LIZZI MEETS #BOSSLADY NATASHA GRAYS OF GRAYSEY LONDON

Back in December 2019, I was invited to a style event introducing me to a new London fashion brand Graysey London; their hero product was Jeaks™, a super comfy form of jeans inspired by the 70s that have been designed for the modern woman.

Last Friday I got the chance to meet up with Natasha Grays in person to find out more about her brand and the lady herself - I think understanding how others try and balance busy lives makes us feel normal especially when we share the same daily dilemmas!  I certainly can relate to the never ending washing and ironing whilst trying to fit in weekly fitness - I mean who has ever seen the bottom of their laundry bin?!

After getting hands on with these Jeaks™, I feel they are perfect for those who wear jeans day in, day out for work but are looking for something different (but still a pair of jeans) for out-out or if your style personality is one where you love jeans but it needs to have some edge.

We hope you enjoy the read and if you do fancy purchasing a pair of Jeaks™ then make sure you read on to the bottom to find out how you can save 15% off your first order.

Please also feel free to leave any questions in the comments below, and I will be sure to get answers for you direct from Natasha.

love, Lizzi x

 

Well let's get started Natasha, please tell my readers a bit about you?

Well, I am a creative, fashion-loving Mum to my two lovely girls and married to Doug, my partner in business and life! I have had a very varied life, living abroad and travelling a lot. A few of my favourite things are my family & friends, eating al fresco, dancing, yoga, fashion & the arts, markets, travelling, anything beach related! Now I’m happy to be settled in U.K and on a new exciting journey to grow our brand Graysey London, and in the process, meeting so many wonderful talented people!

 

How did your business journey start?

In 1999 I had a stall at Portobello Market selling suede flip flops adorned with feathers and faux gemstones and vintage scarf tops that I made. Our Graysey London journey started many years later after I had a soft furnishings business and then my own interior design business so I learnt a lot along the way. I came up with the concept of Jeaks™, our hero product in 2017 and it took two years to bring to market.

 

Why did you go into partnership with your husband? And does it feel like work 24/7 because of it?

Yeah... most people think we’re mad and say they would have killed each other by now, if that was them, but it somehow works! He has a skill set that perfectly compliments mine, he’s an astute entrepreneur with business growth knowledge that has great IT skills.

I am the social creative that takes care of sourcing and production. We try as much as possible to stop talking about work at a certain times in the evening but that doesn’t always happen! That said, it doesn’t feel like work, most of the time, because Graysey is our passion! We do kick back at weekends though as it’s important to unwind and have time to just 'be'.

 

I love the name Graysey – tell us about that, and why did you specifically add the word London?

Ah thanks! We went through almost 1,000 names to find one that felt right, but also to find one that wasn’t already taken as in it needed to have a .com available, plus didn’t sound weird which was a challenge. We were sitting down discussing how hard it was to find a name and Doug said “It’s CRAZY that we can’t find a name!” We both looked at each other... changed the C to G and spelt it like our name and added EY.

It was memorable as it sounds like crazy and we are a bit of a crazy family! We tagged on London as we want to be known as a London brand for the rest of the world.

So you sell Jeaks™ – what are they?

Our highly technical, hero product Jeaks™ was born out of my wish to find supremely comfortable, well-designed denim to travel in. I also wanted to do something new with denim that hasn’t really changed much for years. Jeaks™ combine the look of jeans with the comfort of a tracksuit. We took the JEA from Jeans and the KS from TRACKSUIT to create JeaksTM, a new category in denim.

They are super flattering, high quality jeans that visually contour the legs and make your bum look great! They feature a stretch panel around the inner leg seam which can be printed or plain eradicating any uncomfortable hard seams for the wearer. At the moment, the panels come in leopard print, tie dye and plain navy blue with more designs in the pipeline!

It took two years to get them to market. I don’t think people realise that it was a huge challenge to find a material that could work with denim, not absorb the indigo dye, be breathable, be the right weight etc. We sampled dozens of fabrics and in the end, as we couldn’t find one that had all the components, we had to develop a new fabric. So it’s totally new and never been done before.

If you look at jeans sewn with another fabric on the market, you’ll notice they are either combined with really bleached denim (so virtually no dye is left) or the fabric is navy or black (so dye won’t show).

 

Are Jeaks™ only for women who love the 1970’s style?

Absolutely not! The kick flare obviously has a 70s vibe, especially if you wear them with a block heel and a slogan T-shirt or a velvet belted jacket for example. But we feel we’ve made it relevant for now with the panels and fit. The Slim Cut Jeaks™ can be styled in any way... you can add a vibe from any decade to them whether it’s 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s. Style them up with a top, jacket and accessories or just add trainers and a sweatshirt for a pared down look.

 

How do you recommend styling your jeaks™ for the busy working woman who potentially could be a mum?

Well being a Mum myself I know the challenge of trying to look good with minimal effort! The beauty of Jeaks™ is you can wear them with trainers and a casual blouse or top and jacket & look ‘put together’ as the panels elevate jeans to another level, plus making you feel confident as they are super flattering and comfortable.

Equally, you can swap trainers for heels, add a couple of glam accessories and you’re good to go out on ‘date night’ or night out with the girls! I often go from work to an event without going home to change so take heels and a cami with me in one of my more spacious handbags and do a ‘Superwoman’ change in the 'Ladies' en-route!

You describe Graysey London as an ethical and socially conscious brand – what exactly does that mean for your customers?

It means customers can buy from us with the knowledge that we personally care about the world and the people in it and that flows into the people making our products and the way in which they are made.

We chose Portugal to manufacture in as we are interested in making a high quality product. As a brand we look to bridge the history and high quality of manufacturing in Portugal with a distinctly British 1970’s feel and aesthetic. Being part of the E.U. ensures a fair wage and safe conditions to work in. We wanted to ensure that we could easily visit our manufacturers. We work with a women owned factory, where most of the employees are women.

We are both interested in the social and economic development of the country celebrating high quality craftsmanship that is handed down through generations from mother to daughter. We share the value that relationships are based on trust and respect and work closely together with them. We endeavour to improve the lives of the people we touch. We aim to conduct all dealings with integrity and authenticity.

Our ethos is ‘Women for Women’. We believe in women supporting each other. To encourage positive relationships without judgement. To empower and motivate, encourage and celebrate. We work with our dedicated charity ‘Women for Women International to help women in war torn countries rebuild themselves and their families for better futures.

 

How have you achieved producing Jeaks™ in such an ethical way?

Recycling, trying to minimise single use plastic, being aware of buying seasonal local produce and buying quality over quantity & vintage is an important part of my life. Developing a brand was an extension of how we live as a family. We chose to source our fabrics manufacturing in the E.U. to minimise the environmental impact and where law ensures a fair wage and safe conditions to work in. We visited many factories and finally found a woman owned one where there was a really happy environment. Our ethos is ‘Women Supporting Women’ so it was a great fit.

We aim to slow down fashion making premium pieces to last for years, not just for a season. We use G.O.T.S. washes that have the water saving systems and non-harmful finishes. We are committed to developing an in-going socially responsible business we can feel good about and that our customers can trust. We also use only recycled or recyclable packaging, re-usable cotton shoppers & bio-degradable bags.

 

As a hard-working business woman – what’s a typical week for you?

A typical week involves wearing many hats as most start-ups will probably agree with. Every day, I get in touch with people whether it’s for collaborations, projects or our production and update conversations and completion of all the different facets on various ongoing projects. I use social media to post blurbs or pics or promote our products or events we are doing. I usually have meetings & events in London once a week to network meet journalists stylists or bloggers. It’s all in the name of getting our name out there!

Slotted in between being ferrying my girls to dance and skate boarding, cooking and trying to get through a never-ending pile of washing and ironing!

Natasha Grays of Graysey London[/caption]

How do you choose to relax?

I try and exercise & do yoga during the week to de-stress. We love to eat out and I like to try and go to art exhibitions and films here and there and enjoy socialising with friends.

In the winter months, we cosy up in front of the fire and enjoy watching a good series...in the summer, we go for sundowners, walks & swimming. There’s nothing like having a hot bubble bath by candlelight at the end of the evening to wind down!

 

What tips can you give women who wish to start their own business?

You need passion for what you’re doing and bags of energy as It’s much harder than you think. Everything takes longer than you think and you have to be patient and be ready to be in it for the long haul. It’s best to have one salary coming in to support a new business until it takes off or start the business as a sideline while working until it gains traction.

 

What would you have liked to known from the start that would have made your journey a lot easier?

That it would take longer than we thought so we wouldn’t stress about it!

Is there anything new coming from Graysey London in 2020?

Yes, we are doing a very exciting collaboration with Gary McQueen (the late Alexander McQueen’s nephew) and another designer (still under wraps atm!). We are showing our collection in Dubai in March this year with new styles and designs.

We will be doing more pop-ups after the Lone Design Club LFW one in SoHo and forging further collaborations with artists and designers. 

Where can my readers shop your range?

 

  • Online at our own website Graysey London
  • LDC Concept Store, 14-16 Great Pulteney Street, Soho W1F 9ND from Tuesday 18th to Monday 24th February
  • Showcase, 12 Regent Street, London SW1Y 4PE
  • The Wardrobe Edit, 21 Finch Lane, Bushey WD23 3AH (By Appointment Only)

 

To keep up to date with Graysey London and all their stylish events, follow them on Instagram & Get 15% OFF your first order and be the first to know about exclusives, collection launches and more by subscribing to their newsletter on their website.

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