Suzy & Lou from Layered Lounge
Behind the Scenes

Wealden Times Midsummer Fair 2019...

The show everyone talks about.. This is the second year we have visited this event and we have to say its one of our favourites! It is set in the stunning grounds of the Hole Park Estate near Tenterden, Kent. So we packed up the van and a car with our chosen pieces and headed off to set up. The weather forecast was not looking great, but that didn't dampen our spirits as we were excited to showcase our new summer collections and to meet up with old and new customers. Partaking in this kind of event is a great way to carry out valuable market research as well as to get the brand name out there. Generally, and I think we can blow our own trumpets here, the feedback has always been very positive and we are grateful for our loyal following around this area! A view from the House of the wonderful set up. The event consists of five large retail marquees (in which we were based), an outside avenue of stalls and a vast range of street food and plant stalls. In it's 11th year it was the biggest and best yet, showcasing over 250 handpicked exhibitors selling contemporary and vintage homewares, garden accessories, fabulous fashion jewellery as well as artisan food and drink. All exhibitors at the fair are carefully chosen for their exceptional quality, good craftsmanship, originality and fine designs. We can vouch for that as we did come home with some fab goodies for ourselves and the family - oops! We were honoured to be asked to do a talk in the Home & Garden Hub sponsored by NFU Mutual. We decided to give a talk on how to "Create the perfect table setting for effortless and stylish summer entertaining". Being our first live talk nerves were high (especially for Lou). Sadly the weather was not in our favour but the show went on through the downpour nonetheless and we discussed the styling of two tablescapes. One of our shelf displays at the event Table 1 - A lunchtime get together, casual Moroccan theme We used our Astoria range for a more rustic look, simple glass vases for summer blooms dotted down the table, white linen napkins, terracotta placemats to give the theme a natural colour lift and add some texture. It's a nice idea to use smaller serving dishes when the table is busy so that pairs of guests can share the food options. For this we used Astoria stoneware serving plates,and ramekins which can be placed in-between the guests. One of our displays featuring the beach/coastal theme Table 2 - An evening affair, beach/coastal theme. Here we used the beautiful white linen table cloth, navy placemats, to bring add some blue elements, the Pearl range for a crisp white feel, 2 glass hurricanes filled with sand and a twisted cream candle, navy napkins, balloon wine glasses, white and amber frosted candle holders. To add that beach vibe add our sea urchins around the table or place on each plate. We style the majority of our imagery and table scapes are one of our favourites. Having meals as a family everyday or when entertaining are all as important as each other and adding those little touches to give the table a wow factor does not have to be expensive or take forever. We're not asking you to change your whole dinner set but by adding a new serving dish, a coloured placemat or napkin, inexpensive tea light holders or vases to a theme really can up the anti for your guests or family. So give it a go, don't be afraid to experiment. A Summer table setting option We also meet some other amazing brands at these events, who's products we loyally love and purchase and who become really good friends. Here is a list of our favourites, so look them up and support small local businesses. www.neonbeachclub.com www.TWseven.co.uk www.2littleboys.co.uk www.tipperleyhill.com www.sevenfeetapart.com
Layered Lounge - Where Have We Been?
Behind the Scenes

Where have we been ?

We’ve now passed our first year anniversary and have learnt an awful lot in our fist year of trading. Its fair to say we’ve made mistakes (too many to mention!) and we started in difficult economic times with the uncertainty that Brexit brings looming. But we are learning and growing. Sitting behind a screen and running an e-commerce business is not an easy way out to start and build a business. Yes, it’s relatively straightforwardbut unlike a physical store, you don't get to meet your customers and gather feedback. So in our first year wedecided tospend a good deal of time getting out and about. Van hired, loaded and unloaded several times, days and nights surviving on way to much coffee, stodgy carbohydrates, a few G&Ts, we have hit the road and throughly enjoyed meeting you all. So where have we been ? Well, clearly the budget was not huge for a start up business so we attended a lot of school fairs, charity fairs and pop ups at friends houses. For anyone starting out in a retail, asking your friend to host a gathering for you is a great way to expand your reach and get customer feedback. With a business in home accessories being mobile is somewhat tricky. Lugging around hefty boxes of ceramics, a few lamps, cushions, throws and even rugs is not for the faint-hearted I can assure you and there have been times when we have simply spent hours at a place only to realise that it’s not where we will find our target audience. But overall the pros have far outweighed the cons. A year on and we are now attending bigger more substantial fairs and events such as the Wealden Times Midsummer Fair, where we shall be again in November for the Christmas event. Set in a wonderful location, the clientele were delightful and could not have been more complimentary about our stand. Comments such as “oh my goodness it looks so fresh, crisp and beautiful, I just want it all” to “wow it looks like a version of Neptune or the White Company with a twist”. One visitor even saw our image in the magazine and came to the event especially to see us! It doesn’t get much better than that. We also attended the Wild Tweed show in High Wycombe the first to be held at the shooting ground. A two day event it was a wonderful blend of high end shopping, events for the kids, food stalls and stage featuring some fabulous bands and DJ. Calendars permitting we’ll likely be back next year so watch out for it if you are in the area. As for the future, well we are currently applying to further large events in London and the South East so keep a tab on our Instagram for updates and we’d love to hear from any of you if you have attended fairs further afield which you’ve really enjoyed. Its not problem to load the van up n the new year and hit the road. After a season of excess we will certainly be craving the exercise! And just for a laugh, the infamous "Floss" video..
Launching Layered Lounge
Behind the Scenes

A new business - From dream to reality

For anyone wishing to embark on a new business we have 3 top tips for you: Read - as much as you can Research - as much as you can Go for it - because you can! It’s very easy to sit and dream, but dreams don’t become a reality unless you take the plunge and life is short. If you’ve read our About Us page you will know that Lou and I met at the school gates some years ago. Our girls at that time weren’t great friends (although they are now - they have to be!). Quickly moving on from chatting about them we got on to the topic of personal aspirations and dreams. We'd both taken career breaks to be at home with the kids yet were craving a new chapter in our lives. We wanted to financially provide again but also wanted to build something. A business we would be proud of, passionate about but which also allowed the flexibility to manage the kids too. Having come from different career backgrounds, other than our kids we had another mutual passion, Interiors. We are both mad about them. Everything from knocking down a wall to styling the cushions and throws. Between us were a number of renovation and building projects under our belts, with family and friends frequently complimenting our styles. It was a natural fit. We were also reasonably frustrated with not finding the right items to style our homes. (Organising the first photo shoot & Stock arrivals) We couldn't afford the luxury market and the high street offerings lack the quality we desired. Certain trends washed over us too, we couldn’t fall in love with them long enough.So from that initial discussion a few months went by until we raised the issue again, finally giving ourselves a deadline to get started. First serious “business meeting” was had that week, the plan was hatched and our first to-do list made. One page turned into another culminating with a feeling of being completely overwhelmed but equally really excited and raring to go! A lot of people think setting up online is easy and to an extent thats true. There are no barriers to entry, you can build a web shop quite cheaply and quickly. But once its built it there's no guarantee people will come. There is an awful lot of hard graft in getting your brand out there as many small businesses will tell you and even with social media, breaking through all the noise can be tricky. But thats where your aspirations and drive become vital. You need to keep moving forward.You see for us, we always dream big, we are here for the long haul, to create a real brand. This is more than just two bored mums dipping their toes into something. We are working our socks off but this is a real passion. The journey so far has not been plain sailing, heck we've made a lot of mistakes and already had a re-branding , but theres also a lot we are incredibly proud of. In this, our second year, we have been overwhelmed with the response that you, our customers, have given us. You’ve been incredibly complimentary and this makes us even more determined to keep going on our journey.So thank you for your support. We're a very hands on business,Lou and I can be reached at any time, so please keep it coming and continue along with the ride. Layered Lounge, a family affair, the daughters get involved! (nofilters!)
Layered Lounge gets a makeover
Behind the Scenes

Layered Lounge gets a make-over !

Yes, its only our second year of trading and we've already had a make-over! We launched Layered Lounge in 2017 with our eyes wide open. Yes we knew we would make mistakes, yes we knew it was a highly competitive market, but we had a vision and we certainly had passion. One of the biggest tips we can recommend when starting your own business is to be as receptive to advice as you can - even when its what you don’t want to hear! With that in mind we soon reached out to old school friend and interiors guru Sophie Robinson to discuss our plans. Her first piece of advice after she took a quick look at our initial website - "sort your brand image out love - it needs some serious attention!" Harsh? Not really, she knew she could be brutally honest with us. Fair, definitely, so thats exactly what we did! So after 8 months of trading, with a referral from Sophie, we reached out to Caroline from Making Waves Creative and got started on a new design. Our brief was simple: we want a logo and web design which told our brand story. We are lovers of simple stylish and fresh interiors - nothing eccentric or too eclectic about us. Our brand needed to highlight the contemporary lines we favour yet the look needed to be timeless and sophisticated. Our style is very much transitional, think Hamptons meets Scandinavia and we love natural textures and simple colour palettes. The design needed to reflect our strives for quality and affordability so the website had to look approachable yet sumptuous. Part of the process was to build a Pinterest board to highlight our aspirations through images to Caz with each one containing an explanation as to why we love it and how it fits our business dream. You can see the board over on our Pinterest account. Caz immediately set to work and came up with an initial proposal. So as you can see from the site itself, Caz has done an amazing job! When she first sent across her designs we literally jumped out of chairs with joy and excitement. She’d nailed it for us. The structure of the "Layered" represents, strength, authority and a sense of quality, whilst the softness of “Lounge” showed a sense of relaxed paired back sophistication. Simple stylish living for your home! From this to this!...

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