Jan 13, 2017 | By Ellen Kirkhope
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We are continually inspired by start-ups and the incredible products they create, and one of our favourites right now is Superlove. To find out more about their process, we met up with founders Becky Sayer and Suse Fletcher…
How did Superlove come about?
We (Suse and Becky) met at a baby singing group in 2012 when our daughters were six months old. We had both recently moved to the Lakes to give our daughters a rural childhood and be near family. Suse has a background working in merino product development at the Woolmark Company and absolutely swears by it. Merino for her baby was the first thing she looked for upon landing in the UK in winter and was surprised to find there were no performance-grade merino base layers on the market for babies. This discovery of a gap in the market co-incided with meeting Becky whose background in PR and garment design was a stroke of fate. We decided to create a clothing label for little ones centred around merino that is perfectly calibrated for the British climate and nine months – and a lot of coffee – later we launched our website. We’ve not looked back and are growing quickly as word of our special fabric spreads.
What is the most important thing for you when designing baby products?
We design for comfort and freedom of movement. We work closely with groups of mums to carefully consider body shapes and what is happening through each age and stage. For instance we know little ones don’t enjoy labels in necklines and heat transfer labelling has a track record of causing irritation, yet busy parents need visual cues on size, washing instructions (and simply which way faces front), so we gently hand print key info into our garments using gentle OKEO-TEX inks.
We also try to include features that make life better and easier both for parents and our little ones. Foldover mitts prevent scratching birth, then become integrated mittens for toddlers, later on double-cuffs and thumb holes feature in the kids range. Foot cosies on our newborn styles offer versatility for both freedom of movement and temperature regulation.
For the parents, we design for practicality (everything we make is fully machine washable) and ease of dressing/changing. We are always looking for ways to make our designs as useable as possible, so we have something we call “the 3am test”. It involves testing prototype designs on some Dads in a dark room, we spin them around to emulate 3am disorientation then get them to dress and undress a lifesize baby mannequin. An insightful (and hilarious) process and this is how we learn that even minor things like the way poppers work, can make a world of difference to a sleep deprived parent.
What is inspiring you right now?
From a business point of view, our daughters were our original inspiration and they really continue to shape how we run the business, especially our commitment to operating ethically on absolutely every level and making sure we stay British made. Creatively, the beautiful Lake District surroundings always inspire us, we are lucky to live and work in one of the most beautiful corners of the country (if not the world!) so our range of prints are often inspired by nature and the elements.
Our latest print is called Up & Away and was inspired by the sky scene unfolding outside our design studio on a hazy summer’s evening a few months ago, a hot air balloon was rising, there was a vintage plane flying by, kids were in the park with kites and everything seemed warm, lush and full of potential, so what better for a sleeping bag design.
What happens behind the scenes?
There are just two of us full time, plus Will, our talented graphic designer, so our studio is a very busy little place filled with mad amounts of multi-tasking. We do make life extra hard for ourselves by being super fussy about everything too so, for example, we’d never just go and order a load of those bog standard garment bags – instead we decide we will go off and spend hours scouring the world to source compostable plastics made from potatoes. This kind of thing is typical of the Superlove culture and is something we are proud of.
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