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Get Back! (To business after maternity leave)

October 22, 2020

Get Back! (To business after maternity leave)

 

 

So... I'm new to this blogging lark. But I guess a good way to introduce myself is to fill you in on 'My Story'. 

Electric Eye Apparel is an independent UK brand that launched in 2018. We embroider-to-order custom or pre-designed womens, mens, unisex and kids organic cotton garments and accessories. Whether it's a lyric, a statement or a unique and special gift - we've got you covered! We are passionate advocates of slow fashion, sustainability and take pride in producing each and every order in house (literally, from my house). Inspired by rock & roll, film and fashion our brand resonates with creative and stylish individuals who seek out quality brands with sound ethics.

After gaining a Degree in Fashion & Business from Glasgow Caledonian University and working all over the UK in the Fashion & Retail industry for over 15 years, with roles at Vivienne Westwood, Creative Arts Charity 'Impact Arts', Boohoo and Nasty Gal. Electric Eye Apparel was created by me, Alissa Horan, in 2018.  

From a young age I always envisaged having my own fashion business. The first brand I created, at the age of 9, was the imaginatively named 'Queen of Hearts'. I designed a logo (based on the playing card, of course), armed myself with a sketchbook, pencils, and an old rotary dial telephone that my Granny gave to me and off I went. I would have make-believe conversations and take down specifications of imaginary orders that I'd spend hours designing. My mum still has that sketchbook somewhere...

Fast forward 23 years and Electric Eye Apparel was born. 

After a turbulent period in my life and in the midst of fertility struggles I decided,

with the support of my incredible husband, to take a huge leap of faith and create a brand and business that I could make my own; A brand that would pay homage to my love of film, fashion, music and rock & roll. A brand that would have a personality and treat customers like friends. A brand that would work around my family's life. A brand with sound ethics that would go against the grain of the Fast Fashion machine. A brand that I could be proud of. 

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” ― Hunter S. Thompson

Everyone has a lyric, line or quote that means something to them. Music, words, poetry and lyrics have always resonated with me. Figureheads like Bolan, The Beatles, The Stones, Dylan, Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac to Bowie have created the soundtrack to my life. I would often make personalised gifts for friends and loved ones with words that meant something or sparked a shared memory. Those were the seeds from which Electric Eye grew.

Electric Eye Apparel was aptly named after my favourite David Bowie lyric from his iconic 'Moonage Daydream'. A lyric that seems to always spur me on, 7 powerful little words;

I am a one-woman-show and pour myself into Electric Eye, I do it all; website, social media, marketing, customer service, processing orders and I stitch and pack every garment myself from my home studio in Manchester. I love it! (and I think it shows). As Electric Eye grows, so will my team - but for now I'll plod away on my own. It has been a learning curve; I've done some great things and I've done some not so great things. There have been lots of bumps along the way but it's all part of the process. 

"It's never too late - never too late to be happy, never too late to start over" -- Jane Fonda

 

The plan was to start small and grow big. Electric Eye launched in October 2018 and incredibly within my first year I was stitching garments for the likes of Kate Moss, Bobby Gillespie, Fearne Cotton, Shirley Manson, Kate Lawler, Stranger Things' Millie Bobby Brown, and JANE F*CKING FONDA! (I made 400 'Jane F*cking Fonda' t-shirts for the cast and crew of Netflix hit 'Grace & Frankie', but that's another story). 

In 2019, just as things were taking off, thanks to fertility treatment I finally fell pregnant. As my business baby grew, my actual baby grew. In Dec 2019, 2 weeks before I was due to give birth I was invited as a guest on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio (he was a total legend - as were all of the team there!). Mr Evans was a huge fan of the brand and rocked his 'Mr. Blue Sky' sweatshirt religiously. After that Electric Eye skyrocketed... Bump and I, with a little help from my friends, put in some CRAZY shifts to get all of the orders out before Christmas.

This was all a very welcome distraction and focus for me throughout a very worrying pregnancy. My precious baby girl had been diagnosed with a life threatening condition called Gastroschisis during our 12 week scan. In short, her insides were growing outside of her body and she would require major surgery straight after birth and a long stay in neonatal intensive care. All pretty terrifying. 

In the midst of the momentum that Electric Eye was gaining and my most successful trading period to date, on NYE 2019 Maggie was born by cesarean section at 37 weeks weighing a teensy 5lb. I knew that we would have a tough road ahead of us and my baby girl had a fight on her hands so I made the decision to close Electric Eye Apparel for as long as I needed to and put all of my energy into my nursing my baby girl to full health. 

Thanks to our wonderful NHS I am pleased to say that after major abdominal surgery at 4 days old, a 6 week stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, and a few health scares along the way that our girl is doing great. Better than great actually, she's amazing and I'm constantly in awe of her. She is a little firecracker! 

After 10 months away, I relaunched Electric Eye in Oct 2020, a little later than anticipated, but family will always come first.  My family has grown with my business and being a new mum, step-mum, wife and business owner can be a bit of a juggling act but the little eyes that are on me inspire me to push on. 


Thank you to all of my amazing customers for their well wishes and continued support and I'm glad to have you with me whilst I find my feet again!  


Here's to the next chapter, I have exciting plans for the future and look forward to sharing it with you all.



 

 




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