Tiffany London’s brand Tiffany Rose creates made-in-Britain maternitywear for women who want comfort and style
Tiffany april 2018 (3)
Seeking to create stylish clothes for pregnant women, Tiffany London began her brand, Tiffany Rose, in 2003. The brand has been worn by royalty in the UK and Sweden, and in April, picked up the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the second time. It sells on its own website and in boutiques worldwide, and dresses retail from around £100 to around £250. London spoke to Drapers spoke to about making in Britain, export growth, and meeting the Queen.
What’s your background, how did you become interested in fashion?
I started my career with interior designers – Colefax & Fowler, then moved to Nina Campbell. This is where I discovered my love of fabrics, which for me is fashion. For the next 10 years I got involved in marketing, PR and event management, and worked as a personal assistant for business owners and CEOs. Having experience across these different sectors helped me understand and appreciate what goes in to making a successful business.
Can you tell us a little bit about the history of the brand?
I started Tiffany Rose in 2003 after trying to help my pregnant sister find a beautiful dress to wear to her best friend’s wedding. There was so little choice at that time and I felt confident there must be thousands of other stylish pregnant women in the same situation as my sister. The business idea started as a hobby, which I ran outside the hours of my marketing manager role for a London law firm.
I sought the help of freelance fashion designers and taught myself graphic design as well as basic web coding. With access to just £600 on a credit card, I needed to bootstrap every part of the business and basically do as much of it as possible myself. My boyfriend – now husband – gave up his evenings to help.
Today we have the support of 18 amazing permanent team members, we sell to more than 80 countries worldwide, have won two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, and are proud to have dressed high-profile celebrities, such as all three Princesses of Sweden during their pregnancies.
How would you describe the ethos of the brand?
We design dresses to ensure women feel elegant, comfortable, confident and supremely stylish. We are passionate about making in Britain, and we have a fantastic relationship with all of our manufacturing partners to ensure we live up to our brand aesthetic of convenience, service, quality, speed and genuine helpfulness.
Why did you decide to launch non-maternity ready-to-wear line Alie Street?
Over many years we received a growing number of enquiries from customers discovering Tiffany Rose who weren’t pregnant. We thought we should do something about it and make a non-maternity label just for them. In 2015 Alie Street London was born – its name taken from my great, great grandfather’s clothing factory based in Alie Street, east London.
Alie Street creates beautiful and affordable bridalwear, evening dresses and stylish daywear for women who want to feel confident and glamorous in impeccably made dresses, whatever the occasion.
You design and make everything in the UK – why is this important to you?
At the beginning it was very natural to start manufacturing in the UK as we were a small business that needed to grow. UK manufacturers are brilliant at offering flexibility and small production runs. However, as our business grew, so did our manufacturers and this symbiotic relationship worked perfectly – we have never looked back.
We now work with seven British manufacturers, all with their own skillsets. This includes the Leicester-based CMT unit that helped us from the very start. We feel very passionate and proud about doing our small bit in helping to restore manufacturing to this country.
You recently picked up the Queen’s Award for a second time – tell us about that.
We are so excited to win another Queen’s Award for Enterprise – five years on from our first one. It means so much to have this royal recognition. The Queen’s Award is one of the highest commercial accolades any business can receive – and the award reflects how much Tiffany Rose is exporting. It now accounts for almost 80% of our overall sales. Five years ago my husband and I attended the reception at Buckingham Palace, and so this year we are sending two of our longest-serving team members, Emilie and Sally, to meet the Queen. We are very excited for them.
Is there anyone in the industry you particularly admire?
I admire many people in the industry and maybe it’s not a coincidence that they’re also entrepreneurs – cosmetics entrepreneur Liz Earle, Make it British founder Kate Hills, handbag designer Mary Jardine.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
Trust your gut instinct, and if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Favourite clothing brands?
Monsoon, Jigsaw, Hobbs
Favourite places to shop?
Local independents – I always love to pop in to see what’s new and the idea of supporting the high street
Last fashion purchase?
A soft grey wool blend top with ruched sleeves from Agenda – a local independent boutique in Banstead
Seville, Spain. Can’t wait to go back
Last book you read?
Illusion by Stephanie Elmas – an amazing thriller set in the Victorian era – I couldn’t put it down
Last film you watched?
The Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. Looking forward to seeing the original next
Press department at Colefax & Fowler – interior designers with their own range of stunning textiles.
Composing piano-based sound tracks. Not trained and no way near good enough – but in another life I would pursue this
What would we find you doing at the weekend?
Cleaning out the chicken coops and dropping in to a few of the neighbours, armed with fresh eggs. Taking a country walk with the family, watching a family movie, meeting a friend for a cappuccino, catching up on admin