Meet the sisters from Pretty Lavish who are more than “just pretty”
From ASOS Marketplace, to opening their own store last year Stephanie and Samantha are taking their slick fashion boutique to new highs. Whether you’re visiting online, or in store, their brand aesthetic is clear. Think pared back, clean cut and feminine. Their new store opening last year is no exception. It’s colour blocked rails are styled to perfection with every day, form flattering basics not unlike the likes of brands Cos and Acne but with a distinct stylish accessibility. Dedicating their presence in store and across their online platforms, being the girls behind and in front of the camera, Stephanie and Samantha are the heart and soul of Congratulations on the recent opening of your store! How has it been going?
Thank you so much! The first few months have been amazing. The launch was crazy it was so overwhelming to see so many people there supporting us and receiving such amazing feedback on the brand. I am not sure it has sunk in yet that we actually have our own store but we are so grateful for everyone’s support. It is so lovely being able to speak to customers face to face as it is difficult to get such raw feedback online!
Would you say that expanding to open the store was your biggest achievement in 2017?
Yes 100%… Opening the store was a massive step for us and definitely our biggest achievement in 2017. We needed space for our online orders so that was our main priority. The shop needed a lot of work when we took it over but we like a challenge so gave ourselves a month to do the refurb and turn it around for the opening at the end of October. We had such a strong vison for how we wanted the shop to look. Our biggest focus was to make sure it complimented our online store, it was tough at times but with the help of our friends and family all mucking in, (we honestly couldn’t have done it without them) we finally got there (even if we were putting lights up 5 minutes before the doors opened for the launch) and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.
It looks amazing! What are your goals for Pretty Lavish in 2018?
Our goals for 2018 are definitely to push our own designs. We have a big swimwear campaign launching in March which we are so excited about and the SS18 collection launching shortly after. Every year we sit down and set financial goals and then work out a plan on how to achieve them. Having a clear focus makes it easier to push ourselves and keep track of how the business is performing.
What’s been the most challenging thing about the transition from being sold solely online to now also running a physical store?
I think our biggest challenge would be managing the shop as a separate entity to the online business. It wasn’t until we opened the shop that we noticed our average customer shopping in store is slightly older than our average customer shopping online. So for us, understanding that our shop customer and online customer differ and making sure we are catering for what our customers want whilst ensuring we stay true to the brand across all platforms.
You’ve been going from strength to strength, were you ever nervous about breaking into an industry that is renowned for being competitive?
At first we set up Pretty Lavish as a hobby and I don’t really think we new what we were getting ourselves in to. The fashion industry can be so competitive and it is so important to establish strong branding from the outset. It is crucial in this industry that you find your point of difference to separate yourself from competitors.
What makes Pretty Lavish stand out from other small clothing brands?
Our brand is very visual and at the start we focused on working with bloggers that had strong styling and imagery. We also introduced lifestyle images to our social media and to the website to help support our clothing and I think this helped us connect with our customers on a different level.
Describe Pretty Lavish in three words.
Sophisticated, feminine, minimal
You launched Pretty Lavish in 2013. Why did you decide to go into business together?
We have always been ambitious in everything we do; school, sports, work etc. and having a business together is something we always dreamt of from a young age. Our family are very entrepreneurial, growing up seeing my family work hard to achieve amazing things gave us an insight as to what can be achieved if you set your mind to it and work hard. We get asked a lot what it is like work together and as we are so close this has never been an issue. We both have different strengths but the same vison so we work well as a team, and I couldn’t think of anyone else I would rather go in to business with.
How did you establish your job roles? Is there a particular skill set that each of you have that benefits your role?
We both share a love for fashion however Sammy is more creative and I (Steph) am more analytical. And so we just kind of fell into the roles that suited our skills better. At the start we were both doing everything but as the business grew bigger and gained more structure we tried to separate out the roles. Sammy now heads up all of the designs and development and I manage the accounts and delve into the data so we know what styles need to be repeated and what we need to be buying into based on past seasons sales.
How would you resolve a difference of opinion in terms of a design decision? For example, when you opened your store, how did you come to agree on the interior?
We both have strong opinions when it comes to the vision of the brand, but 9/10 we always agree on what we want. When we don’t, we normally get one of the girls in the office opinion.
Running any business has its ups and downs. What has been your biggest learning curve?
Our biggest learning curve would be not to focus on the things that go wrong but rather on the bigger picture and the end goal for Pretty Lavish. Before the launch of our first own designed collection in 2016 we were shocked to see our designs being sold on another brands website before we had even received the stock ourselves. This brand was a lot larger and more established than ourselves and they could afford to sell our deigns for the half the price we could. Being our very first collection that we had designed we were so upset and disheartend. This was a massive learning curve for us in terms of setting up partnerships correctly with the right agreements in place from the get go. We learnt that there is always going to be challenges in business but to keep focused on the end goal and to not let set backs get the better of you.
There’s a saying “never work with family” what has been the best and worst parts about working together?
Working with family has never been an issue for us. We are very lucky as we are such a close family and spending a lot of time together has never been an issue. The benefits for me for working with family is that they are there to support you through the ups and downs, they are reliable and you can always give and receive honest feedback and advice. We set the business up in our family home and so we were all working long hours but we all had the same mind-set with the same ambition which made a great support system. And plus working together with your best friends makes running a business so much more fun!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into business with their sibling?
We would say go for it. It is key to understand your relationship with each other. What are each others strengths and weaknesses, do you work well together outside of business? If you have the same vision and ambition to succeed then no doubt going in to business with your sibling will be a success!
We completely agree! Has your relationship with each other changed at all since working together?
No we wouldn’t say our relationship has changed since going in to business with each other, We’d would say we spend more time working together than socialising but its good fun and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Now for the fun bit. Bring on the sibling rivalry…
Most likely to steal the others clothes – Haha that would have to be me (Steph)! Sammy is often complaining of missing clothes from her wardrobe. Now that I have moved out they don’t make their way back that often!
Most likely to be caught taking a selfie – Neither of us are really selfie people (I am literally the worst selfie taker ever) but when I attempt it I have to have a selfie partner, my solo selfies are laughable!
Least likely to be a workout buddy – Tbf we are very similar and often work out together. We ran the London Marathon together and it was the best feeling completing it side by side. (How cute is that?!)
Most likely to have new ideas before completing a previous one – I would say this would be Sammy as she is the more creative one. We only had the Shop open for 1 month and Sammy was already like, “I’m ready to open the next”.
Most comfortable to have a difficult conversation – We both hate confrontation so we are probably just as bad as each other in this situation.
Least likely to function without coffee – 100% Sammy, well with tea that is. I don’t drink Tea or Coffee…
Who is the best dancer? – Sammy is a great dancer. I am more of a two stepper unless I’ve had a few drinks, then call me Beyoncé!
Most likely to be scrolling on Instagram – Instagram is a big part of our work so we could both be caught on Instagram however I am probably more of the scroller.
Most likely to have the creative vision – Sammy is definitely the more creative one out of us both however we both have the same vison and focus for the brand so we work well together.
Most likely to be in control of their finances – 100% me (Steph), a wise man once told me it is always smart to hold the money aka the power!
Least likely to forget the others birthday – That’s a tough one! I can’t say either of us have forgotten each others birthday yet however Sammy would probably be least likely to forget, I have the memory of a fish!
Who is the funniest? – I think Sammy is the funniest but Sammy says me, we can’t agree on this one, maybe neither of us are funny haha!
There you have it. These sisters as business partners are a perfect match, they’re pretty passionate, pretty focussed and pretty driven. So, watch this space…