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Their dream has legs to stand on - what it's like to launch a fashion brand

By Heather Large | Features | Published:

They are two young entrepreneurs with an eye for fashion who are making great strides in an extremely competitive industry.

After spotting a gap in the market, Kane Haydon, aged 28, and Chris Brian, 27, launched their fashion brand Love Leggings six months ago, offering a range of opaque everyday, sports, maternity and kids leggings.

They had noticed the lack of opaque options on the market and with leggings being such a staple item in many women’s wardrobes, believed they could offer something that would appeal to a wider audience.

The duo, who both attended Chase Terrace Technology College in Cannock, started to develop ideas for premium, non-see-through leggings that would give customers the confidence to feel comfortable and covered in non-see-through leggings.

“After completing university, we took some time out to travel across Europe and Asia and made the most of the opportunity by visiting a variety of manufacturers to see how the processes worked, which was incredibly informative.

“On our return to the UK, we had always had a passion to run a business together, and from our experience, we understood there was a great opportunity in the clothing market, so started importing products across the world.

“After more research, we not only realised that leggings were in huge demand,but were also a product that the top retailers often neglect, so we then started the process of launching Love Leggings, providing premium, non-see-through leggings for all women.

“After years of product development and learning about the market, we launched the brand in December 2018, and currently specialise in everyday, sports, maternity and children’s leggings, catering for a wide range of sizes and shapes,” says Chris.

After just seven months of trading, the team have already sold more than 10,000 pairs of leggings and have also been also been able to bring on two new full-time members of staff.

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And Chris and Kane, who say running their Cannock-based business is “incredibly rewarding”, say they are even on target to sell well over 50,000 pairs by the end of the year.

“Having the opportunity to create a brand from conception is a great experience, and as we have such high hopes for Love Leggings, we are excited to see the business grow and become a household name, with the help of our like-minded employees.

“There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility with starting a new brand too, particularly as we have the opportunity to be extremely creative and innovative with the business moving forward, with new product ranges, fabrics and styles on the cards over the coming months,” Kane tells Weekend.

“As much as we had every faith that the quality of our products is far superior than those currently on the market, we were, and still continue to be, blown away by the incredible reception we have had from thousands of our customers.

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“For us, we always wanted to take the time to make sure our leggings were the best on the market, and in fact product development ending up taking us well over two years – something which surprised us at the time, but was definitely worth it to have such a high quality product portfolio at the end of the process.

“The amount of time, effort and sacrifices we have to make to allow the company to be a success is also something we take on board, but it will never not come as a surprise – but we welcome this as it means our business is thriving,” adds Chris.

With the fashion e-commerce sector continuing to grow year-on-year, with no signs of slowing, the duo know how important it will be to stay on top of their game.

“With any online fashion business, the main day-to-day challenge we face is the competitiveness of the industry.

“As much as we were very aware of this at the start, as a new business trying to bring higher quality products to the market, it is still a huge challenge to compete with their huge budgets, particularly through marketing and brand exposure.

“With this also comes the challenge that many businesses face; cash flow.

“Again, in a particularly competitive environment, this becomes an extremely important factor in the day-to-day running of the business, but we’re having great success with the development of the brand, through our digital marketing and PR efforts, and we’re already competing with top brands in the sector,” says Kane.

Since beginning their venture, they’ve seen significant changes in the women’s fashion retail industry.

“We’ve noticed a huge shift in the fashion market, even since we started out just a few years ago. Such a huge amount of people are choosing the convenience of online shopping, so we think we will see the demand for same-day delivery services grow, alongside the development of AI, so consumers can see themselves wearing a product digitally.

“We quickly recognised that offering size inclusivity was very important to us too, and we feel like other retailers are finally realising the need to cater for women of all sizes and shapes.

“We also completely understand that consumers are now very concerned about how and where their clothing is made, and its impact on the environment, and we proudly use recyclable materials, something which we know will be a key factor for other fashion brands moving forward,” explains Chris.

The pair have high hopes for the future of the Love Leggings brand. “Our main aim is to become the ‘home of leggings’ for all women in the UK, being a recognised household name, something that, after the success we’ve had after just six months of trading, we feel is quite realistic.

“We have extensive plans to grow our team, expand our product lines with new styles, patterns and colour options, and upgrade our already 9,000 sq ft fulfilment centre and office space to accommodate with our growth.

“We hope that in five years’ time, we will also have the ability to expand into international markets, so that one day Love Leggings will be a worldwide brand name,” says Kane.

l Readers can receive a 10 per cent discount using the code EXPRESS&STAR10 at loveleggings.com

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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