The beauty of handmade comes down to its maker’s passionate investment in creating something unique, something that’s a little piece of who they are and something made just for you. Anchored Heart’s Jacqui embodies that passion, a characteristic clear not only in her fabulous clothing collection but in her customer interactions and presentation of her designs.
Trying her hand first at styles pretty and girly, she soon discovered it wasn’t quite the right fit. Closing that chapter and exploring the possibilities, she settled on her niche and marked her return to fashion with the creation of Anchored Heart, launching her brand in March 2015. “I’ve always been interested in fashion design,” she says, “but I didn’t find m creative side until about five years ago when the concept of handmade crossed my periphery. I saw gorgeous things being created, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for so I set to work making my own.”
Entirely self-taught, Jacqui’s inspiration for her line echoes of the sentimental debris swirling around us on a daily basis, sparking memories and emotions that in the designer’s case transform into beautiful designs. “I take inspiration from song lyrics, quotes and just day-to-day experiences,” she says, “I often have design ideas pop into my head and although not all of them make it to the store, most shape a product in some way.”
The lyrics of one musician in particular are at the forefront of Jacqui’s consciousness as she confesses to being a massive fan of PINK. So what would she dress her superstar idol in given the chance? “I’d design a matching tee and romper for Pink and her daughter,” she says, “I’d make Pink’s tee say Mama Rockstar and Willow’s romper say Rockstar Bebe. Simple but stylish.”
Anchored Heart has become not only a destination for the sartorially cool and bespoke but an avenue for Jacqui to contribute to the growing trend for eco-fashion. “I’m a huge believer in small changes making big differences,” she says. “It’s been a long process trying to find ethically made items, but I’ve finally found a supplier for most of our range and these will be hitting the store soon.” Refusing to stake her business in anything less than fair, quality foundations, Jacqui asserts that even though using the new supplier means a smaller profit for her business “it’s worth it to know that I’m helping to support fair work conditions for all.”
To her wife’s chagrin, Jacqui’s own working conditions are akin to total home domination as her once dedicated sewing room has become too limited for her growing brand. “Anchored Heart is all over our house,” she admits. “There are lots and lots of very late nights,” she adds, confessing that in balancing her family time with her business she has had to forgo reading and telly watching to dedicate the time needed for work. But it’s not something she resents, “my relax time has been replaced with Anchored Heart and I’m so grateful for that opportunity. I love that I get to live my dream every single day. Not going to a job I hate, instead I get to work on my own creative business every day and I even get to wear my PJ’s if I like.”
Jacqui has adopted a wholly rational approach to her business, PJ-wearing aside, accepting that in running her own creative empire there are still human limitations to consider. “I’m not superwoman,” she admits, “I cannot do everything that I want to do by myself and I sometimes can’t meet the deadlines I place on myself. That’s okay though, because there is always tomorrow.” Setting realistic expectations is key to being successful in business and so is tenacity, a quality Jacqui possesses in droves. Living by the adage of never giving up no matter the obstacles to overcome, the designer acknowledges that life is prone to knocks but what matters is how we deal with them. “It’s okay,” she says, “as long as you get back up when you can.”
Building her brand a day at a time, Jacqui shares every small business owner’s dream of growing her business through the eyes of her loyal clientele, “for now I am very small, but one day I want Anchored Heart to be huge and the first step for that is becoming a recognised brand by potential customers,” she says. Naming a number of fellow small businesses, from Born Famous and Beau Hudson to Paxton&Co and Adam&Yve, Jacqui finds an enormous amount of inspiration in the work of her peers. “I’m also hugely inspired by some of the wonderful ladies I’ve met since opening Anchored Heart,” she says, “especially the mamas behind Ivie-Eve, GSquadJNR, Jasper Lane, Kerzei’s Kollection and OTClothing. They’ve all helped me so much and really inspire me daily.” As for a brand she’d love to collaborate with, “Young Blood Apparel, because I just love their design aesthetic.”
Getting down to the nuts and bolts, or needles and thread as the case may be, I’m keen to know what looks we can expect from the designer in the coming months. “I love faux leather!” says Jacqui, “I’m investigating options at the moment to bring these to the range. I love both monochrome and metallic right now, so I try to incorporate these into most things I do.” Giving fashion minis the opportunity to mix edge with comfort, Jacqui says of her label “Anchored Heart is a little sass, a little swag and a whole lot of style. I like to make edgy threads that stand out but still look stylish,” she says. “Bold and stylish are sometimes hard to fit together, but I like to hope that I’m doing just that.” In short, she says, “life is way too short for boring clothes, even for kids!” We couldn’t agree more!