LISA: After working in a corporate job for 4.5 years, I took some time off and went travelling overseas with my boyfriend (now husband). During the holiday I had a chance to really look at whether I was happy in my career and I made the decision to try something new when I got home. We knew we wanted to start a business together, but the actual idea to create a new sleepwear label was my sister’s idea – she gets the credit for that one!
NIKKI: It has always been Loop and my dream to work together in a business of our very own. The biggest challenge was coming up with a fun and fresh idea that we were committed to enough to take the risk for and leave the corporate world behind! It was while Lis was away travelling that the pj idea came to me. I had decided to spoil myself and went out looking for a new pair of pjs, but kept coming home empty handed. It was after discussing my failed shopping spree with a few of my friends one night that I realised my friends were also struggling to find pyjamas they liked. That’s when the idea to launch a sleepwear label that focussed on comfort and fashion really started to take shape. So, having identified a niche in the sleepwear market, I discussed the idea with Lis while she was overseas travelling and together we decided to take the plunge when she got back.
Where does the name Pickles and Loop come from?
LISA: The name Pickles & Loop comes from one of our nicknames for each other, Nikki aka Pickles and Lisa aka Loop!
Is it easy being twins and working together?
LISA: Pickles and I have always been best friends and have always been inseparable – we were in the same class at school throughout primary and high school and we did uni together. Working together means we get to spend even more time together. Being identical twins is a lot of fun (like having a best friend around all the time without ever having had to find one!). The fact that there are two of us though, who look pretty much exactly the same, definitely does confuse some of our business contacts. The best part is that we are definitely on “the same wave-length” and often know what each other are thinking without having to verbalise it – a bit freaky. People have often asked us if we ever get sick of each other – not a chance.
NIKKI: Loop and I are extremely close. Hanging out together is always fun. We have the same group of friends and so spend most of our time both in and outside work together – which is just the way we like it. I have a terrible sense of direction so most of the time I would feel “lost” if Loop wasn’t there to lead the way. One of Loop’s favourite jokes, having been born a whole 5 minutes before me, is that I got lost on the way out.
Do you have a division of duties or do you work together on all things?
LISA: We do all the design aspects together as it is great to brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other. Also, as our tastes are generally quite similar, we agree about most things design wise which is great. Once the designing is done I focus a lot on the manufacturing side of things and leave Pickles to handle the day to day operational stuff. I love the manufacturing process because I get to see our design ideas materialise from patterns and drawings into real garments which is always really exciting and rewarding.
NIKKI: I focus a lot on managing customer relations and sales, right through from taking orders to ensuring goods are despatched correctly from our warehouse. There are new orders coming in all the time both from our boutique stockists and our on-line customers, so I really have my work cut out for me.
LISA: Did you know that on average we spend about 1/3 of our lives in pyjamas? And, not only that – we wear our pyjamas in front of the people we are closest to, and should want to look our best for most of all. So, the way Pickles & I look at it, we really should care more about what we sleep in.
Do you think great sleepwear makes for a great night’s sleep?
NIKKI: Loop and I believe the most important time of the day is bedtime – if you don’t sleep well then you just cannot be as productive as you could otherwise be in your waking hours. That is why the comfort factor is so important to our label, and why we make sure we always use natural fibres with soft fabric finishes for all our sleepwear.
What do you include in your designs that makes your sleepwear stand out from the crowd?
LISA: The Pickles and Loop vision is to provide customers with a boutique range of affordable, good quality sleepwear that is comfortable, fun and sexy. We bring the world of fashion into the bedroom by designing pieces with contemporary, flattering silhouettes. Our label brings a youthful flirty edge to sleepwear by combining natural fibres with vibrant colours and prints.
NIKKI: We understand that women come in very different shapes and sizes, and are generally not the exact same size on top and bottom. That’s why all pieces are sold separately so they can be mixed ‘n’ matched, making the right fit that much easier to find. Our range offers something for everyone – for most the hardest part is deciding which print to choose from. Our animal range is loved by one and all – it combines fun animal prints with cute sayings such as “feeling frisky” puppy, “cheeky chick” chicken or “forget me not” elephant, to name a few. For those after something a bit more versatile Pickles and Loop’s basics range is a loungewear come sleepwear range. These pieces can just as easily be worn for pilates or a walk down to the corner store as well as lounging around the house and jumping straight into bed. For some bold colour try one of our current seasonal basics colours – honeydew or watermelon. We also offer a fashion range each season which is always fun and flirty for example our current summer range includes themes such as “I love chocolate”, “scrumptious” , “angel” and “fly away” stories.
Are you a shorts, longs or nightie girl?
LISA: I used to be a purely boxers girl, but have recently been converted to a nightie lover thanks to the inclusion of a gorgeous silky viscose t-shirt style nighty in our current summer range (try our “I Love Chocolate” or “Fly Away” nighty).
NIKKI: No surprises here – I, much like Loop, like to mix things up a bit! In summer I switch between cami and boxers sets and nighties. In winter I am definitely a long pants type of gal though.
NIKKI: No matter who you are, you just cannot look stylish wearing trackie dacks! Instead try our basics collection – it is a must have for comfort, value and style. It is a 100% cotton range featuring comfortable soft elastic waist bands and crosses easily between sleepwear and loungewear making it more versatile than trackie dacks too.
What things are on the horizon for Pickles and Loop?
LISA: Pickles and Loop was selected as the official sleepwear sponsor for Miss World Australia two years ago after gaining the affection of Sabrina Houssami who was Miss World Australia at the time. Pickles & Loop are proud to have dressed three Miss World Australia’s for bed. This year’s Miss World finals are being held in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 13, 2008, so we are looking forward to seeing Katie Richardson, the current Miss World Australia, impress the other world finalists in her Pickles and Loop pyjamas.
NIKKI: We are just putting the final touches on our Summer range for 2009 and are really excited about how it is shaping up – we promise you won’t be disappointed! It is hard to say where we’ll be even two years from now. As neither Loop or I have a technical fashion or design background we have really come a long way using mainly our instincts to guide us and learning a lot on the job. Most people in the industry are really helpful and supportive. Three years ago we never would have thought that today we would be selling into over 150 boutiques nation wide, exporting to New Zealand and selling from our own website http://www.picklesandloop.com/.
So who knows what the future holds for us – we are always open to new ideas – the sky’s the limit as far as we’re concerned!