Lovesay and Mo is that kind of brand of organic clothing for your babies and toddlers that goes far beyond designing planet friendly pieces. Every stitch of the handmade garments shows the pure love for the littles, created to last, so you can pass them onto your family and friends. Their aim is to get us and children to appreciate little things again.
If you are up to a very honest interview, we definitely recommend you to dig into this brand of handmade organic clothing for babies and toddlers that is all love, consciously made and planet friendly. Enjoy the conversation with Megan Shepherd, founder of Lovesay and Mo!
Megan, what is your professional background and why did you decide to start the brand Lovesay and Mo?
I graduated from Bath Spa University with a degree in Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors. I then worked as an Area Visual Merchandiser for just over 2 years. I loved the job but I found it quite prescriptive and limiting in terms of creativity (and the travelling took its toll!) About 2 years into the job I found out my Brother and his Girlfriend was going to have a baby. I couldn’t wait to start storing away a few lovely bits for when the baby arrived. I was also beginning to show more of an interest in the environment and was shocked to learn just how bad the situation was (and still is). After shopping around I found it difficult to find unisex clothing for babies that was also thoughtfully made and not white or yellow. Being unhappy in my job and knowing I had the required skill set and approach I decided to launch my own planet friendly, organic clothing range for babies and toddlers. Things moved pretty quickly – I found some part-time work at a local bakery and café, quit my job as a Visual Merchandiser and spent my afternoons and evenings sketching and sewing.
How did you come up with this name and what does it represent for you?
Whenever I tell people the name of my company, I get a bit of a quizzical look and “oh, that’s nice” is often the vocal response! Right from the start, this project was very personal and I wanted to reflect this in the name. ‘Lovesay’ was my maternal Grandmother’s maiden name and ‘Mo’ was my paternal Grandmother’s name. It just felt right and I knew straight away it was the one. A big part of what I want to encourage through Lovesay and Mo is making clothing last and passing it on through circles of families and friends. This is the exact ethos that my grandparents grew up with – you wore something either until it was broken beyond repair or was too small. I’ve listened to my Nanny talk about dresses, shoes and coats that were passed on between siblings an cousins. I’ve even got a velour cape in my dressing up box from when I was a child and it came from my mum when she was little. Including this generation in the foundation of the company constantly reminds me of how important it is to make things last and keep them in circulation for as long as possible.
What is the mission behind your brand?
My primary aim is to encourage people to think about what they’re buying and where it’s coming from. I’m on a personal journey towards living a more sustainable lifestyle and by sharing my experiences through my blog I hope to inspire others to make small changes too. Buying less but better quality is key for me. I’m designing and making clothes to last. I hope that we can begin to step out of the consumer culture and begin to appreciate the little things again. You don’t need loads of ‘stuff’ to be happy. We are creating a mass of unnecessary waste with every new fashion season, phone upgrade, change of home décor, a release of a new gaming console…the list goes on. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have these things, but it is important to think before handing over your cash – do you really want that dress, jumper or pair of trainers you’ve seen a hundred times on Instagram? I try to consider where something is made, what it’s made of and how much use I’ll get out of it before committing. If that dress, jumper or pair of trainers is the one thing I’ve been saving for and I know I’ll wear it until its falling apart then yes, I’ll buy it. But it’s important to be encouraging a thought process before jumping in and spending money on more ‘stuff’. Quality always overrules quantity.
What materials do you use for the clothing?
My Jumpsuits are made from fleece lined Organic Cotton Jersey and the top is lined with an Organic Cotton and Bamboo blend. I 100% trust and support the company I source it from – they’re really wonderful souls!
You have a large range of garments for children, could you detail what folks can find in your store? What would you say is your top garment or best seller?
I currently stock the Lovesay and Mo Jumpsuit in 6 different fabrics – Slate, Marl Grey, Rust, Hessian, Black Stripes on White and White Stripes on Black. The Striped fabrics are by far the most popular but as the weather is changing the Rust sales are increasing! It’s a beautiful colour for Autumn. Within the next few months, I’m hoping to add a loose fit jumper to the collection. I’m trying to create neutral staples that can be worn time and time again with a range of other clothing.
Seems the garments are made with loads of love, how does the production process look like?
I make everything by hand at home. We live in a tiny cottage in the Cotswolds and luckily I’ve been allowed to take over the attic bedroom. It’s a beautiful lightroom and works well for now, but I’m going to need somewhere a little bigger over time. Unless I’ve got an order for a specific item that isn’t in stock, I try to make the jumpsuits in bulk. I’ll spend a day cutting fabric, a day overlocking, a day stitching etc. I find this a far more productive use of time. I try to minimise waste as much as possible so gather my offcuts by size into different baskets. The strips that come from overlocking the edges of the jumpsuits are used to attach the sizing and care tags. I use as much as I can from what’s left to make Reusable Cotton Rounds. I buy in Organic Cotton Towelling and create double-sided rounds that are also sold on my website! They’re great for removing makeup or using as an alternative to wet wipes.
What sort of clients do you have and how do they appreciate your products?
Customers vary depending on where they’re buying from. A lot of my online sales come through social media and they tend to be mums who have an interest in sustainability. They’re always incredibly complimentary and love the fact that the jumpsuits are so lovingly handmade. A lot of people also love to buy things for their kids that are a little bit different and not necessarily what others will be wearing. I’ve done a few fairs at various different locations and they tend to bring in families or people buying gifts. I think it’s really lovely that family and friends are beginning to recognise someone’s passion for the environment when buying them a gift. It’s wonderful to see someone so happy to find a product they know will be warmly received. For me, sustainability isn’t just about buying sustainable and ethical products. It’s about taking the time to suss out the smaller brands and businesses that although are a bit more expensive, are creating products that will last a hell of a lot longer than those from high street brands.
What have been your challenges as a fashion entrepreneur that is sourcing ethically?
For me, the cost of being 100% ethical is what’s currently holding me back. I don’t claim to be 100% sustainable but I make damn sure that I’m doing as much as I can right now to work towards reaching that goal. Unfortunately buying eco materials always has a more costly outlay than the alternatives – just like reusable coffee cups or stainless steel bottles or lunchboxes. I’ve pretty much self-funded the launch of Lovesay and Mo. I’ve had some help from my parents for initial fabric stock and my Grandad very kindly bought me a new sewing machine this year. The sense of achievement of knowing I’ve got to this point with minimal financial support is amazing. I’m also a firm believer that every small step towards helping the planet is a million times better than doing nothing. I don’t want to make people feel guilty for not living totally green lives and I expect the same with running a small business – every small step I can take towards making my products as sustainable as possible is huge, and I’m happy with those small steps.
You are based in the UK. How does a social entrepreneurial venture look like there? Do you see the opportunities and other social entrepreneurs raising locally, or even an increase in people appreciating slow living and choosing brands with an impact such as yours?
The ‘slow living’ movement in the UK is growing so quickly – it’s wonderful. I’m from a town in Gloucestershire that is well known locally for its love of the environment. We’ve got an award-winning Farmers Market that’s been running for years, a range of well-established veggie and vegan cafes and health shops, and such a great community of passionate people. Living in an area that’s so rich with people wanting to make a difference is a massive boost and push for me to want to spread the word. Social media is also a great way of linking you with like-minded people. There are tonnes of communities out there full of tips, advice, support and friendship. Unfortunately, in the UK there is still a bit of a ‘yoghurt-knitting-tree-hugging-hippy’ stereotype floating around. It can be difficult to get past that and I’ve spoken to some young people who have lost friends over their passion to live a more sustainable life. I think this is incredibly sad and it really drives me to put a positive spin on lifestyle changes rather than attacking issues with a ‘you shouldn’t be doing that’ attitude. People react well to positivity. You can’t win every battle and that’s ok. There’s enough support and love out there to outweigh the negativity.
Is there any failure you have had during the process or even in your life that has set you up for later success?
I feel like I shouldn’t answer this question for fear of jinxing myself! I haven’t had any ‘failures’ as such but throughout the 13 years I’ve spent studying at school, college and university I’ve hit the negativity cycle more than once. Every now and then you reach a point where nothing seems to be going right; the machines keep breaking, you run out of thread, you accidentally cut something you shouldn’t…It always sends me into the cycle of thinking “This is all rubbish, I’m rubbish, what am I even doing thinking this would work out?!” I think anyone remotely creative can relate to this. But suddenly you’ll get a eureka moment and everything will be okay again. Ultimately I guess it’s down to self-doubt. You spend so much time and love creating something that has solely come from you. It’s terrifying to put it out into the world for anyone and everyone to judge.
What has been the greatest success of the brand so far?
Every single sale feels like a huge accomplishment. As I said above its so scary releasing a product and not knowing if anyone will like it. Receiving positive comments and feedback is amazing, but knowing that someone has chosen to spend their money on something you’ve made from scratch is another level.
Any future plans for Lovesay and Mo?
I’d love Lovesay and Mo to become a base for sustainable living. I’ve got dreams of creating a community for people wanting to make a difference – a place for us to share our thoughts and plans and also to inspire others. I’m trying to build up the blog which is putting me in touch with so many wonderful people and it would be great to one day meet these people in person. The plan is to slowly expand the kids range to around 4 or 5 products and then venture into older kids and adults too. The ultimate dream is to have a multi-purpose physical space for designing, making and selling stock, a space for teaching and informing others, a space for meeting and sharing, a space for drinking and eating great food, and a space for enjoying life. Who knows what the future holds?! I can only keep looking up!
Is there any advice you’d like to give to other small businesses trying to make a difference?
- You can’t change the world single-handedly but as part of a community, you can make a big difference.
- Don’t give up – you will have to make sacrifices but it will be worth it.
- Accept help if it’s offered – you can’t do everything.
- Listen to criticism but learn from it and move on.
- You can’t please everyone!
If you could write a message on a big wall that the entire world could read, what would it say?
‘Stop buying so much shit you don’t need!!!’
And any message for the children?
Love your planet – it’s the only one you’ve got. Put your PlayStation away, your phone down and turn the TV off. Go outside – believe me, there’s so much more to do out there!
Finally, where can we find you? Shop, online, worldwide…?
You can shop directly through the website at www.lovesayandmo.co.uk. I currently only ship to the UK but am more than happy to explore postage options to other countries – just drop me a message! You can also find Lovesay and Mo on Instagram.
Looking for more handmade organic options for children? We take you to the other side of the world, New Zealand, this sustainable kids’ clothing with personality: large, durable, limited, made with love, Luca Broccolini.
Is there any other similar brand you know or are curious about? Comment below, and we will make it happen!