For our blog series focusing on the great humans behind brands, part of our continuous campaign for #consciousmarketing, we spoke to Nancy and Eileen, the wonderful people behind our new favourite nightwear and loungewear brand, Cucumber Clothing. The luxe nightwear and leisurewear is designed to help women get great quality sleep, and is absolutely perfect for warmer nights and summer weather - all while helping to tackle taboos about sweating and menopause!
Hi Nancy and Eileen! Please introduce yourselves!
We are two friends who met at the school gates some years ago. Nancy’s background is in advertising (ex-Saatchi) and Eileen’s is in fashion (ex-Nicole Farhi).
When did you set up Cucumber Clothing?
Very recently! In September 2017 and since then it’s been crazy.
How did it start? What’s the story behind your brand?
Cucumber was born on a holiday. A lot of the women we were with were struggling with hormones/night sweats and there didn’t seem to be any brands addressing this issue that affects 50% of the population. Anything aimed at this market was also incredibly dowdy and not something that either of us would want to wear! We like to think we marry great fabric innovation with great fabric design. We thought this was a glaring gap in the market and Cucumber came into being.
We love that your nightwear helps to support women through comfort and improved sleep quality– can you tell us a little bit about your values?
From the very start we wanted to build sustainability and inclusivity into our brand DNA. Our sizes run from 8-20 and we are considering a size 6. We have made sure that the factories we work with adhere to a certain standard of work practices, source everything bar our fabric within the UK and manufacture wholly within the UK. We are aiming to use 100% recycled packaging within the next few years and have removed plastic from every bit of our chain except for one – so for the moment we are just reusing what we have over and over until we can find a biodegradable option. We are also actively looking at the possibility of using recycled fibres for our fabric and take heart from the fact that our clothing requires little washing and lasts six times longer than cotton.
That's absolutely amazing! Do you have any advice on how other brans can inspire social change?
Though it’s impossible to tick every box, we think it’s important for every brand to concentrate on at least one area and make it as ‘good’ as possible, whether that is environmental impact, end of garment life impact, societal impact etc. That way positive change will definitely occur.
What do you expect from the brands you buy from? (E.g. sustainable, ethical, price, quality)
We really expect a lot! Aside from the obvious (great design and excellent construction) we are happy to pay a premium for brands that can verifiably state what they are doing to be sustainable and ethical. We want to try and support other brands with the same ethos as us.
Are there any brands or businesses whose values & ethos you’re really impressed by?
Stella McCartney, Gandys, Mirabelle. They all have a different take on what is most important to them, but they take it seriously and make sure it works.
How are you using social media to help you achieve your business goals? Which platforms & how helpful are they?
We are on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Of the three, Instagram has probably been the most useful and fun. Because it’s visual, it’s easy to show what we are doing, who we are meeting and what’s coming up. It’s a playful medium and a very positive one. We’ve (virtually) met a whole lot of instagrammers and they have been uniformly nice.
Do you have any tips for people looking to post engaging content on social media?
Have fun! Enjoy playing around with filters, boomerang, stories, GIFS and don’t be afraid to experiment. I think the only thing to stay away from is taking it too seriously, no one goes on Instagram for a heavy sell, and maybe don’t post more than twice a day (plus a story or two).
Any other tips you’d like to share?
Starting a business from scratch is a roller coaster ride, but the highs, especially all the fantastic people we have met and interacted with, definitely outweigh any lows.