Tell us about your family:
Married to John and live in Buckinghamshire with two children aged four and two and two unruly dogs.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
Before having the kids I was head of the international development team for the Mothers’ Union an International Christian charity with over 3 million members world wide. I managed 7 UK based development staff and over 300 local workers all over the world, mainly in Sub Saharan Africa. We ran a variety of projects from International Aid through to Literacy and Development programmes working with the poorest of the poor. It wasn’t a job I could do with a family so after having my son I was a stay at home Mum.
After four years I needed to get my teeth into something new, something other than being a Mum, something just for me. Several friends suggested teacher training, working in the library, maybe even doing another degree. But I’ve always had a crazy side and decided to do something a bit different. Making the transition from Mum to boutique owner has been interesting, but worth it!
Saumarez stocks lingerie made from fair trade cotton, organic cotton, organic silk and bamboo. We also have lingerie made from recycled fabric, vintage fabric, upcycled fabric and innovative eco fabric such as viscose made from recycled pine trees clippings. There are also designers committed to using British manufacturing and European and British lace suppliers (including the manufacturer who provided lace for Princess Diana’s wedding dress). There’s something for everybody really. The site is about being aware that it does matter how your clothes are made and that you can make a difference as a consumer.
When did you launch?
3rd September 2010
How did you get started?
I spent 9 months researching and testing products from my chosen designers. Then with the help of a great web designer I started to look at designing my site.
What research did you do before launching?
I tested clothing from each of my designers. Quality and durability was very important.
I spent a great deal of time buying the samples froma variety of existing online retailers to see how they operated etc….
How have you funded the business?
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
I held a lovely launch party and invited people to look and feel products- word of mouth is very important. I also printed postcards and placed them in boutiques locally. Facebook has also been helpful.
What has worked well about your business?
It’s given me a challenge. I love knickers and I really care about the bigger picture. Mixing the two has been a dream really.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
Putting down my blackberry. Hiding the computer and switching off.
How do you fit in work with the family?
I try not to work when the kids are around and am working on having a night off!
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?