Every week, we shine a spotlight on the best small brands we think are worth shouting about. We love our great British high street, but there are so many fantastic independent brands out there making clothes, accessories, homeware and more from a place of passion and love and we need to support them – now more than ever.
From fashion and beauty to homeware, accessories and food, we bring you the best small businesses you need on your radar. This week, we chat with Caroline Kennedy Alexander, founder and designer of LoveRose Lingerie, which specialises in luxury post-surgery lingerie.
How did LoveRose Lingerie come to life?
I lost my sister Rose to breast cancer and I watched my sister Mary go through it and then went through it myself, twice. I had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. Recovering from surgery was not just about the physical scars, it was the emotional and psychological scars, too. Lingerie had always had the power to help me feel good about myself, gave me a secret confidence, was my armour, got me ready for the day. I was shocked at the lack of choice on the post-surgery market. As a designer I realised I could do something about it – I researched and discovered I wasn’t alone in feeling this way and LoveRose was born, named in memory of my sister Rose.
I met Sarah, our director and designer, after she had graduated and we worked together for three years alongside our focus groups and a surgical team to design and prototype our first collection. LoveRose launched online in September 2020.
What three words sum up LoveRose Lingerie?
Luxurious, supportive, sexy.
Who is LoveRose Lingerie for?
Our woman wants to have the choice in her lingerie she had pre-surgery and so when it comes to LoveRose, she loves that it looks like mainstream luxury lingerie, but with all the support she needs post-surgery. Our customer is a thoughtful consumer who believes in sustainability and quality so loves our recycled lace and luxurious silk fabrics. Buying investment pieces and matching sets that will last is important to her… and she loves a pop of colour!
How do you go about designing your beautiful lingerie?
We approach post-surgery design in a completely different way to what is currently on the market. For us the aim is to design our lingerie so it can sit beside luxury mainstream brands while keeping all the functional elements that you need post-surgery. Our design process directly involves our ladies, we run focus groups and chat to them about what they are missing on the market and want to see. We then take their wants and make them a reality.
There’s a lot of standing in our bras in the studio, trialing them on myself as I personally know the needs of our shoppers, and sewing late into the night to get our designs to a perfect combination of fashion with function. We then work with an incredible wider team in the UK and Europe to manufacture all our garments to the highest standard.
What’s a typical day for you?
There’s no such thing as typical when you’re running a small business. We always start with a morning meeting over a coffee to divide and conquer the day’s tasks – currently we are finishing up our production run of our new Luxe colourways and our new Essentials collection, while also in the middle of prepping for our pop-up shops for the rest of 2022.
What’s the best thing about running your own business? And the most challenging?
I’d say the best and the worst thing is that every day is different – it can be so exciting to have a different challenge every morning and learn something new every day, but it does mean that a fair amount of coffee is consumed (and the occasional Guinness!). The best thing is speaking to our women about how LoveRose makes them feel, receiving a message from an incredible woman telling us that we’ve made her feel better about herself honestly makes all the challenges worth it.
The best moment so far?
We appeared on Dragons’ Den earlier this year which has to be one of our most memorable moments. The feedback from our community was incredible and we were so pleased to get the opportunity to let so many people know about LoveRose.
Which design is your favourite?
We find it so tough to pick favourites because all our designs are close to our hearts. If I had to, I would pick our See You at Nine bra paired with our Beautiful Pant. Sarah would pick Haven’t Got a Stitch to Wear with Sassy Pant.
Anything exciting in the pipeline?
We’ve got lots of new lingerie coming soon – we can’t wait to launch our Essentials collection at the end of summer and we’re already designing our new swimwear collection for next year.