Simply the best dressed beds - it is like having a Savile Row-made set of linen. We focus on the fit, feel and experience of sleep.
How did it all begin?
As a sleep deprived junior lawyer, I became totally obsessed with any opportunity to sleep. I wanted to make sure that when I got a chance to go to bed, in my own bed, rather than in a hotel, I would have the best sleep and that nothing would detract from that wonderful feeling of falling into/sliding into the most heavenly bed and knowing you would be sound asleep in seconds. It became such an obsession that I started to look into every layer to ensure it would be perfect. It was not so much about buying the most expensive items, but more about hunting for the best made items, from pillows to duvets, linen and throws. All was meant to create the ultimate, most comfortable bed – a sleep haven. When I started my family, I wanted to make sure my babies had the same from the very start. By then I knew how important sleep was for everyone. This is what prompted me to launch Josephine Home as a business. Heavily pregnant, during my maternity leave, I was lucky to have a very loyal friend at Conde Nast who offered to do our launch party in Vogue’s terrific boardroom, with all the editors in tow. For us, this was a great opportunity to pre-test our products with the most discerning press and figure out whether this would be an endeavour worth pursuing after my maternity leave ended. It turned out that the simplicity of our products, combined with the British and European craftsmanship seemed to appeal to interior designers and their clients, so we launched Josephine Home as a bespoke supplier of all things related to bedding, supplying – rather unexpectedly – private planes, yachts and homes. We quickly realised that, as good as it was for us to be endorsed by bespoke clients and luxury hotels such as Mandarin Oriental or Soho House and many luxury boutique hotels, this would keep us away from our initial dream of offering the perfect sleep experience for as many people as possible. This is when we decided to launch a second, every day offering at a price much closer to home. And this is what Draper London is today: an incredibly well priced collection, which we hope packs a punch in terms of value and experience. Although we are lucky to look after high end designers and many famous (and we must admit rather lovely) clients, we are keen to ensure that people see our brand as accessible and worth discovering. Our next step is to broaden the range of products we offer in answer to our clients’ request who seem to love the ‘DNA’ of the brand.
What sets your business apart?
Our relentless focus on provenance, finishing and testing are what sets us apart as this is what delivers an experience, we think, second to none for all our clients, whether at Josephine Home or Draper London. The endorsement by the most demanding VIP and hoteliers in the world speaks for itself.
What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?
I was after incredibly comfortable and luxurious linen, but with an understated, elegant finish rather than an overload of loud designs, so it would fit seamlessly in any decor. Most white linen looked and felt too basic, it was impossible to find the quality I was after without going down the bespoke or vintage route… so I did it. Linen made like they used to make it, for modern, every day life.
Where to next/What is your brand vision?
We would like to grow the brand into a well loved British staple, a true modern luxury like an Aesop (though this one is from down under), Huntsman for suits or Hunter for wellies. You know 100% in advance that you get what you are expecting: beyond the best for your money and best for the ‘job.’ It’s all about getting back to the ‘real McCoy’ – the true experiences, the lovingly made products and an almost emotional relationship with the brand.
Josephine Home & Draper London
What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?
Quality of life in all its aspects – Time well spent.
Share an example of early life that has shaped you?
My mother and my grandmother were both fastidious about provenance and quality, whether it was about home grown food or beautifully appointed home or uniquely well made clothes. They both believed in spending a bit more and instilled the idea that true luxury only gets better with time, and that true style never goes out of fashion. Equally, they both believed that luxury should be worn lightly to be truly elegant.
Highlights of your business journey so far?
Over 10 years, we have had more highlights than I could list, but some of the most memorable ones were getting a call on Boxing Day from the drummer of Guns’n Roses to ask about our thread-count (we were all in bed, with our two toddlers having a giggle…thinking it was a practical joke from a friend of ours.) Another was to wake up to find that Lucia van der Post in the luxury column of the Financial Times’ How to Spend it had written a piece on Josephine Home, calling us the ‘Chanel No.5 of bedlinen.’ Other exciting moments included supplying a number of the most famous singers, actors, sportsmen/women you can think of! We are always thrilled to be asked, but remain reluctant to overshare – so the secrets stay with us. Sorry!
Key lessons you have learned along the way?
Every day is a new day, bringing fresh challenges and opportunities, so it is really about staying level-headed at every turn, while celebrating the happy moments with our team and family. Other lessons, learnt the hard way, are to always choose your partners very carefully and to remember that cash is indeed king. Finally, your brand is only as good as the people you employ, from manufacturing to customer service.
Best piece of advice you have received?
I was told, just as I started the business, by my friend and business owner Patrick O’Flagherty (of the gorgeous organic juice brand Pip Organic) to always keep a cool head – on high and low days alike. Things can move very quickly for entrepreneurs, so a level head is essential. You simply can’t solve problems if you lose your cool!
Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?
I would always recommend getting some experience of the field you want to get into so you can assess the reality of the business. I wish I had worked at Ralph Lauren before launching mine!
What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?
We opted for a low key funding route, preferring to invest our own funds to prove the concept and then extending to friends & family further down the line as we started to look at expanding.
Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
Launching and running a luxury brand is expensive and definitely not something one can do within a couple of years. One has to do the right thing, at all times, for the brand and give it time. Only time reveals which brands will stand that all important test!
Why is it important to support women-led business?
Women face so many challenges, from having to seriously multi-task (we can’t ignore family & home demands when running a business, certainly at the early stage, when support is harder to come by ) so it is great to see women helping each other. Funding is another area where women-led business get 1/10th of the attention men-led business receive, despite women being proven to be much less likely than men to fail as we are more risk-aware.