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Under Cover with Squid London

Posted by:

30 June, 2011


Squid London Skyline

I have a Squid Umbrella and I'm quite delighted that I have an umbrella that changes colour in the rain.

An interview with Emma-Jayne Parkes and Viviane Jaeger, the co-founders of Squid London.

What are your fashion backgrounds?
We both studied at London College of Fashion, a 4year degree Product Design and Development Womenswear. Prior to Squid we both completed numerous internships in different fashion house, magazines and design studios. In our third year we did a whole year in industry - Viviane worked at Chloe in Paris and Emma-Jayne at Selina Blow in London.

What was the inspiration behind creating colour-changing umbrellas?

We were inspired by Jackson Pollock and his creations upon a white canvas - by adding energy and paint he created a spectacle of colour and fun. We both thought ‘How cool would it be to walk down the street, it starts to rain, and your clothes turned from a blank canvas to a whirl of colours!

Was it difficult to get the umbrellas produced?

Yes, we had to research and source very hard! But have since developed a very strong relationship with our manufacturer.

What have been the most challenging aspects of launching the business, and conversely what has been the biggest highlight so far?

There have been many of both! The challenging aspects are usually to do with decisions and maintaining a flowing cashflow. However it pushes us to challenge our problem solving, which is always a good thing. The highlights are seeing our Squidarellas walking down the street! The delight and buzz we get from that is indescribable!

Squid London Umbrellas

What awards have you won?
We always come runners up! But: Deutsche Bank Mentor, Shell Live Wire Award, Smarta100, People’s Choice Award Sponsored by Lloyds TSB at the NVPC NACUE Pitch.

What trade shows have you done?
Spirit of Christmas, Earl’s Court; Maison et Objet, Paris; and we are doing The Gift Show this October in Birmingham.

You are stocked globally from London to New York, Tokyo, Paris, Milan, Moscow, Stockholm... How have you secured such a wide distribution in such a short time?
The trick is the product – it is different and people love it! It also fits in nicely with most collections as it is an accessory and gift. We have been very pro-active and made contact with some stockists, and through being stocked in places like the Tate and MoMA NYC, people get to know us and the word spreads.

What’s the next move for developing the brand?
We are continuously developing the Squid brand to be a fun, creative, colourful and a little bit cheeky. We intend to develop our product range – our colour changing shower curtains arrived last week! And we currently have two other products in the prototype stages – very exciting!

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