Chit Chat Friday with Born at Dawn

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Shopping. Some of us love it, some of us hate it. And with our busy lives always in toll, we don't always have the time to just run out and pick out a dress or top when we need it. Lucy owner and curator of Born at Dawn understands this completely. Her goal is to bring you the best curated selection of designers right to your home. 

I met Lucy awhile back at a Mothers Meeting event I believe. I had heard about her and what she was starting up and I thought, you clever clever woman you. I myself has shopped from Born at Dawn several times and each piece I have bought from Lucy has been worn time and time again and they are some of my best pieces. 

I went over to her house for a cuppa and we talked fashion, business and style. 

Read on for more:

Photos by Katrina Campbell


1.    TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

I’m 34 and live in Walthamstow, London with my husband Adam and my two daughters who are 2 and 5. Originally from the North, I grew up in Warrington, Cheshire but I left when I was 18 to study Business Studies at Sheffield University. 

I decided to move to London after I finished but I was unsure of exactly what I wanted to do. I did know, however, that I enjoyed fashion retail generally, as I’d had a part-time job in a boutique from the age of 16. So I decided to apply for a retail management graduate scheme where I got an overview of all the elements it takes to run a store.

I then managed at the flagship GAP store on Oxford Street, then moved over to Harrods where I spent a number of years driving the sales and strategy of their womenswear business. Following the birth of my second daughter, I decided to branch out by myself and launch BORN AT DAWN.

2.    WHAT SPARKED THE IDEA FOR BORN AT DAWN?

Other women’s and my own frustrations with shopping. As we get a little older and our life gets more demanding, we have a lot less time to shop and think about what we wear but it’s frustrating as we still want to look good!

If you don’t want to wear high street all the time, it’s hard to have the time to find pieces that suit your busy life from more niche, discovery brands. The pieces are out there, but who has time to browse 15832 options for dresses on mass-market websites like ASOS for instance, who are trying to cater for every level of quality, price, and type of customer.

I wanted to bring a website with focus, catering for women busy juggling it all. Women who want something a little different, who don’t want to buy too much throwaway fashion but can’t afford to buy designer all the time. My mission was to bring beautiful pieces, but at a price they can justify, due to their versatility and timelessness. Clothes with a good cost per wear which in turn helps us do our bit for the environment.

The BORN AT DAWN “Night In” home shopping parties were devised for women that I spoke to who still prefer to touch and feel the product before buying, but do not have time to browse the shops. We are bringing the collection out to them and offering a convenient and social way to shop, all in the luxury of their own home. 

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3.    WHAT IS BORN AT DAWN’S ETHOS?

It’s all about confidence. Being true to yourself and wearing pieces you love and feel comfortable in… clothes that suit your life. 

4.    WHERE DO YOU GAIN INSPIRATION FROM WHEN LOOKING FOR NEW COLLECTIONS AND PUTTING TOGETHER YOUR BUYS FOR THE SEASON?

I do a lot of research online and travel around Europe a lot, not only viewing all the brands at trade shows but visiting independent stores and boutiques abroad.

I also get lots of inspiration from street style and observing what other other women are wearing and looking amazing in just going about their everyday life. It’s important to me all the pieces on the site are easy-to-wear and comfortable.

5.    DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS/WHAT TRENDS ARE YOU LOVING FOR SS18?

I don’t think many women who lead busy lives have time to properly follow trends directly from the catwalk. We simply wear what we love, what we think suits us and what we feel comfortable in. Of course, we all naturally dip into trends, as that is often what is leading many designers and brands, but I don’t have it as the main consideration when buying.

I’m mostly thinking of my customer and what she tells me she likes, selecting pieces that are beautiful, but also versatile and transitional. I want her to be able to wear them many times in the future and feel great, not just for that one season.

6.    WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BRANDS AT THE MOMENT?

Outside of the BORN AT DAWN collection, I love Ganni, Monki and Weekday Stores and for shoes- Isabel Marant, Bimba y Lola and Saint Laurent. I’m often in trainers though when I’m with the kids.

7.    WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO TO WITH YOUR KIDS/YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE JUST YOU?

I LOVE going to the theatre. I haven’t been as much since having children but I’m starting to go a little more again now. I recently took my eldest daughter to see Matilda and she loved it. It’s nice that it’s something we can start to do together now.

When I’ve got some rare free time to myself, I do enjoy being at home. Just sorting things out, watching a TV programme my husband would never want to watch and having a bath and chilling out. 

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8.    WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN? WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO US?

I know it’s a bit cringe, but I do love a good old motivational quote. My mantra throughout my career has simply been to “Work hard and be nice to people” which is really important to succeed working in big companies with long hours and office politics. When I’m completely overwhelmed (quite often?!) I always remind myself of the Winston Churchill quote “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. Finally, when something goes a little wrong, I ask myself “Will this matter in a year or 5 years’ time?”. It helps as most of the time it completely won’t!

9.     IF YOU WEREN’T BUSY RUNNING BORN AT DAWN, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SECOND DREAM JOB?

Hmmm not sure really. For a while growing up, I wanted to be an actress and loved school plays and amateur dramatics but my teenage angst/nerves got the better of me and I got more self-conscious and nervous as I got older.

I always try to live in the moment and have no regrets. I don’t think I have any secret yearnings for any other dream jobs. I feel at home where I am- like I’m in my place. I have always loved the buzz of fashion retail.

10.     WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE FASHION ICON?

I really love the Sixties era so Edie Sedgwick, Francoise Hardy and Jane Birkin are all up there as my favourites. I love how you can look at photos of them now 50 years later and their style still remains timeless. 

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11.     WE LOVE MUSIC AT KELLY EKARDT, WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO AT THE MOMENT?

I like all sorts really and love to mix it up depending what mood I’m in. Sadly, a lot of the time these days, it seems to be whatever keeps the kids happy... so lots of Disney, musicals and commercial pop music. Argh!

When I’m by myself, I tend to listen to podcasts a lot. I love expanding my mind to different views and ideas they really help me to do that. My favourites are Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete, Girlboss radio and Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations and I love listening to various business podcasts too.

12.     ANYTHING YOU ARE WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT? ANY EXCITING NEWS?

I have quite a lot of ideas but I have learnt that I can’t do everything all at once and I need to be more patient.

Currently, I am still looking to expand the BORN AT DAWN “Night In” service. So I am recruiting Fashion Stylists in the North and East London area to run their own businesses holding “Night In” shopping parties.

My house is now pretty much at capacity as I run the business from my spare rooms so the possibility of a showroom or retail space is something I am exploring for this year or the year after too. So if any of you know of any great spaces- do let me know!

For now, it’s all about buying AW18 and the launch of our SS18 collections. We have a few new brands arriving for this season which I am really looking forward to receiving. I’m also starting to plan some activities for our 1st birthday on the 24th Feb- I can’t believe how quickly the past year has gone. 

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