We chat to founder, Sophie, about her passion for sustainable clothing, love for Market Harborough and where she gets her inspiration when creating seriously cool clothes.
The textiles industry is one of the biggest contributors to planet pollution, with an estimated £140m worth of clothing being sent to landfill each year in the UK alone. With the rise of fast fashion brands in the last 20 years, profit has been prioritised over people & planet, and our environment is suffering as a result. But thanks to businesses like Sophie & Co in Market Harborough, our attitudes towards clothing sustainability are changing for the better.
Founder, Sophie, set up the business with a forward-thinking approach to children’s fashion, with room to grow sizing, unisex fabric buying and her re-fashion service at the heart of the business.
“We believe that a piece of clothing should serve your child all year round, it should be passed down to siblings, resold, repurposed, donated to charity – we highly encourage all options to extend the life of our garments before it ends in landfill.”
Tell us a bit about Sophie & Co
Founded in 2015, we are a small, family run company specialising in handmade, sustainable clothing for children. I set up the company after the birth of my first child, lusting after stylish kids clothing with a very meagre bank balance. I had lost my job to an inflexible workplace and decided to take a punt on my (then) very limited sewing skills by attempting to produce some stylish, practical and affordable garments myself. I started with a pair of trousers, 7 years on we have a selection of core products from jackets through to baby bibs. In 2018 we launched the The Refashion Service, a custom service that allows you to have your own clothing & textiles transformed into our designs for your kids, this proved to be more popular than I thought it would be so we began to drip feed this way of working into our collections and now mostly use vintage, dead stock or refashioned textiles. In the midst of COVID and a moment of madness – we secured the shop space and have been working from the in house studio since July 21. It’s been a real learning curve in many ways, especially as we only produce small batch collections; keeping a shop stocked, processing online orders and custom orders is a juggle at times, but so far the positives certainly outweigh the negatives and I don’t regret a second of it!
What can people expect from a trip to Sophie & Co?
Located on Abbey Street, just off the High Street, we are super easy to get to and surrounded by lots of other brilliant businesses. We make everything in store so more often than not you’ll see myself and Amy glued to the sewing machines or hunched over the cutting table. Alongside our store-made pieces for 0-8yr olds we stock tie dyed items from Nel & Nancy for newborn through to adults, vintage toys provided by Wonderset, an entire preloved section from Peachy & Birdie and a colouring station to entertain your children while you browse.
What do you like about Market Harborough?
As a family, we moved to Market Harborough 4 years ago and have never looked back. It’s a really wonderful little town with a strong community spirit and lots of great places to eat, drink & shop. It’s easily commutable to London and other big cities whilst also surrounded by beautiful countryside – the best of both worlds. There seem to be a lot of other young families here who have moved away from city life and lots of great little businesses popping up which makes it feel like it’s an up & coming little town with lots of potential.
Where do you get your inspiration for your products?
Most of my product inspiration comes from my own kids. What they need, what they’d like, tweaking basic shapes until they hang better. I like the vintage, looser fit style of 90s kids fashion; baggy balloon leg trousers, boxy jumpers, pastel palettes. It’s very easy to fall into the doom & gloom of a saturated market and feel bogged down by what others are doing, I think it’s really important not to bow down to trends and stick to making what I enjoy, what my kids would wear and make sure it’s transferable through all 4 seasons.
What’s your favourite part about owning a local, independent business?
Meeting people! After years of working at home, alone, it really is nice to get some first hand feedback from not only our regular customers but the general public popping their heads in to offer words of encouragement. It keeps me going on the hard days & makes me feel like I’m part of a bigger picture. I also really like actually going to work again. Physically leaving the house to go to my work place and then leave it where it is at the end of the day has worked wonders for my work/life balance!
What are some of your favourite local, independent businesses?
Ooh this is an easy one! For homewares & beautiful gifts, Bagel & Griff is a must. For women’s clothing, Ginger Kate – full of amazing preloved pieces from high street through to designer pieces. For coffee & pastries, Garage Bakehouse is unlike any other. The list is endless but you can’t go wrong with any of the Indies here!
What are your plans for the future?
We plan to run a more children & adults workshops and birthday parties in the shop, using the space as more of a community project as it had always planned to be and I am currently working on a big project at the moment, it is under lock & key for the time being but it will mean the Refashion Service will become far more accessible than it currently is!
You can find Sophie & Co here: