Wednesday 14 January 2015

B&S Meets...Tweedy Gromett

It's been a busy year for designer Julie Gromett. After competing on BBC2's Great British Sewing Bee, the self-professed 'Unruly Northerner' decided to found her very own children's brand - and Tweedy Gromett was born. This season, Julie will be showcasing her debut collection at Bubble London - not to mention competing for another coveted title, that of Bubble Rising Star! We've been talking tweed, trade shows and TV-stardom with the 'sewing-room rebel'...

Julie, when did you decide to found Tweedy Gromett? 

Tweedy Gromett was created in May 2014, shortly after the Sewing Bee had been aired. While I was on the show, I was being constantly tweeted about the clothes I wore. The waistcoat I wore on the first episode received lots of comments, as it was a little different to the standard waistcoat. I actually adapted the pattern from a tennis dress! After I left the show I made my 5 month old grandson a tweed waistcoat, and lined it with London guards as his dad was from London. My daughter put it on Facebook, and everyone was liking it and asking where she had got it from. It then occurred to me that maybe there was a market for this type of thing.I did some research and found there was little or no tweed for babies or toddlers - mainly because traditionally, tweed is quite a harsh fabric. But if you choose a light weight tweed and combine it with a soft cotton, it is fabulous.

Why tweed?

Tweed is something I have always worn and I have always been a fan of country clothes, so it seemed the natural fabric to work with for me.

What challenges have you faced in the course of launching your brand? 

The biggest challenge I have faced so far, is planning my year and keeping control of cashflow. As a new business, it's important not to get carried away with ordering stock and fabrics, and only spend what you can afford. Patience is a virtue and if you develop your business at a pace you can keep control of, it's much more likely to have a healthy bank balance and flourish.

Did you enjoy your time on The Great British Sewing Bee? 

Being a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee is something I will never forget. It sounds a bit of a clich├ęd, but we all really bonded and I now have friends for life. The highlight of the show was winning garment of the week in the very first episode, especially since it was silk and I hate working with silk. I'm lucky; I learnt to sew with difficult fabrics because my daughter was a ballroom dancer and I could never get a dress made on time - so being the Have-a-go-Harry that I am, I decided to make them myself. It was all chiffon and silk, so I was familiar with the difficulties silk poses.

What advice would you give to someone launching a kid's brand?

If I were to give one piece of advice to someone who was thinking of launching a kid's brand, firstly it would be, a) don't use tweed, that's my neck of the woods. b) Think of something you really love and whatever you decide to produce, somehow, use a little bit of that in it. Clothes made with passion are always better than a run of the mill production line. Every waistcoat or garment I design, I'm convinced it my favourite.

Are you looking forward to Bubble London this February?

I am so excited about Bubble London. Although I have had stands at all the big equestrian and country shows this year, this is my first trade show - so where better to display my goods than London! I am also very excited about the opportunity to present to buyers as part of the Perfect Pitch Programme. Some people think I am mad putting myself under pressure, but I just love an audience!

Julie will be delivering her Perfect Pitch on Monday 2nd - stay tuned for the full line-up!

Register for your free ticket to February's show here...

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