Farm diversification: Daisy Siggers of Frnak & Grace, Kelvedon, gets head-start with farm’s fake fur fashion
- Credit: Michael Lake/Lens & Hound
Daisy Siggers decided to put her fashion know-how to good use when she launched her online farm-based clothing business last year.
Daisy, based in a workshop on her family’s 480-hectare arable farm in Kelvedon, near Colchester, decided to make high-quality faux fur and traditional tweeds the centrepiece of Frank & Grace’s AW17 collection.
The collection, including snoods, scarves, headbands, gilets, and faux fur fedora ferret attachments, is all made in the UK.
Daisy is a graduate of the London College of Fashion and used to worked in Savile Row before taking a career break to have her two children.
“The inspiration for all of my clothing comes from the desire to feel warm, but to be fashionable, and reflect my passion for country living,” she said.
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“Essentially the clothing I make is for me: if it’s warm and I feel stylish wearing it, then I think other people will like to wear it too.”
The brand is already gaining interest on and offline from fashion magazines and bloggers.
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“The inspiration for my first ever piece came from a High Street snood, which featured some really not very nice faux fur and really nasty lining, but I loved it because it was so warm,” she said.
“I started to think it would look really good in tweed, started to look into using some really beautiful, very high quality faux fur, and put a twist in it.”
The long-term objective is to become a highly recognised countryside clothing brand, but Daisy is keen that Frank & Grace retains the high-level customer care she offers as a new and growing business.
“All of our products are made to order by a very small team, and it means that we can keep control of the quality,” she said.
“I personally check everything before it goes out. And while the business is small it means we can react quickly and create new products to demand.”
Her husband, Henry, joked that his friends wouldn’t put his name and fashion together in the same sentence, but the couple decided over a glass of wine to make something out of Daisy’s business ambition and launched it online in October 2016.
“My fashion is checked shirts, jeans, and V-necked jumpers. It’s not something I’ve got any idea in, but Daisy has studied it and has a deep passion for it. It’s great to see her dream beginning to bloom,” he said.
“There’s not a huge amount of time for this with the farm business and two young kids, but this is a company for Daisy to show off her talent and make something from it. It can also be flexible around the kids, and because the main focus is on winter clothing it will peak when the farm business is in a quieter period.
“Starting a new business is all about cashflow. You can have the best idea in the world, but if you can’t support that business and get it off the ground then it’ll fail.
“Many perfectly legitimate businesses and ideas fall by the wayside because of a lack of cashflow.
“We’re in a very fortunate position where what we do on the farm allows us to set this up. We don’t have to make a profit from year one, so we are definitely thinking about the bigger picture.
“The next two winters are going to be the test and then we can see where we are and where we can go. The aim is on East Anglia this winter and then to push out from there the year after. We’re looking at also getting into Christmas fairs, but the aim is to be at the likes of Badminton and Burghley.”
It’s enjoyable having an interest outside of the farm, said Henry.
“While my parents are partners in the farm business, this is ours, Daisy’s baby, but it gives us another interest. We farm 480 hectares, we’re continuous milling wheat growers. You are just flat out all the time, the workload is never broken up by other crops – apart from three months in the winter.”
While the couple are keen on natural growth, Henry says the “ultimate dream” is to build Frank & Grace as a brand, and eventually sell the business lock, stock and barrel.