How was Creature Clothes born and what inspired you to start your own business?
I wasn’t a big fan of school, so when it came to the end of Sixth Form I was desperate to go and do my own thing. Now I wish I had applied to University as I think it’s an interesting and important way to spend 3 years. I started making things out of waste paper – reusing and up cycling way before it was cool (about 17 years ago), greeting cards and Christmas decorations which I sold to Liberty of London. Before I knew it I was in business.
I started Creature Clothes out of necessity – I couldn’t find any cool collars for my dog Vodka so I made one out of an old necklace and a plain black leather collar. I had strangers on the tube asking how they could buy one too and offering me hard cash in exchange for that very collar – that’s when I knew I was on to something! We still sell that very same collar design – black leather with silver stars.
What’s the best thing about being a Lifestyle Designer?
I’ve never really done anything else. I design what I need. I can’t help designing and making things – I’m very particular about what I like and can’t often find what I want in a shop, so I tend to make it, then other people ask where I got it and quite often that is how new ranges are born – the kids collection for example grew out of a belt I made for my daughter out of a dog collar. I’d say the best thing is the interesting and madly creative people that I meet through my work – the worst thing is that it is all consuming. It feels like I am always working because my work is my passion.
Describe a typical day for you
My alarm goes off at 6.30 a.m., (hopefully if I’ve not been woken up already by a small person) I try to catch up with emails before the rest of the house wakes, then we all have breakfast listening to 6 Music while Nick and I plan our day.
We walk our daughters to nursery with our dog Stolli. Our youngest daughter is only two years-old so we share childcare – I normally work in the mornings while Nick hits the playgroups with Juniper, then after lunch I head out with Juniper and we go looking for design inspiration or things to write about on my blog – http://cosima-pole.blogspot.co.uk/ or if it’s sunny we head up to Victoria Park with Stolli and collar watch – see what the cool dogs are wearing (usually Creature Clothes!). I pick up Ru our four year-old mid-afternoon and we head to do something fun, normally dancing or gymnastics. Most after school activities have wifi available, so I catch up on more work while my daughters dance, jump and jive, then its home time for a big noisy family supper and more dancing. Once the girls are tucked up in bed it’s back to my desk to design graphics or work on new ideas, packaging, update the Creature Clothes website and write our newsletters. I normally crash out at between midnight and 2 a.m.
Do you have a favourite product that you sell?
I love our WOOF Dog Doza – red on black, and our classic leather studded dog collars – silver stars on red.
How did you come up with the name?
The name just popped into my head, and I liked the concept that a collar is all the clothing a dog needs. At the time actual clothes for dogs weren’t the norm, but now things have changed somewhat…
Do you have anything exciting in the pipeline?
YES! But I’m not telling you what until it’s launched. It’s very cool though…
Do you have any pets?
Yes, my Black Labrador Stolli. She is the ‘Chief Product Tester’ for Creature Clothes and also appears on Mud Men (History Channel) with my husband. She tweets for us too! Follow @StolliMudHound to get the latest news about Creature Clothes.
What would your tip be for anyone wanting to start their own brand?
Get some sleep first! It becomes a rare thing… especially with two small kids in the mix!