With two children of her own, Jade Cox discovered a lack of clothing options for women during such a special time in their lives. It became her dream to create beautiful clothing designed with pregnancy and breastfeeding in mind. With all the changes that women endure during pregnancy, she wanted to create pieces that didn’t compromise on style or comfort. An important part of the design process was creating dresses that were versatile and could be worn through every stage of the motherhood journey. At Lilou, they create pieces to be cherished forever, while committing to sustainable and ethical production. Here Jade talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind her business, the challenges she has overcome, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Lilou started when I had an idea that came about from when I was pregnant/breastfeeding. I couldn’t find any nice maternity clothes that I liked or could wear afterwards and after talking to my friends who were/are pregnant, they were having the same issues. I felt there was a real gap in the market for sustainable, maternity wear that had longevity and this is what inspired me to start Lilou.
I was inspired to create beautiful clothing designed with pregnancy and breastfeeding in mind!
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Before Lilou, I always had a part-time job or was busy raising my babies who are now 6 and 9. I am a qualified photographer and did this for 10 years before cutting right down to put my all into Lilou. Lilou started with a couple of dress samples, a first photoshoot, and then I launched my website and Instagram. It has slowly but surely picked up and now we have a larger range of styles, a new website and a great following on Instagram and Facebook.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Lilou is still a relatively new business – only 1.5 years old – but I am super proud of the growth we have had in that short time. To be honest, I think the biggest breakthrough came from realising I had developed beautiful clothing for mamas and that the business had organically grown through my own personal values and by only me. I don’t have one breakthrough that stands out; it’s all the little things that add up. Getting into wholesale has been amazing and having a stand at the Baby Expos and every purchase has been simply amazing.
When I started Lilou, I was adamant I wanted to find an ethical manufacturer as sustainability and ethical production is extremely important to me, so with a lot of hard work and research for months, I finally found one which to me felt like a huge achievement. I am super proud of our values and another thing to note is that 5% of profits from each sale go to the Starship Foundation. Giving back is a huge thing for me and I couldn’t think of a better charity.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I am not going to lie, the juggle is certainly real and it can be so tough sometimes. I run Lilou solo, work part time in an office and am a mum to my two kids. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband who has been my biggest supporter and keeps me level headed in the hard times. I have found it is important to have boundaries once you arrive home – as you need to be present with your family but also have time to fill your own cup up. I try to get in as much work as I can for Lilou in the school hours so I can then switch off from work and enjoy home. Being organised and not taking on too much is crucial for that work/life balance.