In bed with the stars
It's no wonder that the new Anglo-Indian lifestyle boutique Lulu and Nat is charming celebrities like Claudia Schiffer and Keira Knightley, says Annie Deakin
Wednesday 20 January 2010
What do the bedrooms of Claudia Schiffer, Keira Knightley, Liv Tyler and Jools Oliver have in common? They are kitted out in the Anglo-Indian hand-printed bed linens, embellished cushions or embroidered wall hangings designed by emerging online boutique Lulu and Nat.
Too rarely do we stumble upon success stories during a recession but nascent lifestyle boutique Lulu and Nat is defying the markets. Founded by entrepreneurs Lulu McAvoy and Nat Robinson, the fledgling company has tripled within a year and is being dubbed the one to watch for 2010. "We've had our challenges," McAvoy said when I spoke to her earlier this week. "We launched the business on a shoestring budget a few years ago by each investing just £1,000. We’ve never had investors. Our success is a result of hard work by both of us."
They both have fashion backgrounds; Robinson was at Vogue and Christian Lacroix before becoming a buyer for cult Notting Hill shop The Cross - which is where she met McAvoy twelve years ago. McAvoy, then 18-years-old, was the Saturday sales assistant while studying fashion at Kingston University. McAvoy went on to design children wear and accessories for leading brands including Liberty, The White Company and Gap. After almost a decade of working apart, McAvoy and Robinson launched their lifestyle boutique Lulu and Nat selling hand-printed Indian bedlinen and embroidered cushions and wall hangings.
McAvoy has spent the past three years living in Mumbai sourcing fabrics while Robinson ran the show back in the UK. "There is great inspiration all around you in India," McAvoy says, "The clashing colours are so sumptuous, lots of fluorescent pinks against bright reds. You almost never see black; Back in the West, we're not used to seeing that much colour and hand-painted designs on bill boards and lorries."
"We started small scale; I bought fabrics from my local market in Mumbai and randomly met my supplier on a train to Goa. She saw me working on my computer and typically Indian in character, she was very inquisitive and asked what I was doing." McAvoy would package orders in her flat and send them back to London; Designers Guild and The Cross were early supporters of the brand.
It wasn't long before their embroidered wall hangings, hand-printed bedlinens and intricate cushions caught the eyes of other suppliers including SCP, Cologne and Cotton and Rockett St. George. With orders flooding in, the girls upped their operation and today their designs are made in a Rajasthan factory which deals with the packaging and shipping. With this set-up under control in India, McAvoy has returned to live in London.
Much to the girls' amusement, celebrity endorsements are flooding in thick and fast. Keira Knightley has snapped up their white cushions with bright floral flowers, Claudia Schiffer - their butterfly children's bedlinen and Liv Tylor - the turquoise star pillowcases. McAvoy seems bemused, and excited, by their newfound celebrity following; "It's massively flattering and fantastic that people really like our products out there."
Jools Oliver bought a king-size vibrant floral and spot multi-coloured quilt. "Apparently, Jools really likes Cath Kidston so I guess she likes bright, bold things. They also bought floral napkins and a floral tablecloth in pink. It was a pretty good order," McAvoy chuckles. "The thought of Jamie Oliver in a floral bed does make me laugh."
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...
£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teachers with QTS nee...
£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...