I am so in love with this Ladies At Work article, quite simply because as a mother of boys, I am not necessarily privy to the world of matchy-matchy with my children… a world which I very much want to be a part of.
And why shouldn’t a Mum be able to coordinate her gear with her little men? And a dad with his girls? Absolutely no reason at all which is why I think this wonderful fashion concept will be the first of many to follow….
Meet the wonderful Donna-Marie, the brains behind this fantastic styling concept – let’s take a little wander around her world for a moment or two and don’t forget to log on to the site and use your exclusive discount code for 15% off and free P&P!
Do tell us a little about you and your brand Sirens & Pirates and the inspiration behind it?
Hi! I am Donna, a mum of 3 from Manchester who, after leaving the day job whilst on maternity leave, decided it was time to do what I had always wanted to do – set up and launch a fashion brand! The main inspiration behind it all comes from my wonderful Dad. My Dad worked all of his life as a firefighter (hence the ‘Sirens’ in Sirens & Pirates!) He was a fascinating man; a tattoo covered traveller who rebelled against almost every convention you can think of. Until, that is, he met my mum, fell head over heels and joined the Fire Brigade. His tattoos told the story of his life and were a real work of art depicting his life, loves, fears and spirit.
Such a lovely back-story which makes the brand even more appealing to me; how have you woven his influence into your designs?
He is a huge part of every thing we make! Sirens & Pirate’s designs and products are always completely heartfelt, spirited and authentic. I work with local Artisan printers in the heart of our city to create just the right texture and finish for each and every different design. Many of my designs are also heavily influenced by Manchester, The Great North and memories of my childhood here.
What do you think makes your range unique?
We are a UNISEX brand. We weren’t initially but I like to keep things fluid and to constantly evolve. The idea is that each garment is incredible on it’s own and can be worn individually but the magic really happens when father and son, mother and daughter, father and daughter or mother and son stand together wearing ROCK and STAR or SUPER and HERO. These are our first two collection but a third is in the pipeline which I am very excited about!
Did the business take some time to create and grow or was it’s success quicker than you imagined?
It started small, picking up here and there via word of mouth, friends and family, but as more and more people started to fall in love with the concept, brand and designs I was able to open the web shop and more recently have taken on the heady heights of social media! I have always had an interest in fashion prior to this and because I also run my own music school I have some business experience which helped a lot but the take up has been brilliant, with customers from all over the world falling in love with the concept. We have regular customers in Singapore, Australia and The Netherlands to name but a few places outside of the UK.
How do you handle the work/life balance of running your own businesses with a family?
I try to combine the two wherever possible so for example, before any of my designs reach the production stage, my husband and our children test everything. Things like the way I load the pram with customer parcels and time my post office trips with the baby’s daytime sleeps help! It’s all about planning around and doing what you can, whenever you can.
What plans do you have for the future of the brand?
I want to expand and offer garments not only for parents and children but for everyone! Soon I will be launching our Mothers, Lovers, Others, Brothers collection which will see the introduction of our TRUE/LOVE t-shirts that two adults or children can match together.
Where do your new ideas come from?
Everything has to fit with family life as we have said, but with a quirky cool edge. Combining luxury and functionality is essential to us, so whilst I ditch around 6 million ideas every day, the right ones do seem to just come and find me!
What advice would you give any of our readers who have the same dream?
To begin, begin. Not my words but sound advice all the same! Another golden nugget as far as I am concerned is the phrase ‘evolve or disappear’ as Tupac said… you must be ready to grow and go with the flow.
Log on to www.sirensandpirates.com now and use your exclusive discount DONNA15 to get 15% off and free P&P!
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