IN CONVERSATION WITH: HAYLEY, FROM BRACEWELL + LOUNGE
'Made in Australia, for beach or for bed'
Earlier this month we had the pleasure of meeting the lady behind fashion and lifestyle label, bracewell+lounge. We fell in love with Hayley and her minimal basics at the Deane & Co Media showcase (held right here at TLSE), so much so that we thought it was something you might fall in love with too. Below, Hayley talks us through her inspiration for the label, and the inevitable highs and lows that come with establishing a successful Australian made, small business.
"The first seeds of bracewell+lounge were planted when I was searching for pyjamas to take to hospital with me when having my kids. I wanted something that was comfortable enough for sleeping in, yet appropriate for the barrage of visitors who inevitably descend upon you.
This proved much more difficult than I anticipated ...
Ironically, it wasn't until my kids weren't babies anymore, that I had the time to expand on the idea and start to play with samples.
I live in a small beach town, and maybe as a result of this, the ethos behind the brand began to evolve and develop into the ultimate holiday/travel wardrobe - basics with a point of difference, that could take you from beach to bed in the form of easy, yet luxe, travel wear (or, in a less glam scenario, just allow you to answer the door to the postie without him copping an eyeful).
A really important and defining factor for me was quality. I wanted the pieces to be timeless, long lasting, wash well, and feel incredibly soft and comfortable to wear without being flimsy or revealing. At their most dressed down I wanted them to work as pyjamas, and dressed up be able to take you to the beach bar on holiday.
Ultimately, I guess I wanted to upgrade the clothes we 'live' in.
Perhaps my biggest obstacle was the search for an Australian manufacturer, and premium, organic cotton, jersey fabric.
Thankfully I eventually found both, although having everything manufactured in Australia created another obstacle in the form of a higher price point, and smaller profit margins.
Being Australian made is really important to me. It not only supports Australian industry and jobs, but gives me a greater sense of confidence in the quality and ethics behind production. The amazing pay off is that the women who do invest in our pieces, more often than not become repeat customers. I get emails from women telling me that they've just done school drop off in their pjs!
It's definitely not easy developing a brand. It can be expensive and relentlessly frustrating, especially when you are building it from scratch on your own, like I am. However, there's something addictive about receiving new samples back, and knowing that I would absolutely live in these pieces myself (and I do). I live for our location shoots. I've been lucky to work with some really inspiring and talented people, who have helped me develop my obsession with photography.
We're all happy to invest our hard earned cash in a special outfit for a big night out, and I wanted to create the same excitement about investing in the clothes we can't wait to get home and slip on to watch TV on the couch with a glass of wine! Let's face it - we will spend many more hours in our pjs and loungewear than in an evening gown.
Over the last few months we have started stocking a few retailers, and the response has been really overwhelming. A favourite stockist of ours has told us that one of their store managers wears her bracewell+lounge to work in store, which cracks me up! I love it.
When I'm not working, I can usually be found either on the beach at the end of my street with my kids, drinking wine, or with my camera attached to my face - my ultimate down time is all three at the same time.
Just quietly, I think we've found TLSE's new work staples.
To shop directly and view more beautiful bracewell+ product, visit Hayley's site here www.shopbracewell.com.
We know what we're saving our next pay check for......