Meet Sophie Lovejoy from Sleepwear Brand Sant and Abel
Adelaide-born Sophie Lovejoy is the founder of the colourful and fun sleepwear brand Sant and Abel. Now based in LA, I had the pleasure of chatting to Sophie via Skype to talk to her about Sant and Abel and how she worked up the courage to ditch her TV producing role in Australia to take her brand to the next level and move to LA.
Within the first five minutes of speaking to Sophie, I felt like I had known her for years. Her bright and positive personality shone through via the telephone line and she immediately inspired me. I also understood that this is a brand that truly reflects its founders personality… quality, attainable, approachable, fun and on trend.
The lightweight cotton sleepwear brings a new element of style to PJ’s, so much so, that you would be forgiven if you wore them out in public (I just may have).
Enjoy reading my interview with the gorgeous and infectious Sophie Lovejoy below.
How would you describe Sant and Abel? Sant and Abel is a classic, comfortable and colourful sleepwear brand. All designs are made from 100% pure cotton and every single pair has a real splash of personality. We target the whole family at an affordable price. Our campaigns are injected with a lot of humour making it relatable, fun and the kind of sleepwear you never want to take off!
How would you describe your own personal style? Much like the brand, simple and classic with a huge amount of colour! My wardrobe is summery and so is my lifestyle – if I had my way the sun would be out 365 days of the year (California does well in this department)! I also gravitate to anything French/Parisian inspired.
You have travelled and lived throughout South Australia, Sydney, NYC, Bali and now LA, why the move to LA? I have always loved America and when I first started S&A, I wanted to one day expand the brand to the much bigger US market. LA is an easy flight back to Australia, the time zone is achievable when working across both markets, LA has the best startup culture of just about anywhere in the US and of course the Californian sun in unbeatable! At the same time, I really love Australia’s laid-back, carefree lifestyle and I felt like the US sleepwear market could do with a good slice of this relaxed, fun culture.
What made you decide to start Sant and Abel? I had actually been working as a TV producer for eight years and wanted to start up an online company “on the side”. My mum owns a homewares store in Adelaide and was struggling to source classic yet colourful men’s cotton boxer shorts. My brother had just moved to Bali so on my production break at Channel 9, I designed a small collection of men’s and women’s boxer shorts and set off to Bali to have them made. I started by selling them online and at my mum’s store whilst continuing to work at Channel 9. More retailers and other online stores picked it up and eventually it became one or the other and so I switched off the telly and took the leap into the bedroom.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of starting his or her own business? Oh there’s plenty! If you genuinely believe in your idea, even if the market already exists, then keep pursuing it. If you’re passionate enough, you will find a way to stand out from the crowd. Be willing to share your ideas and communicate. You never know who is listening on the other end and how they can be of immense help to you. Every now and then stop and celebrate your wins, even if they’re small, it’s enough to keep you going and remind you that you have a purpose.
Best part about your day and worst part about your day? The best would be working my own hours and having the flexibility to do things I love such as golf and hiking and then coming home feeling energised to come up with creative campaigns and designs. The branding side of the job is definitely my favourite. I don’t know if there is a worst part as such, but maybe the fact that I rarely switch off 24/7!
Where do you find your inspiration? I find inspiration from other entrepreneurs, especially those who have really done the hard yards and been on quite a roller coaster to get to where they are now. The ones who aren’t afraid to admit that they’ve made mistakes along they way or had to pitch their ideas over and over before someone has finally given them a chance. Mark Burnett, Andy Dunn, Tory Burch, Arianna Huffington to name a few.
Any fist pumps moment since starting Sant and Abel? Having our two film campaigns nominated for Cannes Lion Awards over consecutive years (2013 and 2014) was definitely a fist pump, especially when we were up against the likes of Sony and Nike! Also the launch into the US market in August this year. We officially launched at a tradeshow in Vegas and got picked up by 22 retailers which, as an Australian brand new to the US market, I was ecstatic about!
What’s in store for this year? We have three big trade shows coming up in the first couple of months in The Napa Valley, Vegas and New York. We’re also working on our Pants Day Off campaign in Australia and the US which will support prostate cancer and breast cancer (men and women are encouraged to give their work attire an annual leave day in place of a pair of S&A’s – we donate $5 for every pair sold to the respective charities). We’re also in the process of working on a new film campaign.