UNIMPRESSED by what the high street had to offer, new mum Laura Newman got herself sewing lessons and set about making her own baby clothes.
Three years on, the mother-of-three has turned her hobby into a £1million business loved by celebrities including Amy Childs, Rochelle Humes, Abbey Clancy and Mrs Hinch.
Laura Newman learnt to sew while on maternity leave and now has a company turning over £1.5m[/caption]
What started from Laura’s dining room table in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, is now a fashion empire turning over £1.5million and employing 20 people.
Called Forever Sewing, 23-year-old Laura runs it with husband Adam, 34. And to celebrate their success they finally had the glamorous wedding of their dreams in Cyprus last year.
Laura mum to son Nate, three, and four-month-old twins Addy and Aubry, says: “I started out without a clue what to do, but I’d always wanted to sew.
“I didn’t like any of the boys’ clothes in the shops. I like really plain clothes that are a slim fit.
“So I borrowed £1,000 from Adam for some one-to-one lessons, along with late nights watching YouTube tutorials in between the feeds. I was lucky Nate was a really good sleeper.
“Before I knew it I had purchased my own sewing machine and set up on my dining room table.
“Every evening once Nate’s bed time rolled round, I would be sewing until the early hours.”
A year later, in January 2017, Laura and Adam, then a painter and decorator, decided to start selling her creations.
Specialising in personalised loungewear with initials sewn into the leg and left of the chest, Laura’s baby outfits started at £11.
Soon she was raking in £1,000 of orders a day.
Laura, who previously worked for a home furnishing company, says: “In the first week, I took £2,000 in orders. It went up to £1,000 a day by the first month. People loved the design and they told their friends.
“I contacted celebrities and bloggers with lots of Instagram followers and they accepted a gift of our clothing and we hoped they’d post a picture. When they did, it just went crazy.
It wasn’t until January 2017 that Laura and Adam decided to start selling the fashion creations[/caption]
“Some people ordered three colours, others five, or they’d have them all.”
Celebs including Amy Childs and Stephanie Davis shared photos of some of the matching mother and baby outfits on Instagram.
Soon Laura was taking up to £50,000 a month in orders.
She says: “It started to get a fanbase on social media with followers like Stacey Solomon, Rochelle Humes, Abbey Clancy, Jessica Hayes and Mrs Hinch.
“I was doing everything. Nate would go to bed at 7pm, then on a Monday I would cut my orders, Tuesday I would embroider, Wednesday I would sew, Thursday I would inspect them, and Friday was post day.
“I had a four-week turnaround as there was a lot for me to get through. I was probably surviving on about an hour’s worth of sleep a night.
“I don’t know how I did it. I did have the support of Adam and my family, who would come round so I could nap throughout the day.
“It was hard. In the end I was exhausted and like a zombie.”
The company makes personalised matching lounge suits for mums and babies[/caption]
In April 2017, four months after launching the business, Laura reached breaking point — realising she was missing out on time with Nate. She shut the website and advertised on social media for staff. Adam gave up his job to help run the business and it reopened in May 2017.
Laura says: “I was really worried about how we were going to do it. At first we limited weekly online orders to £10,000 (£1k?) but we reached that in 20 minutes so we increased it to £5,000 a day after a few months.
“Adam and I were running fabric to the machinists, ensuring every order was back with us to be checked, and we would post them to customers.”
In October 2018, the couple found an office near their four-bedroom home and they now employ 20 staff.
- Be original
- Don’t walk away when times are hard
- Make a plan and always revert back to it
- Never be scared to take a risk if you believe in what you are doing
- Work hard – nothing in life is free
This month they celebrated turning over £1.5million.
Laura says: “Many years ago there were a lot of machinists in this area. A lot were working in call centres because factories had shut down and they were desperate to get back into it.
“I don’t sew now, as they have many years’ experience and the quality of the garments is a lot better.
“I’m just overseeing things and I still keep my relations with a lot of people on social media.”
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Laura, who has been with Adam for eight years, says her sleepless night’s paid off: “It’s all been worth it. Last year we celebrated by getting married. We’d put it off for years.
“We paid for our immediate family to fly to Cyprus. We had a reception on a private boat in the Mediterranean. It cost about £35,000. It was great to not have to worry about how we would pay for it.
“But my motivation has always been our family. We want to enjoy our children every day and be able to provide them the best life we can.”
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