We’ve always wanted to start a business together. After years of talking about it we finally started formulating a plan after a long walk on the beach with Becca’s newborn when I went to visit her in Australia. For Becca it was a time where she was able to reflect on what she’d been doing before having her son Ellis and to think more about the business and life she wanted. For me it was a change to make some changes in my career, I’d been a fashion buyer for nearly 10 years and wasn’t in love with it anymore.
The idea of a locker brand came about because Becca loved vintage lockers and had a few in her home and studio. They were cool but never very practical. We spent a year discovering, researching, travelling to China and designing the look and feel of the products and brand before launching at a trade show in Sydney in February 2018.
Can you talk us through the process of deciding on the colour scheme and the design for the lockers.
We had a really instinctive vision of the colours we wanted but picking each shade took a lot of umming and ahhing! Our main parameters for the final decisions were that we wanted them to be colourful but have a softness to the tones, we wanted a palette that worked for all ages and all genders and the colours had to mix and match really well.
Designing the lockers was a fun learning curve. It was really about discovering the boundaries of what was possible in production and working creatively to stretch them! We went through a number of samples over the first year and each time got closer to the final product. The key thing was practicality so we made sure they can lock but don’t have to, they have a cable hole, nifty hanging hooks, rails and space underneath for a pair of shoes or a basket!
Have you any plans to produce more products?
Yes! We have plenty of dreams but we’ve tried to be very disciplined and limit our range, adding slowly as we grow. At the end of June we are adding two new designs and it’s taken so long to get them to launch stage. Developing new products takes time, money and risk so we try to stay focused and give ourselves the time to get it right (when we really just want to bring all our ideas to life right now!)
What is the best piece of advice you have received so far since setting up?
Ooh we have had some great guidance but at the moment the thing that comes to mind is to ‘plan for growth’. Given the nature of our brand and the fact that we could launch on two sides of the world we’ve been focused on trying to set up systems correctly from the start so that as we grow we won’t have to keep reassembling the business. It’s a mighty learning curve but as we expand we are grateful that we have streamlined what we could early on.
What stood out for me when reading your journey is how you mention how you intuitively make decisions - can you chat a little more about this and how important it has been for you.
Yes, absolutely. I think it really helps that we are very much our own target audience, we know what we would want from the products and the brand overall.
We have a little motto “Stop. Reflect. Move.” We talk a lot and ask lots of people for advice, then we allow our own instincts to work out the next step. Once it’s decided, you just have to leap and trust yourself! There’s no guarantees with anything and there’s always so many unknowns or things you don’t know you don’t know. But as Dory says, you have to “just keep swimming.” Not moving is the only way to make sure you don’t succeed.
What has been your career highlight so far?
We’ve had some really great moments but I would say that honestly, the most rewarding part is seeing our products in real homes being used and enjoyed. It’s humbling and still very surprising to us that what we are doing is working and there’s a few thousand lockers out there in the real world.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to anyone looking to set up a business themselves?
You learn so much on the way that you didn’t even know you’d need to learn. Never wait until everything is perfect as you will be waiting forever. All the successful businesses that I admire started somewhere. From the big guys like Apple to the smaller brands like Marion Margate they all started with an idea.
Favourite locker colour… Blush Shorty! Although it is the only one I don’t have in my house because we keep selling out!
Latest Netflix obsession... Line of duty
Go to Karaoke song.... Dancing in the moonlight
Guilty pleasure.... Marmite on a spoon!
Favourite place in the world you have visited so far... Marrakesh
Most treasured possession… I am not that precious over things, I like new and shiny things. Fickle some would say haha
Favourite book.... The Kite Runner
Pop into our store in Rathmines or online at www.aprilandthebear.com for more info on these amazing lockers!
Photos by Bronte Godden