'Sharing my front room with baskets full of leggings was the normality'
Blade and Rose was founded in 2010 during my maternity leave. With a then three month old, I found myself constantly pulling down my daughter's dresses. I searched for tights or leggings that had a concept on the nappy bottom but found nothing on the market. So I decided to embrace the beautiful bottom sticking out and design a fun range of leggings around this concept.
A major component of the development was to ensure that the quality of the fabric was durable, functional, would wash well and most importantly, that was soft and kind to children’s delicate skin. After extensive research, and a thorough evaluation of the children’s market, I designed and developed a range of leggings, each with their own unique and trendy design.
After three prototypes, I finally was happy with the end result, which is made using top quality yarn, and launched my product to high end independent children’s clothes stores and gift shops. The three initial designs sold out immediately - evidence that there are plenty of mothers out there in the same predicament as I was!
The initial range quickly sold out and now the our family business has stockists all over the world including Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, Japan, China, Taiwan, UAE, New Zealand and Australia & is now extensively rolling out in the USA.
So my maternity leave wasn’t how I had imagined it to be at all. Looking after Harvey Blade (2yrs) and Issey Rose (the inspiration to the brand name) plus launching a business was at times crazy. In fact, I think I must have been to take on such a project. But I knew and believed in my idea so sharing my front room with baskets full of leggings was the normality.
Now that we have grown and have the luxury to employ staff, I am able to delegate roles, so I can continue to research the market and look for new opportunities. I am still heavily involved in all areas, however I work mostly with our designer working with new concepts and ideas.
My husband has been involved with the business from day one, however he officially gave up his career as an outdoor instructor in 2013 to work full time with Blade & Rose. The emails from international shops wanting to stock our range were huge and I was unable to deal with the demand. Jonathan now deals with the international development and distribution which is now 40% of our market
So I guess my tip to any mum out there wanting to make the most of maternity leave and have a career change is... '100% go for it!'. If your idea is unique, there is a demand for it and you have 111% confidence...do it. I am so glad I made the move.