Wednesday, September 14, 2011
10 minutes with...
Can you tell us a little about how Mash N Gravy started?
What is your inspiration, and where did the name come from?
Like the owners of many online boutiques I was essentially trying to fulfill my own needs. I had two baby boys and was struggling to dress them as individuals, in the same way that I like to be in command of my own style. The multiples on High Streets the world over seem to be obsessed with branding, predictable graphic themes and colour schemes for both boys and girls and define and separate the sexes by these means. My introduction to independent fashion of this nature was via Mini Rodini and I was hooked on their electric guitar and Leon the robot prints. I wanted to dress my children in effortlessly stylish clothes and resented the fact that I was paying my hard earned salary for clothes produced by those of limited imagination, dubious quality and unknown origins.
Choosing a name for the store was difficult. If I was opening a bricks and mortar store the name would have been very different but when selecting a domain name, the process is slightly more complicated. I didn't want a name which sounded in any way similar to the handful of the existing online stores at that time as we certainly would not want to be thought of as emulating anyone, but it had to be something which resonated with me.
I ruled out anything with obvious childlike connotations ie anything with 'Little' or 'Kids', or anything to do with animals or colours and at that time we were struggling with my eldest son at the dinner table as he was beginning to turn from an adventurous eater to one who only liked plain flavours and soft textures.
Despite producing wonderful home made offerings, he insisted on mashed potato with every meal and very often with gravy. Therefore, it was something which was a constant in my life at that time.
Mash N Gravy seems to be a lot about individuality through fashion, but there is also a large sense of responsibility in the global sense as well, how do you go about when you choose your brands for Mash N Gravy? Is the process in which the garments are being made an important issue for you?
It is human nature to be drawn to something because it is aesthetically pleasing and having a strong sense of style, I know precisely what I like. But I consider it equally important to buy responsibly and not knowingly support poor practices as many of us are prone to do when faced with the choices available, be it in fashion or our grocery shopping. The majority of the labels which we represent either use organically produced fabrics or green technologies in order to lessen the effects of the manufacturing process on the environment.
Many of our brands use this feature as their USP, for example, Popupshop, Kidscase and Imps&Elfs, then there are those who fly just under the radar, making all the right moves, but use other tools in their marketing strategy, for example, Rich and Sam Brown, founders of Munster, moved their young family to Vietnam where their garments are made in order to supervise the production and give back to the community through initiatives like their T4T project which recurs each season with specially designed garments by renowned artists. For each one sold, Munster donate a T-Shirt to an area of need.
Therefore, I tend to adopt the responsible position when selecting brands to sell and it would be wonderful to think that everything could be fairly produced at an acceptable price for every consumer, but unfortunately, it doesn't always work out like that. I appreciate that customers need to make choices to suit their budget and consequently prefer to be more subliminal in my strategy as opposed to taking the tree hugging, sandal wearing approach.
There seem to be such a nice balance between brands for boys and brands for girls at Mash N Gravy, having two boys yourself, do they embrace your passion for fashion and what are their favorite brand to hang out in?
I do worry that my boys will turn into real clothes snobs, they seem to have a passion for what they will and will not wear with or without my intervention. Neither, have ever expressed a desire to hang out in a football strip as is common among their peers. Instead, they prefer the classic Munster/Vans combo. Skinny jeans and performance skate shoes, unbeatable in the style stakes for Captain Chaos and Major Disaster. Teamed with a cotton tee, graphic or plain and finished with a cotton shirt by Scotch Shrunk and they are good to go - anywhere!
I love your wish list feature on your website, what is on your wish list at the moment?
Although I am crazy about fashion, when the season turns colder as it has done here in the UK in recent weeks I tend to look at my home and fall in love with it all over again, knowing that the next few months the majority of our time will be spent indoors and out of the cold. I love the classics and would have a house full of chairs if I thought that I could get away with it. We have white Eames DSR chairs at our dining table, but I have just ordered a black DSW for my office and I'm now swooning over a recent discovery - Icelandic sheepskin rugs and intend to buy one from this web site to line my nest, as it were over the cold months to come. http://blacksheepwhitelight.com/category/gray-sheepskins
A new season has just landed on the shelves at Mash N Gravy, can you share your favorite picks from the autumn & winter 2011 collections with us?
For boys I love the Grinner Rain Jacket by Munster, their Bleaches Denims and a Polo Shirt by Scotch Shrunk, and for girls the Talc dresses are just divine.
However, it seems like we've barely started, we still have Imps& Elfs, Talc, Finger in the Nose , Lucky Boy Sunday, No Added Sugar, all to come.
Big thanks to founder Julie Reid for an interesting look into the world of Mash N Gravy!
All minor de:tales readers can get a whopping 25% OFF ALL BRANDS from this Friday 16th of September, running one week! Use code MD25 at check out.
And don't forget the wonderful offer of FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING (orders over £70) this week!!
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