Tiffany Rose started as an idea when my eldest sister was pregnant and couldn’t find anything suitably gorgeous to wear to her best friend’s wedding. I tried to help her by searching online, but this search ended up becoming my own business research as I realised that there was a huge gap in the market for really elegant, flattering and beautiful maternity dresses designed for special occasions.
Tell us about your favourite items from the current Autumn/Winter collection
I have a passion for beautiful fabrics and sumptuous shades and so my absolute favourites from our most recent collection have to be:
Chloe Dress in Dragonfly. This is a shade that we created in our studio especially for the Chloe. We wanted to create a specific and unique shade of lace which oozed luxury but would also lend itself perfectly to our very classic Chloe style. It seemed to work, as just before Christmas we spotted Princess Sofia of Sweden attending a formal occasion wearing this very dress. Many national papers and fashion magazines from Sweden, UK and Germany covered this story with beautiful pictures of the Princess.
Maya Gown in Dusky Floral. This is a heavenly print that is soft, feminine and dreamy. Made from smooth, floating chiffon with enough weight to hang beautifully around your curves. I love the silhouette which is very wearable as well as comfortable – this is a show-stopper.
Jasmine Gown Long. This gown is so beautiful the photos don’t even do it justice. The fabric is incredibly unique and has so many colours woven through including tiny silver sequins that catch your eye as you move. It really is a head-turner and the deep, rich colours exude a sense of opulence within a midnight garden.
What can we expect from the Spring/Summer 2016 collection
I’m very excited about SS16 – we are launching many new styles and are introducing some really gorgeous floral and tropical prints that will make you wish you were on holiday already. Our prints are very popular during the summer season – you can’t help but feel wonderful wearing them, particularly in our flattering and super-comfy jersey styles. We are introducing more nursing styles, especially designed for discreet feeding during the wedding season. Maternity brides are very well looked after too – as we will be launching some stunning new silk and lace gowns to add to our existing, very popular range.
Where do you take inspiration from for your designs?
I am very much inspired by fabrics. I started my career as an assistant to interior designer, Nina Campbell, and this is when I realised my love for beautiful fabrics. We work with wonderful fabric mills both in the UK and Europe and they are very keen to show us all of their new designs, which in itself is incredibly inspiring. As we design for our pregnant customers we keep practicality and comfort at the forefront of our minds and so every silhouette we create ensures a beautifully flattering fit as well as being wearable for all stages of pregnancy.
You manufacture your clothing in Britain, is that important to you?
It is hugely important to us that we manufacture all of our designs in the UK. We work with a wonderful team of manufacturers who have become more like partners to us – we really value these relationships.
We have always set out to keep our manufacturing in the UK as we not only want to remain loyal to the manufacturers who have helped us get to where we are now, but we are passionate about restoring what was once a thriving industry in Britain. My grandfather ran a family business (that was passed down to him through 3 family generations) making British clothing which they exported worldwide. Their premises were based in East London – where it took up almost the entire street (called Alie Street). Alie Street is the name I have given to my new womenswear label which specialises in occasion wear (but this time for women who aren’t pregnant!).
What style advice would you give to expectant mums when it comes to dressing their bump?
I would say stay loyal to your sense of style – there is a huge amount of choice out there now – there is absolutely no need to compromise.
Empire lines are very figure flattering and beautiful fabrics with stretch are very wearable and comfortable. Choose a few items that you love which are good quality, so you can get plenty of wear out of them. Make the most of gorgeous colours and choose shades that flatter your skin tone. Too many pregnant women opt for black when they’re pregnant thinking that it’s the most flattering but this isn’t always the case. Many customers have told us that that have felt really dreadful during some parts of their pregnancy and that wearing one of our dresses has really helped lift their mood – sounds like great advice to me!
What are the 3 most essential items of clothing every pregnant woman needs?
Well, you are asking someone who designs dresses! I think a dress is the most comfortable thing to wear when you’re pregnant.
- An empire line, flowing jersey day dress made from a very high quality breathable jersey so that you can wash it a trillion times and it comes out looking new. Bare legs in summer and tights in winter. With the right cut and fit you will feel fantastic every time you put it on. Our Alessandra dress is a perfect example of this.
- A maternity/nursing dress so that you can wear your favourite, trusted dress after the baby is born and be assured of comfort and enjoy the ability to breastfeed easily and discreetly. Our Naomi dress is hugely popular with our customers for this reason.
- A smart and fitted, empire line stretch dress (whether jersey or stretch lace) that hugs your growing curves beautifully, in a shade that makes you glow, and a finish that says ‘confident’. This staple is your ‘occasion’ savior when you want to rely on something that does the job every time. Whether a work meeting, evening drinks, lunch with the girls or a dinner party, you will be thankful to have this essential. Our colour block dress, Chloe Lace dress and Rosa dress are some of my favourites.
What have been the biggest challenges of running your own business?
There have been different challenges along the way and I’m sure there will be more! The first biggest challenge was running the business single-handedly and then keeping it going whilst I had my two children who are only 17 months apart! The next challenge was a few years later when I had a small team to help me, but we were seeing rapid growth, and we needed to adjust the business to fit where we were going – employ and train up additional team members, move offices and source a larger warehouse – all very quickly! I am pleased to say we are now very settled in our Surrey premises, where we have our offices, studio and warehouse all under one roof.
Another on-going challenge I faced during the early years of the business was finding the best British manufacturers who understood our objectives and had the experience and skills to deliver as well as the ability to scale up their output in line with our customer orders. This work has paid off as we now have 5 brilliant manufacturers who have become part of our team and we wouldn’t be without them.
What do you find the most rewarding about running your own business?
So many things! I love that we are ‘creating’ something. I love that we make in Britain, this makes us very proud. I love the great relationships we have built. I love to see the passion and commitment from my team. I love that we have made so many people happy wearing our designs, whether on their wedding day, or attending a wedding. It’s a very exciting business to be in and nothing stays the same either. We are constantly adapting and changing to make the most of new opportunities and that’s the value of having a small team where we can make things happen quickly.
Where do you see the business in 5 years time?
Gosh, that seems a long way away although I’m sure it will creep up fast! I see Tiffany Rose expanding into new territories across the world. We will have more local language versions of our website in several new countries. We will be exporting to many more maternity and bridal boutiques across the world. We will continue our commitment and passion to manufacture in the UK – and to do our bit in reviving British manufacturing and inevitably help the British economy.
How do you balance running a business and being a mum?
It wasn’t easy at the beginning. The staff who have been with me the longest will probably agree that I became a crazy woman sometimes trying to juggle meetings and deadlines with school runs and child care. However, now that the kids are a little older and we have built a very loyal and supportive team at Tiffany Rose, I am thrilled to have a very good work/life balance and feel very lucky.
What would your advice be to another mum thinking about setting up their own business?
I do think that every person and every situation is different. You have to be completely passionate about your idea and really believe it will work. This will help you at times when you doubt yourself, and for those days when everything seems to go wrong!
If, like me, you don’t have lots of cash to put into the business (I started Tiffany Rose with just £600) then built it slowly. Don’t try to make it perfect at the outset, start by proving the concept. Learn from it and continue to refine and improve. At that stage you may want to invest cash but it really is worth running it on a low budget if you possibly can so that you can keep testing the concept. Never underestimate how much you will learn and how much wasted money you will save.
You can view the full Tiffany Rose collection at www.tiffanyrose.com