We’re recent newcomers to the childrenswear craze that is Lilly and Sid. From their concession in Harvey Nicks to their plethora of product and design awards (vote for them also in our #MMHA 2015) the brand has grown through word of mouth and happy customers. Not to mention adorably dressed children!
We caught up with Emma and Imran from Lilly and Sid for our Boutique Focus interview…
SM: How did Lilly and Sid come about?
Emma & Imran: We had worked as Head of Buying and Design for leading retailers for many years, always with the dream of running our own business together at the back of our minds. After having our daughter, we found it really difficult to find trend led clothing with a fun twist which was also affordable. 3 years later we had our son and found it even more difficult to dress him so we decided to set up our own brand named after our first two children- Lilly + Sid.
SM: Where do you get your inspiration for collections?
Emma & Imran: Our design team are always looking for new ideas. We have a weekly design meeting where we gather all the new things we have seen during the week and add these to our trend boards to include in collections. As a British brand we are very lucky to have access to amazing archives and exhibitions and are particularly fond of the V+A. Most of our collections have been inspired by our heritage and have included British Artists, Pantomime, Punch and Judy and Fairytales. We are also greatly inspired by children and look at life through their eyes when designing, making sure we don’t take ourselves too seriously and that our collections are fun.
SM: What is your best-selling item?
Emma & Imran: We change our collection each season, with very few carry over lines. Our customers like newness and to buy into the new trends. Our best selling items usually have a unique twist, like our sunsafe swimsuits each with a L+S character or our boys sweatshirts with an integral mask to the hood. We design all our own prints and fabrics in-house too and as each one runs for one season only, they are limited edition and often our best sellers. Our customers know that we don’t repeat stock in-season so our best sellers can sell out within the first few weeks launch.
SM: Which items do your own children like best?
Emma & Imran: Our two eldest are now 12 and 9 so don’t fit into our collection, but our 12 year old daughter does still cosy up to one of our knitted blankets she has had for years. Our 9 year old is into the Liverpool Football Kit- eek! Our youngest child, Sami, is our chief muse and test runs many of our clothes- favourites being the colour green and comfy joggers.
SM: What have been the biggest challenges of running the business?
Emma & Imran: The biggest challenges we face are managing time and money. When you run your own business, especially a husband and wife team, it is very hard to take time out and switch off. We also like to work around the children , and our initial business strategy included ‘ never miss a sports day’ and we have kept to this- the consequence often being midnight finishes once the kids are in bed, bathed and homework done ! We are a self-funded brand as we want to keep 100% control of our business and this holds its own challenges at every stage.
SM: And your proudest moment…?
Emma & Imran: there have been a fair few- from our launch range being bought by our hitlist of ideal stockists including Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, to seeing someone wearing Lilly+ Sid for the first time to more recently the amazing support we have had for our charity fundraising. We are very lucky to have won lots of awards, our most treasured ones being those voted by our customers, who are without doubt the most important part of our journey.
SM: What’s next for L&S?
Emma & Imran: we’ve got lots of exciting things in the pipeline and see lots of growth opportunities over the next few years, but ultimately we will continue to enjoy growing our boutique brand.
Editor’s pick: how lovely and cheerful is this knitted blanket? And it is machine washable too…