We were thrilled to interview Seraphine founder and head designer Cecile Reinaud.
Parisian born Cecile began Seraphine in 2002 after pregnant friends often asked her to alter their clothes.
The brand – which is loved by mums worldwide, including celebs such as Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson and Kate Middleton – is now the ‘go-to’ for chic, beautifully designed pregnancy style.
SM: Hello, and thanks for taking the time to chat to us. Where do we fit in your schedule today…?
Cecile Reinaud: You are very welcome, this is actually the last job on my list today and the office is nice and quiet. It’s always busy at Seraphine, so I like to save something nice and easy for the end of the day.
SM: Seraphine has won so many prestigious awards, what has been your proudest moment?
Cecile Reinaud: This has been a really special year at Seraphine; we had a win at the PayPal Awards and were tipped as the “Ones to Watch” on Richard Branson’s Fast Track 100 list. But my proudest moment has to be winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2015. It feels wonderful to have all of our hard work recognised, and I was honoured to be invited to a reception at Buckingham Palace to meet The Queen!
SM: So many celebs favour Seraphine, is there someone whom you feel really defines the brand when they wear it?
Cecile Reinaud: I think one of the best things about our collection is that it caters for every mother’s style, and our wide range of celebrity clients really reflects that. We’ve dressed everyone from Hollywood A-listers like Kate Winslet and Jessica Alba, to rock stars like Gwen Stefani and even Royalty. And I’m always excited to see how these stylish women take our clothes and make them their own.
If I had to pick one, my choice would have to be The Duchess of Cambridge. She favoured our signature collection through both of her pregnancies, choosing our Fuchsia Knotted Dress for the first official photographs with Prince George, and opting for several of our classic maternity coats whilst expecting Princess Charlotte. The Duchess has a real talent for elegant pregnancy dressing, and I am thrilled that she was such a fan of Seraphine maternity clothes through both of her pregnancies.
SM: You’ve created some prolific charity campaigns to support Tommy’s and Baby2Baby, what made you decide to do these collaborations?
Cecile Reinaud: I’ve always felt very strongly about giving back, and as a maternity brand it felt right to support charities that work to help mothers and babies. I first collaborated with Tommy’s over 10 years ago when Seraphine was still new. It is such a fantastic cause, but I will admit that my finance manager at the time was tearing his hair out wondering if I’d gone completely mad to be giving away so much profit! This year I’m thrilled to be working with Tommy’s again on a brand new charity campaign that will be backed by many of our celebrity clientele. I’m very excited about tech new initiative and our goal is to raise £100k for a new research centre in the UK on miscarriages, the campaign will be unveiled the first week of October we are hoping it will be a huge viral success and raise lots of money for this important cause.
SM: What has been your biggest business challenge to date?
Cecile Reinaud: Working across 3 time zones – America where we are opening more stores and growing our stockists, Europe where our offices are, and Asia were we are sourcing some of the production. The email flows never stop day and night, so knowing when to switch off can be difficult!
SM: Where does your design inspiration come from?
Cecile Reinaud: Oh all over! I love keeping track of the latest catwalk trends, but I find street style just as fascinating; this year it has been wonderful having London Fashion Week based in Soho, right by the Seraphine offices! Sometimes inspiration even comes from the girls at the Seraphine office. They’re a stylish bunch and I’ll often stop one of them to take a picture of their outfit to store away for ideas later on.
SM: What has been your bestselling item (we are guessing the Jolene dress?) and which items are your personal favourites?
Cecile Reinaud: You guessed it! Our bestselling item is the Jolene Fuchsia Knot Front Maternity Dress worn by the Duchess of Cambridge in the first official photographs with Prince George. It sold out within hours after the pictures were released, and then generated a 10 week waiting list! 2 years on and the style is still consistently one of our top sellers. My personal favourites tech season are some of the gorgeous coats we have; they are luxuriously warm and soft with wool and cashmere blend and it great without a bump too. I’ll be wearing this one for my next trip to New York as it can get very cold there and for an elegant function I love to wear the coat that The Duchess of Cambridge wore to arrive in New York , I do feel like a VIP wearing it!
SM: When you created the ShoeTherapy range, were you surprised that there weren’t more ergonomically designed, fashionable shoes out there?
Cecile Reinaud: To be frank, I was horrified! I developed ShoeTherapy during my second pregnancy when I suffered terrible back pain. I was advised to try orthopaedic shoes, but there were zero fashionable options out there – even my grandmother wouldn’t have been seen dead in the selection available.
I started ShoeTherapy as a way of making sure that there were stylish footwear options out there for fashionable mums-to-be to pair with their Seraphine maternity clothes.
Shop Seraphine here and follow Cecile on Twitter @CecileReinaud