If you've ever dreamt of running your own business or a career in fashion then make yourself a cup of tea and settle down to our Q&A with Sophie King of Crown and Glory; it's a really good read. We've teamed up to bring you a special Spring giveaway to celebrate our Blossom Momiji and their beautiful Peony crown. You can enter here!
Thank you to Sophie for answering our questions; we loved reading about your creative career!
Name: Sophie King
Hometown: Liskeard, Cornwall
Occupation: Creative Director at Crown and Glory
Can you tell us about how Crown and Glory came about?
Crown and Glory started as a hobby when I was in my final year of university in 2010. I was studying Photographic Art, and the final year resulted in one final body of work, which was a long and arduous process compared to the smaller, 8 week long project we’d been used to. I turned my hand to creating accessories for myself as a means to keep the artistic fire alive and to be able to have something more immediate than the other creative works I was producing. Coupled with my love for fashion and for always wearing something in my hair, the first piece I created with a headband of cascading, hand painted feather butterflies. Soon, friends and peers started requesting that I create pieces for them, and a dear friend who had been selling jewellery online for a while suggested I set up an online store. I’ll be forever indebted to her for giving me that first push!
What has been the most exciting moment so far?
Working in a window on Oxford Street for Vogue’s Fashion Night Out… sitting (second) row at LFW watching my pieces go down the catwalk… teaming up with House of Fraser to bring bespoke flower crown pop-ups to some of their stores this Spring… the list goes on!
Did you always know that you wanted a creative career?
Actually no, it was never actively encouraged, and so I hadn’t really considered it a path until I applied for university - which I did because I just lived and breathed photography at the time. Even then I thought I was going to go on to be a gallery curator or something, as opposed to ‘the artist’.
What about education, did you study anything in particular and if so, has it had an impact on what you do now?
Absolutely, I genuinely believe that all the choices I made have led me to be where I am now - I’ve studied fashion, graphic design + photography, and I use the skills from these in my business every single day. I wish I’d listened more in maths sometimes though ;)
Can you tell us about a typical day for you?
Wake up around 7am and do the terrible thing of checking through all the social + email feeds on my phone with one eye open. Breakfast (usually boiled eggs) around 8am with emails + order processing at my laptop, followed by purchasing and other admin tasks up in the home office until around 11. If we’re super busy I’ll get stuck into making products ready to ship that day with Gareth until a quick break for lunch at 1ish. I’ll shoot little snippets of the day for instagram throughout the day, edit over lunch, and design collateral or play with new products ideas until around 3pm. Order packing and dispatch takes a couple of hours a day until 5pm where it gets taken to the local sorting office ready for Royal Mail to ship. Back in the office for an hour or so tidying up any more emails or loose ends, and then I force myself away from the computer and to the gym to do an exercise class (spin, kettlebells or body combat are my faves) just so I make sure I’m leaving the house. Home, shower, dinner, back on the laptop to liaise with my VA Jen on the day’s customer service enquiries, and mindless admin tasks like bookkeeping and spreadsheets to help me unwind at night (ha!)
What was your vision before you started out?
Honestly, I was just thrilled that people liked what I was making, and enabling me to make more! I got addicted to making sales pretty quickly; it wasn’t really about the money, but more that someone liked something that I’d made so much that they’d part with their hard-earned cash for it blew my mind! I never set out to “run a business” so there was no vision as such, but what became clear quite quickly was that I’d found a niche in the UK accessories market, and was excited to see where that could take me.
What’s the best thing about doing what you do?
In August 2014, we launched our first subscription club - The Glitterati - after a customer asked if they could set up a direct debit to us every month, she was ordering that often. Fast forward to May 2015, and I organised a little get-together for some of the members after I saw they were striking up friendships in the Facebook group for the club, citing that they’d found the people they could be ‘weird’ with. Fast forward again to May 2016, and a group of them met-up to celebrate their one-year friend-versary. Knowing that in some obscure way, the things I’ve designed and put out into the world bring people together in their weirdness and have allowed them to make new friends really is more than I could have ever dreamed of.
What is/has been the biggest challenge?
Oh there’s a new challenge everyday. Me and my BFFs who also run their own businesses are forever saying “why is there always SOMETHING?!” Often, it boils down to being able to fight through your own fears and the limitations we create for ourselves. I regularly remind myself that the things I was stressing about this time last year have paved the way for where we are now, and seem so easy once you’ve overcome them.
What would you say is your most iconic piece?
Our ‘Rosie’ range (Whole Lotta, Lotta, and Not a Lotta) is the piece that’s been around the longest, had the most imitations, and still remains a key seller. Thankfully people can still tell a Crown and Glory from a sub-par copy!
What’s the best thing about living where you do?
I’d say being able to escape to the sea whenever we need a break, but in reality we’re so busy that it rarely happens, so instead I will say, cheap rent and the room to grow - not something living a city life would allow us to do so easily!
What lessons have you learned along the way?
It’s so important to find your tribe! Without having a group of likeminded babes around me that I can trust to bounce ideas between and ask for advice, I think I would’ve given it up a long time ago. Sometimes you get so isolated in what you’re doing you need to be able to ask someone on the outside ‘wait, am I crazy or…’ Learn to say no quickly, too - but be gracious and polite about it.
What are you most excited about for the future?
After starting this year with busiest 4 months in our entire lives (two major wholesale orders, a new veil collection, launching a new subscription club model, showcasing at The National Wedding Show, turning the company limited and doing pop-up shops with House of Fraser) right now I’m most excited to get some rest and then be able to make some new plans and dreams.
Can you describe Crown and Glory in five words?
Off the hook hair things
Friday nights or Sunday mornings?
It doesn’t happen that often, but you can’t beat that Friday night feeling!
Follow Crown and Glory on Instagram here - it's all too beautiful.