Discover: Jennifer Clair
~ British Couture at it's finest ~
What inspired you to launch your brand?
Since I was a young girl I wanted to be a fashion designer. I was always designing in my schoolbooks or rummaging in my Nanna's sewing kit to make purses or trinkets. As cliché as it may seem, I always knew I wanted to have my own fashion brand.
Throughout university and my twenties, I worked for a Haute Couture brand. Learning about the beautiful craft and artistry, I knew that couture is where my heart lied. It is an art form that shouldn't ever vanish and this thought is inspiring for me. To not let something beautiful disappear.
What do you love most about your work?
The words from a happy client are priceless. Their words of appreciation and how special we make them feel is one of the things I love most about my work.
Additionally, I love discovering new techniques and sustainable materials. Yet most of all, I love discussing all these ideas with my team. I love creative conversation and excitement about the possibilities of our work.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I am inspired when I travel; the nature, architecture and art of different countries. Also gaining new perspectives when immersed in another culture brings new ideas. All these things bring me tranquillity and clarity to be creative.
Also I am inspired by classic films such as; ‘Sabrina’, ‘To catch a thief’ and ‘Rear Window’. The grace of the actresses and attention to detail of the outfits are captivating.
What brings you joy besides your work?
Many things bring me joy; food, travel, sport, music, film. Yet most of all, people bring me joy. I wouldn't be where I am without my supportive friends and family. I am so grateful I am able to share my success and likewise support them with their passion and goals. So yes, there are many things in life that make me happy, but most of all it's the people I share all those moments with.
How did COVID-19 impact your work?
It was very difficult not being able to travel. We have many international clients and not being able to see them was challenging. Even with the use of technology, nothing compares to presenting my work in person. Seeing the designs in real life and explaining my inspiration is the best way to secure sales.
But moreso it was difficult mentally to keep morale and motivation. Some of the team caught Covid-19, some of us lost loved ones. Motivating everyone whilst ensuring business continued was challenging. Especially with handling my own personal losses. Creative flow was difficult to maintain when not feeling complete.
I learned to ask for help, that although my team appreciated me to be their rock, they were also there for me too.
The year had many difficult moments, though it has made me feel very thankful. Our team are stronger, closer and ready for anything the future brings.
What advice do you have for other brands who can't work as normal right now?
My advice would be to not panic. The ‘problem solving’ and ‘adapting to the new environment’ will not help if not thinking clear. We are all frustrated, including our customers. We need to show them that we still care and that they are not forgotten. With videos of their dresses coming to life and digital avatars, we can keep out customers excited and engaged.
We have to make sure that we keep our customers calm and don’t panic to impress them. There are limits to what we can achieve. Going too far to impress a customer, who could be asking for something impossible, could be detriment to your business and employees. The aim is to keep standing. Take calculated risks yes, but stay level-headed and don’t be afraid to say no.
Tell us about a small business you like and needs a little love right now.
Poochieannas is a new dog-wear brand that started in 2020. As a dog owner herself, Anna Nelson noticed there was a need for dog raincoats and fleeces. Dog clothing was more than being pretty to look at, but also securely waterproof and comfortable for the animal.
Her strong work ethic and exemplary service is why she deserves all the success for her company. You can follow her on instagram on: @poochieannas
Find out more on Jenifer Clair on her website: https://jennifer-clair.com/