One of the best parts of our job is meeting the amazing designers and creators behind the brands we sell in the shop. From the outset, Alienor Falconer of The Bright Company stood out as a woman to watch. Her award-winning British sleepwear brand has become the go-to for any self-respecting style blogger's offspring and more recently, she expanded the range (literally) to include mum styles. We caught up with her on the eve of her Spring/Summer 2017 collection launch to find out how she juggles business, family and a passion for the great outdoors...
Please introduce yourself and your brand…
Hello! I’m Alienor Falconer, creative director of The Bright Company, we make design led, organic and ethical nightwear products for modern families.
What inspired you to launch your brand…?
After the birth of my first child I returned to work but found the demands of a busy job for a major fashion house was too much to handle with our new family dynamic. I wanted to keep working though and needed the creative outlet that work had provided. I had found a huge amount of amazing kids clothes out on the market whilst on maternity leave but really struggled to find pj's that matched up to the same standards, they either fit really badly or were just awful designs. So I decided to take my wealth of experience of working in a fashion house and use that to start a nightwear brand.
How did you get started and can you give our readers a piece of advice for getting an idea off the ground?
It took me a year to get the brand to a launching point, I had no contacts in the nightwear world so it was a lot of cold calling, being rejected and stumbling blocks before we found a factory that would make our initial collection for us. What helped us is my background working in fashion before as a product developer so getting a product made is what I know inside out. I know some people do start businesses in an area they don’t know anything about but there are enough learning curves with being the boss that I wouldn’t recommend it really. The most successful indi brands I know are all run by people who have worked in fashion previously.
How do you juggle being a working mum and business owner?
It’s a big juggle, I won’t lie! I go to work in my studio 4 days a week, my mum helps out after school and I have Fridays with my daughter before she starts school in September. I work every week night after the kids are in bed, and quite often I have to do a little work whilst they play after school. It’s not ideal, and I hate working with the kids about as I find I’m distracted from both activities but I do end up emailing from my phone whilst I’m making tea.
What’s been the proudest moment for your business to date…?
Oh gosh, I think it would have to be launching into Liberty this past winter. They are my absolute favorite department store, I actually worked there as a fashion student and dreamed of selling my products to them so I was ecstatic when they approached us last year.
Looking to the future, what are your brand dreams and aspirations…?
We would love to keep working on some more collaborations and make more interiours products, I see TBC as a whole family brand, so watch this space for more of the adult’s range and home products.
And a bit more about what inspires you…
Everything! in the words of my ex boss Sir Paul Smith ‘inspiration is all around you, if you can’t see it look again’. Our shapes and products are inspired by ourselves and the products we get the most use out of and our children, how they wear things, how they like them to fit etc. I love art exhibitions, our SS17 collection is inspired by the work of Alexander Calder, who’s exhibition I saw at the Tate Modern last year.
Who’s your favourite Instagrammer and why?
How do you switch off…?
Getting outside with the kids, being Brighton based we like to walk on the south downs or go to the beach, can’t beat fresh air and exercise!
What product could you not live without as a parent?
Snacks? Not sure they count as a product! Essentials for us include decent outdoor gear so we can get out whatever the weather, and a water bottle, you never know when the kids will be thirsty!
We love holidays at Our Kid, can you recommend a brilliant family-friendly destination/hotel or experience?
We went on an incredible holiday last summer to Bermuda. A friend is based out there at the moment and lent us his house (which is how we could afford it!). The sea was insane, so warm, so clear, full of coral reefs, we could jump off the jetty at our house, and the beaches were incredible, so undeveloped, not a single café on them and tourists aren’t allowed cars so we took the busses everywhere. It was such an adventure with the kids, I only want to swim in warm seas from now on, not sure the English Chanel is quite cutting it for me!
Shop The Bright Company at Our Kid
Chorlton-based children's clothing and lifestyle brand Our Kid is delighted to announce plans to open a standalone store incorporating a cafe and communal family space in June 2016 at the site of the Cherry Orchard Cafe on Oswald Road.
Founded by 3 local mums, Tess, Kate and Laura, Our Kid started from humble beginnings (a wonky table and borrowed rail) at the Chorlton Bazaar in July 2013 as a pop-up business selling independent British design for children.
Over the years, the trio have immersed themselves in the local community, popping-up at a variety of popular Chorlton locations including the Beech Road Family Day, The Post Box Market and have been based at the Chorlton Art Market Hub since its launch in November 2014 in addition to growing a successful online e-commerce website.
With 6 children under the age of 5 between them, life is busy for Our Kid but demand for their unique mix of modern, contemporary and design-led collections has seen them amass a loyal following on a local and national level.
Our Kid will blend its retail offering of kids clothing, toys and gifts with a family-friendly menu featuring a range of local suppliers to create the ultimate convenience store for busy Chorlton families as Tess explains;
"We've spent 3 years growing our business during naps times and snatched moments but finally with our own store, we can make the leap into becoming employers. Of ourselves!," says Tess. "Our lovely shop has been designed with busy families in mind, based on our own experiences of day to day life with kids. It's not unusual to finish the school run and realise we haven't had a cup of tea or breakfast but still need to fit in a trip to the shops with a baby in tow. Multi-tasking is second nature to parents and we hope with our new store we can deliver a truly convenient, multi-concept experience that will become a much-loved part of their daily Chorlton routine."
Follow @ourkidsocial on their launch journey across all social media channels.