I've moved house recently and still have things lying around unpacked, so last night when my boyfriend tipped a glass of water over it inevitably went all over a folder of my paperwork! Luckily I managed to save everything and as I was peeling the sheets apart and laying them out to dry, I came across these two tiny little sketches - one of a satin and lace babydoll set and the other of a pair of anchor-motif pyjamas. Believe it or not, it was these two quick drawings that began Esty Lingerie.
I'd been living in Paris for a few months with plenty of time on my hands as well as chic lingerie boutiques everywhere I went and then one morning I just woke up and thought 'I'm going to open a lingerie store today'. I've always been pretty obsessed with bras and knickers and I was studying business management at the time so it seemed like the perfect way to get some hands-on experience at running a business whilst having some fun too. These two pieces were my initial ideas for the brand although I planned right from the start to make Esty Lingerie a mixture of my own and others' collections. I set up the website that very same day and set about producing the two designs that I'd sketched out.
When the site went live there were only ten items available to buy, including some corsets that I'd bought wholesale. That was late 2009 - it's now coming up to Esty Lingerie's second birthday and there are now close to 600 products in the e-store from 18 different brands, with plenty more brands and products due to launch before Christmas! The majority of what I sell at Esty Lingerie is made by independent designers from around the globe - this means that the lingerie and swimwear is ethically-produced, high-quality and very limited edition. I designed my first full collection for Spring/Summer earlier this year which was a big learning curve and plenty of fun! A second collection is being designed right now and I plan to bring out a new range every season from now on.
In my effort to help and promote independent designers, I've also run an international lingerie design competition (the winning design is going on sale in the next week or so!) plus taken on a handful of interns in areas such as lingerie design and lingerie marketing to give young people a great portfolio and CV to help them towards a future career in the lingerie industry. The current design intern Jennifer has been very heavily involved in creating Esty Lingerie's second collection, Violet, which will be launching just in time for our second birthday, along with a special limited-edition birthday collector's piece!
It's hard to believe that it all started out with just a couple of thirty-second sketches in a notepad...
(Visit Esty Lingerie at EstyLingerie.com)