Yawn is a new British luxury nightwear brand founded by Alice Whiteley. Inspired by pastel beach huts, favourite novels, daydreaming and rainy day games; the Yawn collection has its heart in England and its head in the clouds. We spoke to Alice to find out how the brand began...
What led to the formation of Yawn?
I was a tired working mum. Wandering around a department store with some rare time off I hunted high and low for some PJs and realised there was a gap in the market for a characterful, colourful brand all about the joys of relaxation. The first critical step after having the idea and researching the market was getting my co-founders on board – Phil and Roly run a design agency and are brilliant at branding and design.
I started as a management consultant at McKinsey - working with big businesses. Since then I have worked in media and retail. I have always been interested in innovation and start-ups. Before starting Yawn I was working as an independent consultant.
Have you always been interested in fashion?
I have three brothers so fashion wasn’t a feature of my childhood! However, I have always been interested in creativity and design.
What have been the highest and lowest points on your journey so far?
The highs are working with great people and building something together that didn’t exist before. The lows relate to all the inevitable paperwork, admin and financing headaches that go with starting a business. Ugh!
What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?
For AW15 we took our inspiration from childhood holidays on the British seaside – in my case in beautiful Devon. The simplest pleasures often make for the best moments and memories – such as playing cards with friends and enjoying massive picnics on the beach.
Do you ever struggle to stay inspired?
No – I am constantly finding inspiration from all around me – the struggle is switching off!
Where is your go-to meeting spot?
Prufrock Coffee in Leather Lane – I love the relaxed vibe, the coffee and the avocado on toast.
How would you describe your customer base?
Thoughtful, intelligent and warm – typically over thirty. We are constantly delighted by how lovely our customers are and their generous support.
Is there anyone you would love to see wearing your designs?
We would love to see Carey Mulligan, Rachel Weisz, Adele or Sophie Dahl wearing Yawn at bedtime. All four are fabulously talented, British and extremely busy so it would be lovely to help them switch off!
What are the morals you run your brand by?
Be kind, be honest, work hard.
Do you have a mentor?
I think building strong relationships is everything. I am lucky to have lots of mentors from family and friends (who really tell you the truth) to people I have worked with over the years.
What apps keep you sane?
None – I prefer to stay off technology where possible.
If you could only wear one piece from your collection, what would it be and why?
I am currently wearing our chambray PJs – they are unbelievably comfortable and I genuinely look forward to putting them on at night.
What’s the biggest style mistake you’ve ever made?
Hee hee – I am sure too many to mention but it isn’t something I would ever think about. Life’s too short!
Is there another designer whose work you particularly admire?
Ally Capellino – her bags are a thing of beauty and so functional. Style and substance.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Be patient - focus on the baby steps you need to take to get where you want to go and ultimately you will get there.
What drew you to Wolf & Badger?
Your extremely stylish and well curated site.
Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
Bigger, bolder and more beautiful.