My Baby Edit presents Sleepy Doe April 28 2017
Sleepy Doe – Q & A.
We are completely in LOVE with the phenomenon that is Sleepy Doe. This is a true, ‘’born and breed in the UK’’ children’s wear brand that specializes in sleep - and lounge wear, where all pieces are 100% Eco or organic. Having worked in the fashion industry for more than 10 years, and designing lounge wear for a number of British heritage brands, Sleepy Doe’s founder Sophie Woodrow, saw a clear gap in the market for timeless printed sleep and loungewear for children. Founded in Bath in the UK in 2016, Sleepy Doe has gone from strength to strength, and is a true believer that sleep and lounge wear should be made with subtle design details, bringing comfort and an effortless style to the mini bedtime wardrobe. All Sleepy Doe's collections are classic, whilst injecting simple hand-drawn prints in friendly colours the majority of the available styles are unisex so perfect for siblings to share. We LOVE that all methods of manufacturing are sustainable and ethical, which also is the ethos of the Sleepy Doe’s brand. Here you will find absolutely no harmful dyes used in the printing method and all the soft cottons are ecologically handpicked from British manufacturers. What’s more, all the products are designed and made in the UK, supporting independent factories and businesses, what not to love!
We just know that you will LOVE the amazing collections as much as we do. We asked Sophie to tell us more about her and her brand in our latest My Baby Edit – Meet the Designer feature.
Who am I?
Sophie! Mama to Flossie Coco and Founder & Designer of Sleepy Doe: a British childrenswear brand specialising in eco sleep and loungewear. Since graduating with a Fashion degree, I have spent the last 10 years working for British Heritage brands specialising in loungewear. I’ve designed womens, mens and childrenswear and love all areas of the design process.
When did you launch Sleepy Doe and what was your motivation for launching your own brand?
I launched the brand in July 2016 although began working on the Sleepy Doe concept a couple of years before that. It was really important for me to allow a good year of just drawing, sampling and developing the brand before signing anything off. I wanted to carry on being creative during maternity leave, I soon realised how important sleepwear is for babies and children but I struggled to find products that were classic and not over-designed. I like products that are carefully considered but effortless and timeless, especially when it comes to kidswear.
Once I had all the designs in place I started to take logical steps to make the business happen. I took each day at a time, asked advice of people in similar industries and before I knew it Sleepy Doe was launched.
I’ve had to work hard to be in a position I am in today. I love my job, it’s part of my identity and what drives me. When you design for other companies you are always following someone else’s brief, but with Sleepy Doe I’m doing it all for the
love of my own ideas and designs. It’s very satisfying to use my own passion and experience as a means to earn a living and help support our family.
Why did you choose to focus on sleepwear/loungewear?
I must admit I have more PJs and loungewear than everyday clothes. Elements of my previous roles designing prints and loungewear for British brands have all influenced the decisions and directions I’ve taken, but I think as a designer it’s always been a dream to do something for myself using my experience to manufacture products I feel passionate about.
What is important to you as a designer, and how do you get inspiration and develop your designs?
I’m surrounded by inspiration; it’s everywhere daily, from people and buildings to magazines and nature. All aspects of the business, from fabrics to branding, are carefully considered - including our factories. I believe it’s really important to support independent factories and to know where your clothes are made. There are so many inspiring childrenswear brands out there and we all have our own identities, each offering something different to the market, which is important as a designer as much as staying focused with your specialist area. I love everything related to sleep and bedtime and have some exciting product plans; I’ve been listening to my customers!
What would you say is your signature style, and how do you sum up the Sleepy Doe lifestyle?
I guess the lifestyle is pretty effortless, I’m not tying to be someone I’m not. I wanted to create a range of timeless designs in classic colours that can be handed down and aren’t disposable. I bring out new collections when I’m ready rather than stay strict to seasons. I always offer tran-seasonal pieces for the unpredictable British weather but also for international stockists with opposite seasons and prints each season overlaps either with new styles or colourways. Whether the customer likes a Breton stripe or something floral, I think it’s important to offer both unisex and more feminine styles if that’s what the child wants/likes. I’m not separating genders within the ranges but offering something for everyone.
Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
Having only launched nine months ago it’s also really important to take a step back and look at how far we’ve come already, and remember we have many more people to meet and introduce to Sleepy Doe before taking things forward too fast. I’m looking forward to developing the range, introducing new designs and ideas when I’m ready.
What is a normal day like at Sleepy Doe HQ?
It usually starts early with mama duties and coffee. I run Sleepy Doe from my home, I have a desk in my kitchen and the stock room is also my spare bedroom. I wrap and pack orders as they come in, daily Post Office runs will be tied in with a trip to the swings or a promise of a babychinno afterwards. Floss now goes to nursery twice a week which helps me to get things done, especially for skype calls where she’s not trying to show the factory her bunnies. The rest I just do when I can, I’m far from a super human and things don’t always get done, but that’s the nature of my situation. Dan is home around 6pm, he cooks supper as I bath Floss then once she’s gone to bed the laptops are out together for the admin side of Sleepy Doe…that I’m not that flash at.
I am very lucky to be doing the two things I love. Being both a mama and business owner are full-time commitments that demand a whole lot of patience and love. Flossie’s happiness is by far more important than any business decision I will ever make. Her well-being puts all of the stressful business moments into perspective, which is invaluable.
What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
The practicality of getting a brand to market, which is now all a bit of a blur! Last year I won The Angels and Urchins Sleepwear brand 2016. This was a huge achievement shortly after the Sleepy Doe launch but also a big motivation to keep going. Sleepy Doe is now stocked in independent stores worldwide, they are all beautiful online and retail stores and many are run by other working mamas. It’s great to be able to supply them with a new brand and a product they also believe in.