The March Series - Kim Critchen
TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY THIS YEAR, WE INTERVIEWED SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE CREATIVE BUSINESS WOMEN TO #PRESSFORPROGRESS. EACH WEEK FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH, WE WILL BE POSTING A NEW INTERVIEW TO CREATE THE MARCH SERIES, TALKING TO EACH OF THESE INSPIRING WOMEN ABOUT THEIR JOURNEY CREATING THEIR OWN RIPPLES IN CREATIVE BUSINESS.
WE INTERVIEWED KIM CRITCHEN, ONE HALF OF A TALENTED SISTER DUO WHO IS MAKING WAVES IN ETHICAL, SLOW FASHION. IN FOUNDLING, THE DUO HAVE CAPTURED THEIR EXTENSIVE TRAVELS IN STUNNING PIECES, ALL CREATED WITH LOVE FROM ETHICALLY SOURCED LABOUR AND TEXTILES. DOCUMENTING THEIR SOURCING TRIPS THROUGH REMOTE INDIAN PROVENCES, KIM IS ONE OF THOSE CREATIVES WHO HAVE AN EXTRAORDINARY EYE FOR THE BEAUTIFUL, THE QUIRKY AND THE HUMAN ELEMENT IN ANY MEDUIM.
LILLI INTERVIEWED KIM FROM HER BYRON BAY STUDIO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HER JOURNEY AS A CREATIVE WOMAN IN BUSINESS.
LILLI : Thank you so much for being part of our March Series Kim! We've been huge fans of Foundling for a while now.
KIM : Pleasure, thank you for including us!
L : So what are you most excited about in life right now?
K : Probably the next school holidays, as our kids get older they may not want to travel with us tooo much longer, so we aim to make the next few holidays memorable whilst they do. We’ve booked to take them to the Songkran Festival in Chiang Mai this Easter.
L : What inspired you to start Foundling?
K : Initially, Foundling was envisioned as a loungewear business but the clothing range kind of evolved along the way when we realised the demand for Indian prints and indian cotton. What we had really wanted to achieve was to create pieces that people would still love to wear season after season, both from a longevity and quality perspective and with cuts that were timeless and practical.
L : What's your favourite piece from the current collection?
K : Hands down the hanako harem pant, I'm not a big dress wearer and I have a penchant for lounge pants, these are so comfortable, timeless and cool to wear on a hot day, i love them.
L : Take us through a day in your shoes.
K : Typically its a long day as liaising with India means work doesn't really end until 11pm. I start around 6am by checking anything that's come in overnight for approval or action. The day will then consist of everything from customer service to garment fittings, website meetings, social media, checking colours and trims to packing earrings. It’s a busy little office with just three of us managing across the board.
L : Has anything surprised you in the journey of starting your own business?
K : Its both an exhausting and liberating journey, you are forced to find skills you didn't have and what has been most surprising is the patience and help from our wonderful teams in India..without which we couldn't have made it to where we are today, they are like family to us now.
L : What's one thing you wish you knew how to do?
K : .... sew!
L : Favourite design trend at the moment?
K : Would have to be conscious consumerism, I'm not sure that the passion for being a conscious consumer is as developed in the fashion realm as it is in for example the food industry, but I have every confidence that with each passing year, our collective appetite for transparency will evolve and become more powerful. One day when the high street labels are forced either through legislation or consumer demand, to manufacture ethically, the world will be a much nicer place and everyone can compete on an even playing field.
L : Tell us about the intimidating process of money. How did you fund your start up? Any advice for other start ups?
K : We actually used savings to start the business, so we had a finite amount of money and we had to carefully budget to achieve the launch range, it helped that we both came from a marketing background and that we were so conscious that there was no more money in the pot should the launch fail, thankfully it was a great success.
L : What was your first position out of Uni?
K : With what was then known as DDB Needham in Sydney working as an account coordinator. I'd completed an internship with them whilst I was still at Uni and the account manager in charge of hiring tracked me down..my first job was writing to the hundreds of other applicants to inform them that the position was filled, that was when they realised that I didn't know how to format a letter in word, touch type or use a fax machine! They didn't really teach us that at uni.
L : What's your biggest 'pinch me' moment in business so far?
K : We've just done a shoot with Majestic Order in the Joshua Tree, we were pretty thrilled to be approached by them and I can't wait to see the first shots.
L : What are you reading right now?
K : Right now, I'm reading 'The Glass Palace' - a novel about the occupation of Burma and how the Indian culture eventually integrated with the Burmese.
L : What song is on repeat?
K : I have limited skills with Spotify but i have a little playlist filled with Neil Young, Rodriguez and Fleetwood Mac.
L : Next travel destination?
K : Thailand - for the Songkran Festival in Chiang Mai, a bit of island time in Koh Yao Yai then over to Bangkok for some city time.
LILLI : RESTAURANT OR BEACH PICNIC? KIM : WELL... I LOVE GOING TO THE BEACH, BUT A RESTAURANT FOR EATING!
POP OR ROCK? POP
COLOUR OR NEUTRAL? NEUTRAL
VINTAGE OR NEW? VINTAGE
LEATHER OR LACE? LEATHER
PICASSO OR MONET? PICASSO
AFTERNOON COCKTAILS OR MORNING COFFEE? MAYBE A 5PM WINE, I CAN'T DRINK COCKTAILS!
WHATS YOUR COFFEE ORDER? BY AND LARGE, I MAKE MY OWN COFFEE ON A STOVETOP ESPRESSO, I CAN REALLY APPRECIATE A GOOD COFFEE BUT I DONT HAVE THE MONEY OR INCLINATION TO GO AND BUY ONE VERY OFTEN.
WINE - RED OR WHITE? ROSE OR WHITE, RED IN WINTER, EVERYTHING EXCEPT BUBBLES
IF YOU COULD RAID ANYONE'S CLOSET, WHO WOULD IT BE? ISABELLE MARANT
ROSES OR PEONIES? PEONIES
AND FINALLY, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN STYLE IN 3 WORDS? NOSTALGIC, PRACTICAL, ECLECTIC
SPECIAL THANKS TO KIM FOR BEING PART OF OUR SERIES AND FOR SUPPLYING HER BEAUTIFUL IMAGES.