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NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE CHATS TO // LUCY KNIGHTS | Born At Dawn

Photo: Leonie Freeman Photography.

Meet Lucy Knights,  Founder of online concept store and personal shopping shopping experience – BORN AT DAWN

Lucy is bringing to you focused, effortless style with a personal touch. A brilliant concept that I’ve seen grow from idea to launch and beyond. (All whilst juggling being a Mum of two gorgeous girls – that’s Mum-Boss inspiration right there!)

We talk to Lucy about the ideas behind Born At Dawn, the meaning behind the brand name and there’s also a treat for our readers in there too!

CB: Please introduce yourself and your concept.
LK: I’m a Northern girl that calls London home and has done for the last 13 years. I grew up in Warrington, Cheshire but these days I live in Walthamstow with my husband Adam and my 2 little girls, Lilia and Pixie Rose. As well as spending time with my family, when I get chance I love playing the host and entertaining- I love bringing our friends together.

I’ve always loved fashion retail, ever since I got my first part time job in a boutique near where I lived (It was in a chain called Morgan if any of you remember it?). I loved clothes, the customers, the buzz and how every day was different. I was always drawn back to it, so following doing a Business Degree at Sheffield University, I completed a Retail Management Graduate Scheme, was a manager at GAP’s flagship store and then spent 8 years at Harrods driving their Womenswear sales and strategy.

I launched BORN AT DAWN at the end of February this year. The mission is to bring focused, effortless style with a personal touch. The collection is mostly Scandinavian and French inspired brands and is centred around wardrobe heroes- beautiful, easy-to-wear clothes that can take you from day to night. All the pieces can be worn multiple times and in different ways, giving you endless options.

A “Night In” experience in also available in selected parts of London for customers that prefer to touch and feel the product before buying. A chance to book in an evening for us to bring the collection to you so that you can invite your friends over for a catch up, have a glass of Prosecco and shop all in the luxury of your own home.

CB: Brand names are a really important first impression of what you’re about, so how did you come up with your online alias/brand name?
LK: It is incredibly hard to choose a brand name! The reason I liked BORN AT DAWN is because it had multifaceted meanings behind it that were special to me. In business terms, it represents our focus on the birth of a new way to shop that suits women’s lives. On a personal level, the name Lucy means born at dawn, both of my children were born at dawn (early in the morning) and the launch of my business and the start of my entrepreneurial journey is a new beginning for me too.

CB: Where did it all begin? What inspired you to start up your concept?
LK: Listening to other women’s frustrations with shopping (and my own!). It’s easier to dedicate lots of time to shopping and fashion when you are younger, for instance in your early twenties, but as we get older and have more responsibilities, things change. When your life gets busier and more demanding due to our career and/or children, you have less time to dedicate to it. You still want to look good but your style changes slightly- you need more versatile, easy-to-wear, good quality pieces that work well together to make dressing straightforward.

We all know there are great high street stores like Zara that are accessible but as most women know- once you find a great piece there, before you know it all your friends will all have it and it will be all over your Instagram feed by the next week. There are mass market websites like ASOS, but who has time to browse 4000 options for just a black dress? They are catering for so many different customers now that it’s overwhelming. I wanted to focus on harder to find, more exclusive brands and build a collection of beautiful clothes that suit busy women’s lives.

The “Night In” service was devised after interviewing women about their shopping habits as many said they still liked to touch and feel the product before buying but couldn’t dedicate time to visiting the shops.

CB: What is your brand ethos?
LK: It’s about always being positive and celebrating real women wearing our clothes in their everyday life. The BORN AT DAWN customer is confident and knows their own mind. She doesn’t want to be a slave to trends or have other people always dictating what she should wear that season. She loves clothes and wants to look good but simply wants to wear what she likes and feels comfortable in.

CB: On a day-to-day basis, what or who inspires you?
LK: Other women inspire me all the time- friends and all the people I have met along the way on the BORN AT DAWN  journey. People who are down-to-earth, positive, work hard, follow their hearts and are focusing on their own version of success whatever that may be.

CB: Can you tell us about or give us a sneaky peak of something new that’s coming up?
LK: I’m always working on future events as love getting out there and meeting our customers. We’ve done some great pop up exclusive shopping events over the past couple of months and we’ve got much more in the pipeline for 2017. The best way to keep up to date is by following the BORN AT DAWN Instagram and subscribing to our newsletter.

Lucy at the recent BORN AT DAWN pop-up event at Southwood Stores
Photo: Shaneen Rosewarne Cox

 

CB: Anything you wish you’d known before you became a parent / best piece of parenting advice?
LK: Don’t focus so much on the birth. Of course, you need to do a little research when pregnant but don’t make it your main focus. The birth is over relatively quickly and the midwife can help you with that but then you have a child to bring up for life, so maybe spend a bit more time researching/thinking about that instead. I was pretty clueless and hadn’t spent much time around babies so I have spent the last 4 years either going by instinct or frantically googling!

CB: Parenting-essentials, we know there are more than a few! But what is the one thing you can’t leave the house without? What is your most used piece of parenting/child paraphernalia?
LK: I’ve learnt to pack quite lightly with kids now and they’re a bit older so I wouldn’t say I need much apart from some changing stuff and spare clothes (vital!) I always have a few kid’s games downloaded on to my phone too in case of emergency- sometimes it’s necessary if they are playing up somewhere they shouldn’t be.

CB: Along the same vein as above, what is your ultimate Mama-Essential? What is your go-to item that you just can’t live without?
LK: Wine. There’s nothing I love better than a glass on a Friday night at the end of the week.

CB: What gives you ‘Mum-Guilt’? And how do you get round it?
LK: I don’t often get Mum Guilt but I recently did just before the launch of BORN AT DAWN when the girls were in nursery a lot and family were helping me out with childcare quite a bit too. I missed them! The only way I’ve found to get around Mum guilt is to try and be focused in the moment when I’m with them. I don’t think the important thing is the quantity of time but the quality of time when you are with them. The times I feel bad are when I’ve been focused on other things whilst looking after them and that’s often when they will play up too. Sometimes it’s hard though when you’re self-employed- its inevitably going to overlap from time to time. We just have to do our best, that’s all we can do.

CB: Me-time is super important too, what do you like to do to zone-out?
LK: My guilty pleasures are KUWTK and Loose Women. I like nothing better than watching one of them when I’m home alone and have an hour spare!

CB: Which are your go-to brands/shops?
LK: Since launching BORN AT DAWN, I’ve only worn pieces from the collection. I curated it to suit busy women’s lives so it’s perfect for me.

In terms of shoes and accessories- I don’t buy often but I buy good quality. Shoes are so much more comfortable if you pay that little bit more and my designer bags have always lasted for years. I love Isabel Marant, Bimba and Lola for shoes; and Givenchy and Alexander Wang for bags.

For the girls, I like quirky Scandinavian brands like Molo and Bang Bang Copenhagen.

CB: What current wardrobe item is your all-time favourite and why?
LK: I love my leopard biker jacket from Mads Norgaard; it makes any outfit feel special. I love how soft the leather is and I’ve always been partial to leopard print so it’s perfect.

Leopard Print Jacket – Mads Norgaard – £430.00 //  BORN AT DAWN

CB: Choose 3 words to describe yesterday.
LK: Slow, Tired, Hard.

I had a bit of a rubbish day yesterday- today is much better. I love going to The Yes Mum Moon Clubs and something she talks about is following your energy flow. Some days you feel rubbish and tired, sometimes you feel on top of the world and you can take on anything. That’s just the way we work as women so I try and not feel bad when I have those kind of days-its normal and I know I will be on track again soon.

CB: Tell us something about you that might surprise people.
LK: My oldest daughters Lilia’s middle name is Butterfly. I love it but no one believes her when she tells them! Hopefully she likes it when she’s older!

CB: Whats the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
LK: My parents are the kindest people I know. Despite being on the other side of the country, I always know that if I needed them they would drop everything to be there. I couldn’t name one time as there have been so many but they constantly amaze me with their support and love. I hope that I can make my girls feel the same way.

CB: Recommend a book, film or album from the past year.
LK: I liked “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved the concept of creative ideas appearing to you as a gift and if you don’t take them, moving on to the next person.

CB: What can you see out of your closest window / what is your current view?
LK: My garden and my daughter’s snail collection. We will get her a real pet one day soon!

CB: Other than with your family & friends, where would you most like to be this weekend and why?
LK: I am desperate for a holiday but don’t think it will happen for us this year with the business launch. One of my favourite places is Ibiza in summer so I would love to be there. I’ve been many times and it holds many special memories for me.

A NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE TREAT

Lucy has kindly offered the following code for free delivery on any order: FREEDELIVERY

AND a special rate of £39.95 for a “Night In” service if you are in the catchment area*

*Currently available in most of North and East London and selected parts of Essex. Other areas may be available on request.

Loved chatting with you Lucy. It’s been a total pleasure getting to know you over the last year or so – and watching your BORN AT DAWN concept grow from idea to a beautiful and wonderful business! Congratulations my darling – hope to see you soon!

C

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Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for upcoming BORN AT DAWN events by signing up to the newsletter and follow Lucy on  Instagram: @BornAtDawn_

#NeverConciseChats #ClaireChatsToBornAtDawn

THE STORY

There once was a girl who enjoyed shopping for clothes. It was a pastime, a hobby, something she enjoyed… 

Then she got a little older. Now she has more responsibilities and demands on her time and the enjoyment starts to wane. Her life has changed and so has her style. She needs a different wardrobe. She needs outfits that will take less thought, are easy to put together and ones that can take her from day to night. She needs the pieces she buys to be versatile, to last, look great and she wants to wear them multiple times and in different ways. 

She tries the mass market online websites but they are trying to cater for so many customers that she gets 3908 options for just a black dress. She tries a shopping centre but there is no atmosphere and it’s hot and busy. She manages to discover an amazing jacket at a popular high street store but within a week it feels like every single person on her Instagram feed is also wearing it. She tries to follow catwalk trends but it’s hard to find the time, and by now she knows what suits her. She simply wants to wear things she loves rather than being dictated to. 

The perfect solution would be to spend hours browsing independent stores but it’s impossible. So before things go from bad to worse and she runs the risk of ending up in a changing room in her underwear on TV being made over by Gok Wan, we decided to step in. 

We have spent the last year researching brands and travelling across Europe to discover harder to find, more exclusive brands and buying beautiful pieces that can be worn multiple times and in different ways so you have endless options. We hope you love the collection as much as we do. X