imply trend research and design, or sample fitting we match every thing in-residence with our own models so this keeps me busy. At the moment we’re pulling collectively tips for our Spring/Summer season Lookbook for 2017 and we’ve just had a exciting photo shoot for our brand new Seduce Me range – our largest range but.


Do you design and style every thing your self, or operate with a team or with other people for specific aspects of the style method?

I am the only lingerie designer at Lovehoney, but we work as a team to make positive we provide what our consumer wants. When we initial produced Lovehoney Lingerie 2 years ago we began with a enormous client survey that had thousands of responses, in order to get an thought of what our consumer genuinely wanted. I constantly study all the testimonials and this truly aids us to get it appropriate. Lovehoney as a company has over 150,000 testimonials from clients live on the website – the biggest database in the planet.

And what’s the procedure for designing a complete new collection every single season?

It all starts with looking at the trends, researching and sourcing new fabrics and looking at colours. We really listen to our buyers so this plays a massive component in informing the designs too. I sketch out all my tips and present this to the group, then we select the designs we want to go forward with.

I then generate the CADs, technical illustrations and technical specification packs to send to our manufacturers. They then create the notion samples and the fitting method starts.


What’s your favourite part of designing Lovehoney’s range?

Designing for Lovehoney usually has an element of enjoyable, it is what we do! We want to make individuals really feel sexy and good about themselves, and reading excellent testimonials tends to make it all worthwhile. I really like it when a new collection launches and it does effectively it is incredible to see that it is creating somebody, somewhere, pleased.

And are there any tedious or tough components that you’re not so keen on?

You can not imagine how many garments I’ve measured more than the past two years! All fitting samples need to have to be measured in detail, the same with the pre-production samples, and at the starting I measured the bulk quality control samples also. So this is almost certainly the most tedious portion, but also incredibly crucial as we take high quality and fit quite seriously.


You’ve previously created for both high-street and luxury labels, and now you’re working for Lovehoney which is 1 of the most budget-friendly lingerie brands about. How does the price tag limitation change issues, and do you feel far more restricted in what you can create?

I believe there are always challenges in each and every level of budget, even at high-end you really feel like you have to work to a specific price. Of course with Lovehoney getting at the decrease end of the pricing there are limitations, but we’ve worked tough to source the really best fabrics feasible, and I’m very proud of the level of high quality we offer at such a great price.

The small Lovehoney logo charms are a good touch and unexpected at this value point. Have been they your concept? 

The Lovehoney heart is such an iconic logo now it seemed obvious to have this on our lingerie! I developed this with a supplier I had worked with for years to make certain it was the ideal top quality. And it is been in silver, gold, black and soon to be in rose gold.

Thanks for answering my queries! Exactly where can my readers find the brand on-line? (check out the brand new Seduce Me variety from Lovehoney at and Instagram at

Don’t overlook to subscribe to the blog to catch all of the future instalments of the Careers in Lingerie series, where I’ll be taking a appear at what it’s like to work in many other roles inside the lingerie business!

Is this what you imagined working as a lingerie designer to be like? If you have any other questions about this job role that I didn’t consider to ask, leave them in the comments under.


Esty Lingerie Blog

Careers in Lingerie: Freelance Lingerie Designer with Laurie van Jonsson

Author: Estelle

I kicked off the Careers in Lingerie blog series by speaking to Ayten Roberts who has her personal brand, but there’s a lot more than one particular way to be a lingerie designer and they don’t all involve the endless admin that comes with running your own boutique. I’m also going to be speaking to a few lingerie designers who’ve taken a distinct route, starting these days with Laurie van Jonsson of How to Turn into a Lingerie Designer.

Like Ayten, Laurie has at 1 point run her personal brand, but today she’s a freelance designer generating ranges for multiple brands. Here she speaks about designing freelance vs. in-home, the myriad items that ‘designing’ actually entails, and how your first graduate role could shape your entire profession.

Estelle: Hi Laurie, thanks for joining the Careers in Lingerie series! Could you inform my readers a tiny bit about yourself and the brands you’ve developed lingerie for?

Laurie: Thanks Estelle, I’ve been designing lingerie for about sixteen years! Right after I graduated I worked for a UK manufacturer which hunting back now I was so fortunate to do, as there are not a lot of UK producers left, so I genuinely got to see the processes from commence to finish. In this company we made for the UK higher street – Topshop, River Island, Next, Tammy Girl, and Etam.

From then with the need to travel, I purchased a a single way ticket to Thailand and whilst understanding to dive got to know the owner of a swimwear shop, and ended up staying out there for a while and designing swimwear for her in European sizes. From there I headed to Belfast to live exactly where I established my own lingerie brand Vanjo which catered for tiny backs and huge boobs, which led me to writing lingerie books. But any person who has travelled knows that that require to maintain seeing new locations still stays with you, so I secured a job inside Melbourne Australia, gained sponsorship and worked for a company out there designing for the Australian high streets.

Right after ten years of living abroad I headed back to the UK to work on my business Vanjonsson Style full time, which involves freelancing for lingerie businesses, running my website How to Turn out to be a Lingerie Designer, writing about lingerie and generating patterns which you can purchase.

Betsy knicker pattern by van Jonsson

Betsy knicker sewing pattern by van Jonsson

E: You studied Contour Style at De Montfort University so I envision you knew from the start off that you wanted to style intimates. What drew you to lingerie over other regions of fashion style?

L: When I was leaving college I had secured a spot at Loughborough Art college, as I didn’t really know what direction I wanted to head in. I loved altering clothing (my poor wardrobe didn’t survive my enjoy of making use of scissors and re-sewing / re-hashing garments back together) and playing about with fabrics. I toyed with obtaining into style but at 18 years old, the industry intimidated me a tiny and I didn’t view myself as trendy. As for the clothing I attempted to make, I by no means had adequate floor space to reduce them out or ended up spending so a lot on fabric for the garment not to turn out appropriate.

The spring just before I left school I saw a programme about lingerie design and knew that was what I wanted to do. I loved the way that you could adjust the whole way you really feel just by garments that no-one else saw. I also liked the notion that it wasn’t just about designing pretty lingerie, it was about how it fitted as well. I loved the technical side of things.

I ended up writing a letter to De Montfort and found out you could do a late entry application and it would be on a points-based system to get in, not on a portfolio viewing or interview. This was a excellent point as when I told my art/sewing teacher I was changing my thoughts and going to De Montfort University, she told me it was a bad notion as my sewing was awful and I didn’t know something about the industry – she was proper but that didn’t cease me.

E: Would you advocate the identical course for other hopeful lingerie designers?

L: Yes. Despite the fact that I don’t believe it’s needed to do a degree, a degree gives you the space to try out new tips, the resources to use and the time to acquire information from individuals who have worked preceding in the industry. It also gives you a likelihood to develop up your portfolio.

What I also consider it does which is crucial, is give you a time structure for when to comprehensive things. If you don’t have the money to do a degree then you should program out your time to get items accomplished. How a lot of of us have dreamed about a new profession and realised that a couple of years have passed from getting the original notion of a career adjust? Despite the fact that I don’t think you usually want a degree, I do believe that some sort of course is beneficial, such as creating patterns, as it will save you time in the long run. Working out almost everything your self can be very time consuming and disheartening if you’re not acquiring it appropriate.

Costing - a big part of lingerie design. Stock image.

Costing – a large portion of lingerie style. Stock image.

E: I’m positive some men and women consider lingerie designers just sit about drawing fairly pictures of bras all day, but much more goes into it than that! For those asking yourself if lingerie design is the right profession path for them, what can they anticipate to be carrying out exactly once they land a job?

L: Drawing/preparing out next season’s variety including trend boards is such a little part of being a lingerie designer. Your day is spent juggling future seasons, getting them sampled up, receiving them fitted, altering the patterns, going for second fits and so forth. Costing the garment, going back and forth with the buyer and factory to settle on a expense, altering a style so it fits the cost…

Then you’re juggling with the orders that are to be delivered, making confident they are on time, and sorting out everything when it goes incorrect – deliveries late, incorrect fabrics, various fits from the 1st sample, wrong shade of elements to the 1 that was chosen. A purchaser altering their thoughts over a colour.

With everything moving so fast and in some cases with a 3-month turnaround, you do commit a long time on your timeline spread sheet making confident almost everything is where it requirements to be. You require to be in a position to develop very good relationships with the buyer you’re operating with and the factories. Some mornings I would get to perform and there would be 50+ emails waiting for me to be answered, so you need to be capable to make decisions swiftly and have a good organisation program.

E: Is there anything that’s surprised you, that you didn’t know would be portion of the function of a lingerie designer?

L: When I started out it was very effortless to move between positions, e.g. designer to grader to account manager, but today it seems rarer to be capable to do that. Also I located it close to impossible as an employee to switch in between different designs of getting a designer. For instance my roles have been mostly supplier-based – which implies the organization you operate is an independent business and offers lingerie to various shops/brands. You’re not operating for just 1 company, so if I’ve ever applied for a job opening of working for just one brand, the feedback I’ve received is that I’ve not the expertise of becoming committed to working for one brand.

Also getting been mainly designing for the higher-street has meant that applying for designer lingerie brands hasn’t been productive. Working although as a freelancer has worked opposite my CV shows that I can design in a multitude of designs so this has opened doors for various firms. So if you are planning to be a designer for a certain region of lingerie it’s ideal to attempt to secure that location near the commence of your profession as it’s tough, although not impossible, to change it later unless you freelance.


Stock image.

E: So having worked both in house and freelance, how do the two differ in terms of a common functioning day, regularity of perform/income, responsibilities and so forth.?

L: In-house you have the safety of a wage, but the higher you progress the much more you delegate the perform so you’re accountable for a lot a lot more, as you’re seeing every little thing from start off to finish season after season. Whereas freelance you may possibly be brought in for just a single section or 1 season. In-home your functioning hours are standard, you have your nights cost-free and your weekends, whereas freelance it is a lot more of a balancing act.

I like freelance as you appear to perform on lots of distinct items. My primary clientele employ me usually for the technical side they have the design already done and I perform out their spec sheets, create up their tech packs, draw up their designs, attend match sessions and so forth.

I have two small kids at the minute so freelance performs perfectly. Despite the fact that in property I earned far a lot more (peaking at £45,000+) freelance enables me to have flexibility to appear soon after each of them and still perform. I also have more creative satisfaction functioning freelance.

E: You mentioned you also had your personal lingerie brand, Vanjo, which existed from 2005 to 2009. Have you preferred running your personal brand or designing for other companies, and why?

L: Possessing my personal brand was incredible. I don’t feel I realised how well I was performing at the time, I was the initial independent brand to be stocked by Topshop that offered bras above a DD cup. But having worked in the business prior, at the the time I always thought I must be performing more. I was so use to the fast-paced style side of things, it was a bit of a shock to be the one undertaking almost everything and the time it took to do it all.

Having your own brand, though you are responsible for every thing, one thing I did miss was other folks. But when people wrote to me saying how considerably they loved my brand and how it fitted it did make it all worthwhile. I did understand a lot undertaking it all myself, and would absolutely do it once more.


Stock image.

E: Obviously, to grow to be a lingerie designer you require a particular quantity of knowledge about how bras are constructed. Aside from technical expertise even though, what do you think it requires to be a productive lingerie designer?

L: Flexibility. Occasionally you have a excellent design and style and you have to be ready to let it go and be altered or criticised. When you style some thing there are so many people who have their opinion – the buyer, the fitter, the sample machinist, the factory, even your boss who might not have any knowledge about designing! You want to choose the best advice and be ready to alter your design, or be prepared to state your case why what you made does not need altering. You also want to be always maintaining an eye on the market place and consistently be knowledgeable about what’s going on about you.

E: Thanks for taking the time to inform my readers about your job! Where can they locate you on the web?

Facebook – how to grow to be a lingerie designer

I’ve also started to do #transformationtuesday on Instagram which basically is your likelihood to ask me any question or guidance about the sector, designing, patterns, grading, starting your personal label and so forth.

Enjoyed reading this interview? Subscribe to the weblog right here to make sure you do not miss the rest of the Careers in Lingerie series, where I’ll be speaking to other types of lingerie designer as nicely as individuals working in all diverse roles of the industry.

Did you realise that lingerie design and style involved so a lot a lot more than actual designing? Have any other questions about life as a freelance lingerie designer? Leave a comment below!


Esty Lingerie Blog

Careers in Lingerie: Independent Designer with Ayten Roberts

Author: Estelle

Have you ever dreamed of operating in the lingerie industry? If so, then this new blog series is for you! I’m excited to announce Careers in Lingerie, which will be an ongoing series providing a behind-the-scenes appear at diverse jobs accessible to those with a passion for underthings.

Designing bras, modelling, styling, launching your own lingerie label… all of these factors can appear super glamorous, but the truth is that every single job has its negatives as properly as its positives and will appeal to various types of individuals. By way of speaking with men and women truly working in these roles, I hope to give you a little insight into what it’s like to do it for a living and which expertise, qualifications and knowledge can support you get there, so that you can choose which lingerie-sector profession is the proper a single for you.

Oh, and if you are just plain curious about what these jobs are genuinely like, this series is for you too!

I’m kicking the series off with 1 of my favourites: independent designer. Ayten Roberts is the designer behind Ayten Gasson, a luxury, British lingerie and nightwear brand that specialises in silk items. She runs her brand complete-time – Ayten Gasson has been around for over a decade now, and as of just a couple of months ago has a brick-and-mortar boutique in Brighton as nicely as the on-line shop. Since the launch, the lingerie is all now sewn on the shop floor so that nearby clients can see specifically how it’s made.


Ayten Gasson boutique in Brighton

Estelle: Hi Ayten! Welcome to the blog. Nowadays we’re shedding some light on the life of an independent designer for those who are taking into consideration pursuing their own lingerie brand. Let’s commence with the starting of your career – what did you study?

Ayten: I started off with a BTEC diploma in Style at London College of Fashion and then a 4 year BA (HONS) in Style Print at Central Saint Martins. I had always planned on a profession in textile style, but identified I preferred functioning with lace and appliquéing onto silk.

I worked in Knickerbox – a high street underwear shop which has considering that closed down – while studying, and that is where my passion for lingerie grew. It was frustrating trying to sell lingerie which was made from cheap polyester fabrics as an alternative of silk and cottons, so I researched into vintage lingerie, handmade laces, the old lace sector in Nottingham and the benefits of silk.

E: Would you suggest a comparable course for budding lingerie designer-makers? 

A: One of my assistants studied at De Montfort University and I am really impressed with the courses they have to supply. I would suggest any person who is interested in lingerie style appear into these courses.

Ayten Gasson, Emma ivory silk bed jacket - £97 (approx. $ 126 / 113€)

Ayten Gasson, Emma ivory silk bed jacket – £97 (approx. $ 126 / 113€)

E: Stroll us by way of what a standard day in your boutique-studio appears like. Simply because I’m certain it’s not just sewing pretty knickers all day long, as beautiful as that would be!

A: My day-to-day routine has changed drastically given that Might 2016, when I opened my initial boutique in Brighton. My studio is now inside the shop, so I perform around my clients. I am based in Brighton’s Seven Dials, which is quieter than the centre of town, so I am capable to do that.

I usually get in for 9.30am, providing me time to set up the computer systems and the till, and do a quick bit of cleaning ahead of I open at 10am. I then verify emails, and pack any web orders which have come in overnight. I then focus on sewing and restocking the shop. I now make all the lingerie which is on our website so I have to hold up to date with which pieces have sold, how a lot fabric I have obtainable from that variety and how lengthy it requires to make every piece.

I am able to concentrate on my buyers when they come into the shop and offer you a a single-on-a single service to assist them discover what they are seeking for. I also sell a choice of gifts, such as stationery, cosmetics and candles from other UK independent designers, so I have to make positive I restock and preserve an eye on my ideal sellers so I don’t run out.

Ayten Gasson boutique in Brighton

Ayten Gasson boutique in Brighton

E: What are your common functioning hours running Ayten Gasson? Do you stick to 9-five?

A: I open the shop at 10am and close at 6pm each and every day except for Sundays and Mondays. If I am extremely busy or have had a busy weekend I will open on a Monday too so I can use the studio space.

E: Is there anything that your perform entails that surprises men and women, or that most people wouldn’t know is component of the job?

A: There is so a lot admin! I have an accountant, but there is nevertheless so a lot to preserve on best of. I have several boxes about the till area filled with receipts, delivery notes and invoices. I am shocked by how numerous licences you need to have when you open a shop, and have a specific section below the till for official letters!


Ayten Gasson, Emily blue silk knickers – £34 (approx. $ 44 / 40€)

E: What do you enjoy most about being an independent lingerie designer?

A: I truly enjoy sewing and producing my lingerie. It is the very best component of my day, and one thing I missed when I worked with UK production homes and factories. Some folks are makers, some are more business-oriented, some are both. I definitely appreciate the creating much more than something else.

E: And what do you dislike?

A: The admin side of things and attempting to preserve track of all the bills coming in and the invoices going out, particularly now I have the internet site and the boutique. It feels like they are two fully distinct firms and I am still getting utilised to that, even although it has been 4 months.

Ayten Gasson's boutique in Brighton

Ayten Gasson’s boutique in Brighton

E: Qualifications aside, what do you feel it takes to become the owner of a profitable lingerie brand such as Ayten Gasson?

A: I have worked in retail given that I was 16 years old, so that is 20 years of customer service. I feel it’s important to make a customer feel like they are getting the best service and the interest they deserve, regardless of whether they are ordering on the web or in shop. I have had buyers e mail me to tell me they have been impressed with the service we give and I have currently received some great reviews on Google and I feel this is very important, as there is no point designing a excellent product or obtaining a flashy internet site if your buyer service is lacking.

E: So, the million dollar query, would you recommend to aspiring designers that they pursue a profession as an independent designer more than operating for a huge brand, and why or why not?

A: Try to get as a lot knowledge as possible. Each company functions in a diverse way, so attempt to explore all the different elements of functioning in lingerie and see which is greatest for you.

E: Thanks for becoming portion of my Careers in Lingerie series!

You can uncover Ayten Gasson’s on-line boutique right here, and follow the brand on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Her boutique is located at 32A Bath Street, Brighton, BN1 3TB, near to an antiques shop and a vintage interiors boutique.

If you have any other concerns for Ayten about what it’s like to be an independent lingerie designer, pop them in the comments section below. I’d also enjoy to know which other job roles you’d most like to see covered next!


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