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Lily And Lionel’s Alice Stone on launching a designer label online

Alice, tell us how Lily and Lionel started. Where did the inspiration come from?
The Brand name originated from my late grandparents who were also passionate about fashion and the industry.

Lily worked in secret as a seamstress, spending evenings sewing elaborate creations for her family, whilst Lionel worked in production for British fashion high street retailers.
The company is an eclectic mix of old and new as my love of travelling and scouring the globe for inspiration is also the driving force behind Lily and Lionel.

Your parents have grown a successful fashion business which supplies top high street stores. Do you feel this puts more pressure on you to succeed?
There is part of me which realises my family have set a great president in the industry and that invariably comes with subtle pressure to succeed.

At the same time I feel that watching their business grow over the years makes you work out just exactly what it is that sets you apart from others and I hope to bring this to the table with

You recently showcased Lily and Lionel at the Spirit of Christmas Fair at Olympia. Do you think it’s important for online only brands to get their name out through offline channels such as exhibitions?
When starting a website I think it’s very important to get as much exposure as possible, especially with the sort of pieces in Lily and Lionel’s collection.

Our items are made from luxurious fabrics and there is a lot of attention to detail. These are the sort of things you want to touch and feel.

To be able to have our very own shop for the week was a real treat. We received some incredibly encouraging and positive feedback and the response was amazing. I think it’s a fantastic way to introduce yourself as both a designer and an online company.

What treasures can we expect from Lily and Lionel’s Spring/Summer 09 collection?
It’s an exciting season as we are branching out into new areas of accessories and there will be a more comprehensive men’s collection which will include more leather accessories.

We are also introducing our first organic and fair-trade collection which looks gorgeous as we haven’t compromised on the style and design elements of the items.

And finally, what piece of advice would you give to someone starting an e-commerce fashion business?
The one thing I have learnt is patience! It takes a lot of trial and error to get exactly what you want both design wise and technically. There are often hiccups and delays which you just have to bear with in order to get what you set out to achieve.

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