Girlbosses of Great Britain : The One with Zoe Glencross
Girlbosses of Great Britain : The One with Zoe Glencross
A move from Manchester to the meadows of Cheshire meant a real lifestyle change for Zoe Glencross. Being surrounded by massive skies and wildlife inspired her to create.
A move from Manchester to the meadows of Cheshire meant a real lifestyle change for Zoe Glencross. Being surrounded by massive skies and wildlife inspired her to create. She has always loved interiors and following her move she seized the opportunity to learn the craft of fabric design and print, combining her love of colour, paint and fabric.
Since then, she has grown an incredible brand and we spent some time with her to find out more…
Tell us the journey that lead you to launching your brand, Zoe Glencross…
My background was retail buying, marketing and sales. I was not trained as a designer – I have a law degree. After a move to the countryside I attended a day fabric design course. I absolutely fell in love with the craft. I began hand printing fabric at the kitchen table and wanted to learn more and develop my skills. I found someone in Manchester to teach me to screen print on a one to one basis. I then bought screens and printing equipment and set up in the garage at home. After selling some individual prints I decided to try to develop a fabric collection for interiors. I had always loved interiors, fabric and paint so this was the perfect way to combine them all. I spent time researching UK textile manufacturing and after finding the right partners to work with produced samples which we photographed (with a friend who is a photographer) then built the website myself. It was a journey of learning so many new skills – a big challenge but I was on a mission! It was so satisfying to launch in June 2015 and it’s been and exciting journey ever since with lots of highs and many challenges!!
All of your products are made in England and this is great, why was that important to you?
Britain is of course where the textiles industry first began and living in the North West England meant that I was lucky enough to be quite close to some of the key remaining textile manufacturers. During the development stage it was important to me to visit them personally in order to find the right manufacturing partner. I was very much struck by the skill and dedication of the folks who work in this industry. I really appreciated how many years of experience and knowledge they had. It was important to have faith in their ability to translate my hand printed designs into higher volume production. I really wanted to support British businesses and be able to easily visit them as the fabric was being produced. It became a no brainer to make here in the UK – I didn’t even consider making overseas. Plus having started my business at my kitchen table it seemed right to build a truly British brand.
Which item is your best seller?
Our natural linens sell really well – in particular our rural inspired prints such as the cowparsley as well as our stripes. Blues are always popular too.
Talk us through an average day in your life…
Well there’s a question! My day begins with a cup of tea in bed where I check my emails and update my list of the day’s priorities – this is my 10 mins of peace during which to wake up and take some time to think about the day ahead. Once I’m up I tend to be dashing about at speed which starts with a school run. I then either try to go for a run or quickly clear up the kitchen before heading into the office. Like many working mums there’s a lot of multi-tasking and juggling going on so you can be emailing someone one minute and putting a wash on the next.
I then might be dealing with customer calls or emails about colour and design advice or talking to the factory about new developments . I might be discussing stock levels and product developments with my colleague Caroline. We are always trying to look at new, better ways of working as well as develop new product and consider new working relationships and opportunities. I’m currently looking ahead to spring, thinking about how I’d like to plan a photoshoot for a new brochure featuring some new designs that we’re soon to launch. No day is the same though – my focus has to change all the time depending on the time of year or what is happening that week.
How often do you release new products and what’s the process behind this?
We try to bring out new colour ways in fabric once or twice a year seasonally but I have new designs in work right now which will add to the collections. Last year we launched our Elements collection as well as a capsule wallpaper collection. This year we added beach bags for the summer and scented candles.
What does self care mean to you?
I’ve learnt that regular exercise – running in particular ( prior to Covid attending group exercise classes), is really important to my well being. When life gets busy and challenging, as it has been this year, this has been vital to how well I feel able to respond to what’s going on. I’ve also learnt that I really need to be around people and close friends. Sometimes running a business like this has been quite lonely but as the business has grown I’ve had more regular connections with people which I really enjoy and thrive on. Designing is an independent, singular process where I need to be alone but everything else about this business is definitely better done with others and as a team.
How has Covid affected your business and have you had to pivot in anyway?
Inevitably whilst stuck at home people were keen to dedicate some time and effort to thinking about their home interior. Lockdown intensified everything so the pace at which we were working became much faster both in terms of handling increased order volumes and dealing with enquires but also bringing customers and our social media followers newness and inspiring creative ideas for their interiors. I felt that we had to do our best to bring people something fresh, new and sometimes entertaining on social media! We loved running weekly remnant sales for our offcuts of fabric that might otherwise be sold as folded small pieces in our showroom. These sales were so popular and it felt good to know that people were getting their sewing machines out to make something unique during lockdown with these pieces.
Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?
I LOVE to travel and have taken inspiration from my travels both in terms of design and colour. My favourite places are Paris, Palma Tanzania and France. Top of my bucket list is Rio! I’ve always wanted to go to the carnival and join in the dancing!
Find out more...
Follow us on Instagram for all the latest behind the scenes and take a look at our fabric and homewares collections at www.zoeglencross.com
Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.