top of page

Fairlie Curved: Fabulously Taking Over the (Fuller Bust Fashion) World

As a youth enterprise support charity, Launch It had always strived to make sure the young founders in our two-year incubation programme get the best real-life training and experience as possible. 

 

One thing that greatly helps with this is the make-up of our enterprise centres which allots a small percentage of our workspaces for budding or growing business owners over 30s, or as we call them “commercial businesses”. By doing this, we create a community of good role models who support one another and inspire young entrepreneurs throughout their journey.

 

At Launch It Paisley, one of the entrepreneurs that had made a lasting impact to the hub and young Launch Iteers alike with her story of purposeful creativity and making-it-through-the-odds is Jayne Lasley, founder of body positive and inclusive women’s clothing line, Fairlie Curved




Jayne’s business journey began right after a massive setback- losing her job during the pandemic. “We were cleaning out the garage and I found a box with all of my old university designs, and I thought “Fairlie Curved” (a brand name she created for her final collection back when she was studying fashion in university) is too good to be sat in the garage any longer. I didn't have the finances to launch a clothing brand, but I couldn't sleep that night and carried out lots of research and quickly realised there were very few styling pages on social media for my shape. So, I set up an Instagram page the next day called it Fairlie Curved.”

 

And the rest as they say, was history. From being a styling page giving out tips on how to dress with fuller bust to being inspired by so many women messaging her asking where they can buy her clothes to setting up her first office at Launch It Paisley in 2020 to having 20,000+ followers at present to having a pop-up in collaboration with Bravissimo Glasgow, Jayne has built a fierce and supportive fashion empire powered by real women, run by a female founder who understands their needs.

 

I turned losing my job into an opportunity. That big loss became an even bigger gain for me. It's both the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me… I just thought, right, it's now or never. And I'm going to go for it,” she said. And yes, she went for it hard.

 

We sat down for a chat with our inspiring alumna Jayne recently to talk about life after Launch It and how full and fulfilling her business journey has been so far.


What’s the story behind the brand name, “Fairlie Curved”?

 

I have really always struggled to get clothes to fit my shape. As a young girl, it was a struggle to get fashionable clothes that fit. But I've always loved fashion, I've always been into clothes so I studied fashion at university, and during my final year we had the opportunity to do either a collection or a dissertation, so I took the opportunity to create a brand and design a collection of clothes that I could actually wear and that would fit me. My maiden name was Fairlie, so I called the collection Fairlie Curved which got a brilliant reaction from everyone.

 

At 21, I got offered a job in fashion buying the same week that I graduated so I never took Fairlie Curved forward but it was something that I regretted for the 20 years I worked as a buyer. I always thought, what if?

 

When you started Fairlie Curved first as a styling page which led you to putting up an online retail store, what was the moment that made you go for it?

 

I remember posting on Instagram asking women things like, “what are the real problem items that you really struggle to buy?,” expecting girls to say dresses and blouses, and I was shocked with how many girls just said they just want a well-fitting t-shirt.

 

So, I got out my old sewing machine, used my sourcing skills as a buyer and managed to source a really good organic cotton t-shirt, and then worked on a pattern and started sewing them all to fit and to the right shape. From there, it quickly grew and suddenly I was sending items to America and all over the UK and so, I realised there was a real opportunity for us to set up a website in October 2020 and the rest has been history.

 

What do you think makes Fairlie Curved stand out as a brand?

 

It is very competitive in fashion. I would say being different and having a niche has really helped. I offer something that is very difficult to find out elsewhere. I think our biggest selling point is that we’re actually solving a problem for women. I'm not just trying to sell them another top on another dress.

 

I think what’s really helped at the start is I built a community of customers on Instagram without even realising it. We weren’t really selling right away but instead trying to understand what people are looking for. We were offering support in some ways, like a page they would want to go to. There was an early trust because I was never trying to sell anything and eventually, the women I was engaging with became my customers.

 

I really believe that people buy from people and if they trust and believe in you, and they can see that there's a face behind the brand they can relate to, I definitely think that people will be more emotionally connected.



How did you end up setting up your first shop in Launch It Paisley?

 

I found out about the space through Business Gateway. I was one of the older ones there at the time but it was really great working with all of the young entrepreneurs that were there. Compared to them, I probably had the life experience having worked for years as a fashion buyer.

 

I think had I started Fairlie Curved when I first graduated from uni, I probably would have done it very differently. What's given me the strength now are all of the contacts that I've made through the years; all of the suppliers, the designers, basically all the contacts I built while I was working as well as using all of the experiences I’ve gained.


What do you think is the best part of having a community like the one you had at Launch It Paisley?


Just being able to help each other, being able to knock somebody's door and say, “I've got this problem, have you experienced this? Is it something you could help me with?”.


One of the young business owners I met there was Grant of Sweet Punkz. We were very, very different businesses and people, but we really helped each other. I would chap his door quite regularly about many things like how our sales were going. Just that comfort  to have someone else in the same stage of business and being able to chat and support one another


I think because I had a wee bit more experience in terms of previous careers, I loved being able to help the young people in the community; to offer my perspective or connect them with contacts. I really loved being able to help everybody else.



What has been your toughest challenge? What did you have to do to overcome it?

 

Some of the challenges that I think young people would find with a fashion business are the factory minimums. Obviously, you have your own exclusive designs and want to bring to market something different from what everybody else is doing. You really need to design, develop and produce those items explicitly, and it's very difficult to get factories to do small quantities.

 

I had the same challenge but thankfully, was very fortunate that I had really good contacts from when I was a buyer. Years ago I had worked with a young trainee designer who worked for a supplier that I bought from when I was a young buyer and we always got on well. She contacted me when I first set up the styling page and offered her support. She was now the director of a UK factory and was able to offer me very small minimum order quantities. Without her help, it would have been very difficult at the start.

 

It's one of the biggest pieces of advice I would give anybody: to nurture all your contacts. I've overcome probably my toughest challenges by really reaching out to the community, the contacts and the relationships that I've got.

 

Do you have any other tips for aspiring young entrepreneurs?

 

I think a lot of young people that have had some sort of hardship, they probably are negotiating and being entrepreneurial every day without even realising it. They're doing it just to survive, if that makes sense. So, I would say, turn those challenges into something positive for you. There’s always a learning opportunity even with things you think you might not be enjoying.

 

You might absolutely be hating your part time job for example but think about what you're learning by being there. You might not be able to apply it at the moment but if you do something down the years, you'll be able to take those skills and hopefully apply it to your own business one day. All the skills that I learned working in part-time jobs through school have helped me build this business and made me stronger.

 

Since leaving Launch It, what have you been up to? Any special milestones to share?

 

I was very, very scared when I first moved into the Launch It hub. I was very scared of having to pay rent every month but quickly realised that the affordable rent space helped me really grow my business. It was a very small investment which really helped me grow.

 

I left Launch It before the two years was up because I needed a bigger space. I have since rented  another office space from an employability charity. I've taken a second room there, which I had as a separate stockroom, and then, as the business has grown, I've taken a third room, which is now a boutique shop within our office that customers can come into.

 

One Thursday and Saturday every month, we hold open days with customers which has been brilliant, because it means that I can meet with my customers, speak to them face to face, enjoy a little glass of fizz with them and really hear the pain points and get feedback. They get to try the garments and tell us what they love or don’t love about them. It just builds more of a community. That's been one of the big things that I've been able to achieve since moving into a bigger space.

 

Any dream collaboration or project?

 

Last year we had a pop-up shop in the Bravissimo store in Glasgow over Christmas. They are probably the market leader in fuller bust lingerie so it was really good for brand awareness amongst our ideal customers.

 

They have asked us to do that again in Glasgow in April. I would say one of my dream collaborations would be to do more of that with them.

 

We would also love to be able to wholesale the brand in the long term so that people, who that aren't local to us or who can't pop into our office boutique, can still shop in other stores but there's lots of things we need to get in place in order to be able to make that happen.

 

Go to www.fairliecurved.com or visit @fairliecurved on Instagram to get the latest updates and follow Jayne’s business journey.

38 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page