A designer who has worked with some of the most iconic brands.
One of the fascinating aspects of my job is that I meet so many different people from all walks of life. When that imaginary curtain is pulled back, and you’re faced with speaking to a stranger, you never really know if there will be a spark that ignites a conversation.
This year, we wanted to give back something to our readers in January, an opportunity to enter a competition for a feature. The winner of that competition was Lottie from Lottie Woods Design. Before the interview, I’d done my research, revealing an impressive background in design telling a story about a person who broke away from the chains of a nine to five. Lottie believed in her skills and decided to forge forward and start a service business of her own. Anyone who knows my story will draw a paradigm between us, I think it was that underlying feature that made my interview extra special. An underlying belief that it’s possible to work for yourself.
For someone who in her own words has to wear so many (metaphorical) hats in the context of running a business, she seemed calm, relaxed and very confident, something that I picked up on immediately. I was intrigued to get to know more about the person behind the business.
I have always been a creative, so it felt like a perfect match for me, from an early age I knew that I was creative and excelled in both art and textile at school, so fashion felt like an obvious step to take. After graduating from Nottingham Trent, I moved to London to work for high street suppliers. This gave me the experience that I needed to develop my skills in creating commercial clothing designs. It was a good opportunity to learn about the industry, travel, and allowed a period of growth, both professionally and personally.
While I am grateful for my time working for large suppliers, I felt that something was missing, that there was more for me to accomplish, almost a calling for a higher purpose. I wanted to connect with others who have a passion for sustainable fashion, so I left the constraints of having a full-time position and learned how to use my design skills to work for myself. A defining moment was getting my first design projects for independent brands, which built my confidence before launching my website and making it official, and my freelance design business has grown from there.
I had experienced the recruitment sector in a previous life, and one of my favourite questions that I asked candidates was; what advice would you give a younger version of yourself? This was a thought-provoking question for Lottie as there were a few moments of silence before she was forthcoming with an answer. Her advice would be: follow your instincts, play to your strengths, and be open to new opportunities. I got the impression that her words would resonate with a younger audience.
Stop dreaming, start doing.Lottie Woods
Time is a challenge to balance between taking on new projects and building the business from within. She referred to it as a steep ongoing learning curve. This seems to be a common denominator with so many people who I’ve interviewed for this magazine. Perhaps it’s a trait that separated those who prefered to work for themselves instead of working for others. Some of the qualities that I noted were her ability to take so-called creative breaks, draw from the people’s strengths and the community around her and to take breaks to enable a helicopter view when needed.
Instagram is her chosen platform which allows her to connect with startups and independent brands who identify with her message and need a helping hand. On many levels, Instagram seems like the perfect choice for design since allowing her to stay creative and make connections. I believe Instagram found Lottie rather than the other way round.
I think everyone would agree that 2020 has forced businesses to think more about change. There’s an interesting flip on the industries, particularly the high street. Retail as a sector has to listen to its customers, and they are demanding to know more about ethical production processes, something we have never seen on this scale before. There is a shift towards smaller independents who represent a cross-section of society, which has impacted design. Unfortunately, the traditional retail giants are falling as these voices are being heard in ever-growing numbers.
I want high streets to survive, but I think people will connect more towards independents and boutiques. I referred to the growth of pop up shops across key areas in London, and it sparked light into the conversation reimbursing her perspective.
Lottie offers a commercial eye and an understanding of creating wearable designs focused around her client’s briefs. She creates a safe space for developing ideas and helping to turn them into exciting real-life products. A wealth of experience brought into the mix can give a business a strategic advantage, avoiding many of the difficulties often associated with creating a new clothing range.
I was curious about the future of her consultancy business. She will continue to create tech packs and designs for clients while launching a new website later in the year with helpful downloadable resources that will give rise to a deeper and richer service experience. I am so intrigued by her unique take on resources such as a collection planner that I would like to follow up on her story. Our time was drawing to an end, and I was left with the feeling that I have known Lottie for years. Her determination and passion for developing an already successful consultancy business are notable, and I wish her every success in the future.