Founder and director, Lily and Lionel, aged 28
Alice Stone is no stranger to the fashion accessories business – her parents own high street supplier Bandana. But it was an “innocent conversation” on a buying trip to India that sparked the idea for premium scarf brand Lily and Lionel, named after her maternal grandparents.
Having studied fashion design in Leeds, and then worked in PR – and with her family’s background – Stone had everything she needed for a web launch in 2009. “I knew I didn’t want to be a wholesaler, but I needed to understand how to turn the idea into a business,” she says. “We had to tackle problems such as, how people find you.”
From then it’s been “organic”, she says. “Matches was our first proper stockist. Wholesale wasn’t the plan at all, but that is how it has turned out and now we have product shining in some amazing retailers.” Liberty, Whistles and Harvey Nichols in the UK; Anthropology in the US. Impressive stuff for someone who didn’t want to wholesale.
The brand has achieved a lot of press coverage. “We have a great PR agency and have been getting very strong press. You couldn’t pay for that and it’s a great way of linking the website and the retailers.”
Plans include a relaunch of the website and a new collection in collaboration with the V&A museum. And Stone has a clear plan for the brand – more international stockists, a men’s accessories collection launching for autumn 12, and potentially a lower price point brand. But that, she says, “would be a different baby”.