Tom Lane is a lifestyle brand, which designs and manufactures clothing, accessories, throws and luxury socks, all made here in Britain. Founded in 2015, Jayne Ireland runs the business from her family farm in Lincolnshire. Luxurious Magazine’s Sabi Phagura caught up with Jayne to talk all things design, materials and craftsmanship.
Luxurious Magazine: Jayne, you graduated with a Fashion Design degree from Falmouth University. Was it always your intention and passion to launch your clothing brand?
Jayne Ireland: Naturally, studying fashion and clothing has always been a huge passion of mine. I wrote the business plan for Tom Lane as part of my third-year assignment at university; however, before this, it was definitely something that I was striving for eventually.
I didn’t intend on starting up Tom Lane straight after university, but thankfully I was in a position where I could put my all into the business whilst living at home, so it felt like the right time to pursue it.
LM: How difficult was it to make your mark in such a competitive fashion industry?
Jayne: My focus has always been on the products. Attending shows has given me a great opportunity to hear from customers and gain valuable feedback on exactly the type of products they are looking for.
This has really helped me shape Tom Lane and add designs, colours and fabrics based on what people are looking for.
LM: Did you come up against some difficult challenges as you set about putting Tom Lane garments on the fashion industry radar?
Jayne: I put pen to paper while sat at my kitchen table and started from scratch. It took me a while to gain the confidence to ‘pitch’ myself and my ideas, which is crucial to getting the name and products out there. Social media combined with strong photography was an important tool for me in building my business.
LM: What makes Tom Lane garments stand out?
Jayne: All of our products are proudly designed by myself and made in Britain. I work closely with a handful of factories that provide the highest quality that I want to achieve with the garments and accessories. It’s something that I am increasingly aware that the customers love; it’s also important to me to know exactly how the product is made from start to finish.
Quality is also something that sets us apart, all the yarns we use, whether it be lambswool, merino, alpaca or cashmere, are of the highest standard, and I think it really shows in our products.
LM: The pandemic has affected several businesses. What impact, if any, did the coronavirus have on Tom Lane?
Jayne: As a business, I have been attending between 15 – 20 shows a year which has been an amazing opportunity to showcase the collections directly to the consumer but also meet with and get to know the customer who buys from Tom Lane.
Sadly, due to coronavirus, all the shows were cancelled, and it has certainly changed the dynamic of the business, but we’ve adapted, and the website has really grown over the past 18 months – it challenged me to find new methods of selling to customers and interacting with them too.
LM: What’s the favourite part of your job, and if you could choose one item from your range, what would that be?
Jayne: I am responsible for almost all aspects of the business, so no two days are the same. My favourite task has got to be designing.
It’s always a highlight for me – although it feels like such a small part of running my business.
If I were to choose one item, it would be the ladies zip neck jumper which is an everyday essential for me. (…and I wouldn’t be without my alpaca lounge socks!)
LM: What advice would you give to others thinking of a startup, especially in the fashion industry?
Jayne: One of the most important steps for me is product testing, and that would be my best piece of advice. The product is key, and your business is built upon it, so I think it’s important to have complete confidence in your products.
LM: What does the future hold for Tom Lane?
Jayne: I have so many exciting new products in the pipeline, including a new jumper collection launching next month and a coat design that will be launching later in the year. Outerwear is a new line for Tom Lane, but I can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on.
Tom Lane – Where and How?
Tom Lane is stocked in more than 50 shops across the UK. For more information and to shop the style, visit https://www.tomlane.co/.
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