Emma Harris, the British luxury lingerie atelier, celebrates its 10th anniversary!
Claire Emma, founder and director reflected on the last 10 years when we spoke to her recently:
On getting started….
’10 years ago, I returned from maternity leave with fresh ideas & determination that I would leave the harsh, fast fashion industry well & truly behind me. Although the industry had provided a wealth of experience & much financial gain, I was ready for a new challenge.
I turned my skills to a design & sampling service, which those close to me thought was a huge step down from co-directing multi million pound manufacturers. But personally, this new venture worked well around childcare & provided an enjoyable working experience. It was also clear, that although historically I had worked in outerwear, lingerie & loungewear provided me with a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment.
Having skills in design, pattern cutting & manufacture, my client base grew rapidly. I began working with Lucile, Ayten Gasson, Fred & Ginger, Gilda & Pearl & several other lingerie & loungewear luxury brands. It was not long before my clients urged me to take the next step & provide them with small unit manufacture. After much consideration I looked for a local studio.
On 4th of July 2011, I received the keys for a small studio. I moved in with 4 industrial sewing machines, a cutting desk, a design desk & heaps of determination. My first studio is a far cry from the roomy, dual floored studio which my business now operates from.
My business has seen many changes over the years, it has evolved from being a manufacturer, supplying other luxury brands with a design, sampling and sewing service, to being a luxury lingerie brand in its own entity.
On how the business has evolved ….
‘As a business owner, you regularly take a step back, look at the business and analyse what is needed to create further growth. With website sales growing organically and marketplaces, such as Wolf & Badger providing further growth, over time my attention turned to wholesale orders and with the help of Helen from Pudding Lingerie, we reached out to new stockists. I am proud to now be stocked by retailers as diverse as Fenwick of Bond Street in London, Anya Lust in the US and top independent stores such as Chameleon , Doux Amour , Ouh La La and Linda Rose.
More recently, with more focus on Emma Harris, we have had to reduce the supply to other brands, Covid also had a huge impact in decisions as clients cancelled their orders. Over the years, a working relationship with Gilda & Pearl has grown. This proved invaluable during the last troublesome business year. Having additional production to sew certainly helped keep the manufacturing side of the business going.
“Ten years is a huge milestone and after the past year, it is an achievement that I am very proud of ~ Claire Emma Harris”