We turned 2 in July! Which is pretty mad. So, as you do during birthday times, we got reminiscing about "the old days"... the early days of Lucy & Yak....
Whilst our inspiration for creating communities started on a beach in New Zealand, we did not create our first dungarees until we met Ismail on a trip to India in 2017. Lucy and Yak have come a long way since then when I bashfully modelled the first pair in front of a crowd of curious locals in India before they sold out quickly on Depop.
That was how it all began; with one size of dungarees – a very vague Medium – six colours, five pairs each. We listed them on Depop (we didn't even have a website at that point) and all 30 pairs sold out in one evening! This first piece became 'the Original' Dungarees, our signature piece.
If you want to hear more about the start of Lucy & Yak, I was recently on a podcast 'The fashion feed' with my friend Elizabeth Stiles, an incredible industry consultant, telling our story, you can listen to it here - the full scoop on how it all started and the underlying passions which drive Lucy & Yak.
What we discovered when we first made and sold tobacco pouches in New Zealand, was that it was a way of building a community. This is something we tried to bring into Lucy & Yak too! We used to get messages from people, ages after we left NZ, from people telling us how they met new friends because they saw they had one of our handmade pouches. Same goes with Lucy & Yaks, we get messages all the time from you guys telling us about spotting a fellow Lucy & Yak fan or even making new friends through a love of the best Dungarees in the world.
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Are you even a millennial if you don’t have a podcast though?? The Fashion Feed is launching in March! It’s going to be a mix of interviews with people in the industry and new brands who are doing things a little differently 😏 Who’s excited?! (Pls say yes 😂) • • • • • #podcasts #fashionpodcast #businesspodcast #thefashionfeed #fashionfeed #podcasthost #podcasting #podcastlife #podcasting #podcaster #podcastersofinstagram #clothingbrands #fashionbrands #onlineretail #onlineretailer #onlineclothingstore #independentstore #independentretailer #indieretail
Introducing the Lucy & Yak family
We could not write this blog, without mentioning a few people who've been central to the Lucy & Yak story from the early days. Of course, it started with us both and Ismail, but also started with my mum.
My mum Julie started off packing Lucy & Yaks from her kitchen table (and sometimes included the odd drinks coaster by mistake!) and she's still a crucial part of the Lucy & Yak family, packing all the beautiful Lucy & Yaks but now from our warehouse in Yorkshire.
She says the best part of her job is “working with nice people”. And that's what it's all about!
We couldn’t have done this without my mum, she was the one parcelling up all of the orders from the beginning, which allowed me and Chris to keep creating. She worked for us for free for almost 1 year. She’s the best, we wouldn't be where we are now without her!
Meri is our returns supervisor and has worked with the team forever! We were really struggling one day and we were desperate for staff, Chris was out shopping and was served by this fabulous sales assistant... so he offered her a job then and there. Meri said yes and she's been here ever since. What she really craves is a pair of unicorn dungas – and I'll bet she's not the only one!
Stef is our Depop supervisor, when Meri turned up for the formal interview to meet Lucy, she brought her friend Stefana, who said "can i have a job too"....we said yes. She's been with us ever since!
Since April, we also have the team in Lucy and Yak Brighton, our first store and the hub of Lucy & Yak community down South. This is the place where the fun's really at! Whether it's for sampling new designs, or a crochet-knitting workshop to create your own bottle cover, we have it all. Come and see our team in the North Laine!
So what's coming up next for Lucy & Yak?
There are some exciting projects and plans in the pipeline! We are all working super hard to keep things buzzing with new products and new ideas for making the business even more sustainable and ethical. A few things to look out for in the future
- Made in Yorkshire - In a bizarre twist, our warehouse is sat right in the middle of what used to be one of the textile and garment centres of the world... Barnsley. There are tons of amazing, highly skilled seamstresses scattered all over Yorkshire. So we're bringing manufacturing back to Barnsley. We have a team of 4 seamstresses already, headed up by the awesome Amanda, that have started work on some new pieces. Hopefully we can make a success of this, keep growing and employ more and more seamstresses paid at the Living Wage.
- A new shop, or maybe even two! We would love to have a store close to home in Yorkshire and both Leeds and Sheffield have so much going for them. Another exciting option is Bristol which swings with all the right kinds of vibes. So keep your eyes peeled for more news on this!
- We have been having lots of fun finding out about different fabrics. We've had gorgeous linen/cotton jumpsuits and fabulous hemp dungarees. We're also looking at a waterproof fabric that's made from 40% plant-based fibres. That's a big improvement on the typical 100% synthetics that you get in the shops. And we're looking at corn fabric, but that needs some work in terms of durability. And in the meantime, there'll be plenty of great designs coming into our New In section!
- We're taking inspiration (again) from Patagonia and their buy-back system. We're really keen to make our business circular. We're thinking we might use the same model and have a three-tier system. So depending on how much life is left in your returned dungarees you'll get store credit as a trade, and we'll try to resell, repair and up-cycle what we get sent. It's an exciting direction to be headed in! This is a complicated logistical operation, but we're hoping to go live on it in 2019.
- Sustainability is important to us. We are looking into new packaging that's completely compostable! There are a few options to choose from and as a new business, we need to consider the cost carefully, particularly, as packaging does not last and needs to be used within a certain timeframe, but it's a progress.
- In June we opened our Design Studio in Brighton, which contains our production management team headed by Sandy and our Marketing team led by Amra. Me and Chris have been managing all of this, somehow, for the last 2 years, so now we've got some experienced support we can keep new styles coming and improve on existing ones.
Looking back over our first two years at Lucy and Yak we are so grateful for the support and encouragement of the L&Y community, and for the feedback that helps us improve. We love how positive and engaged you all are and how we share a passion for people, community and sustainability. Please keep sharing with us on Insta and Facebook and stay with us for the next stage of our journey!
Lucy & Chris