Tell us a little bit more about yourself, and about Harris Rae
I am 31 and a mother of two children; Harrison 7 and Savannah Rae, 2 and happily married to my wonderful husband Ryan. We have been married for 7 years now. I have lived in Cheltenham my whole life and absolutely love it. I am lucky enough to live on a gorgeous farm but still close enough to Cheltenham town.
Harris Rae is exclusively a British Brand which was extremely important to me when setting up the business. All of our tweed is milled in British factories dating back over 150 years.
Where does the name Harris Rae come from?
The name is such a personal thing to me.
The name derivers after my 2 children. My 7 year old son Harrison and my 2 year old daughter Savannah Rae. So it only felt natural to name it after both of them. The dog featured in my logo is our beagle Coco. So very much a family affair!
What made you decide to launch a country lifestyle fashion brand?
I have grown up in the countryside with a love for riding and racing and always been a true shopaholic. My auntie owned a sewing and alteration shop in Cheltenham High Street so from a young age I learnt how to long stitch & cross stitch, from this I developed a passion for dress making and would always make myself and my friends dresses to wear to balls and events. Upon hitting 30 last year I knew it was now time to make my dream of designing and making a British clothing brand come true. Its now or or never! I never wanted to look back with any regret of not following my dream.
What did you do prior to launching Harris Rae?I previously worked in property, I have always had such a passion for interiors and design. After having my first child I soon realised that I wanted to be self employed so after retraining I opened Sanford Foot Clinic on Cheltenham High street. Now after 2 years of hard work I have a member of staff and we are open 6 days a week.
How long have you been preparing the launch for?After making the decision to start the brand I have been working tirelessly for 14 months. This has involved everything from designing, cutting and making all of my pieces.
What are you finding the hardest/most daunting about starting a new clothing brand?
To start with after working so long and hard for so long I felt a lot of pressure to launch as soon as I could, however I came to realise the only pressure was the pressure I gave myself. Being a working mother of two everything is so much harder and everything takes so much longer than I ever expected. So I decided to step back and launch the day I was ready and not put those pressures on myself. The hardest thing I have had to overcome is technology. From learning the basics of having to set up a website to familiarising myself with the ever growing world of social media. It was all new to me and something I am still learning on a daily basis.
Where do you work from, and who else is in your team?
I set up up the company and work from my kitchen table but am currently in the stages of building a studio on our family farm which is very exciting. I couldn’t of done any of this without my Mother & husband and the support of my friends.
I know it’s early days, but where do you see the brand heading in a few years?
Having the studio ready next year will allow me more space to hopefully employ seamstresses. I have lots of new designs on paper and I’m really enjoying creating them ready for Spring Summer next year. We are looking forward to attending all the shows and events and building our audiences.
Your initial collection is lovely – have you got any more pieces in the pipeline?
Yes so many plans! I am so excited to showcase more of my designs. I have always noticed a real lack of summer tweed so this something I have always felt passionate about delivering. Therefore I’m extremely excited about our Spring/Summer 19 collection.