The Tale of Laura Egloff
Photography: Jenna Potter Words: Georgie Abay
Whether youre looking for advice on how to launch your own business, adore cute childrens clothing or simply want a glimpse into what life as an expat mother in Hong Kong is like, the inspiration in this profile is seemingly endless. I recently saw an interview with Diane von Furstenberg where the interviewer asked her whether, after she almost lost her first business in her early years as a designer, she ever worried that she wouldnt succeed again. Her response really struck a chord with me she said she never doubted that she would succeed again because she simply would not stop until she did so, says the dynamic Laura Egloff, the Hong Kong based Californian designer behind the charming childrens fashion label Velveteen Clothing.
Egloff studied textile technology and design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Her parents then convinced her to return to University and finish a degree in business. It has been a great advantage in navigating the pitfalls that every small business faces, she says. Egloff later launched her childrens fashion label after the birth of her son Gabriel, now two. It was only when I was at the end of my pregnancy with Gabriel that I managed to pull all the pieces of Velveteen together. Prior to that, Id been working as a consultant for my former employer and had decided that, with my second child, I could no longer spend my days at a job that wasnt creatively inspiring to me. I really wanted to be a role model for my children and show them that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to with a bit of hard work and determination.
Egloff also works with fair-trade organisations whenever possible, with Velveteen Clothing garments finely crafted and hand-embroidered using a combination of Indian artisan techniques. We work to provide employment to mothers who would otherwise be unable to provide for their children and education for children who would otherwise be unable to attend school. We want to give all children the beautiful opportunity to embrace the magical marvel of childhood, she says.
It comes as no surprise that Gabriel and also her beautiful daughter Alessandra, four, are her greatest source of inspiration. My children are a constant influence in my work, both directly and indirectly, as I'm sure is the case with every parent. As a designer, I have the most honest (and harsh) focus group at my fingertips 24 hours a day! Whether it's playing with my colour chips or critiquing a fabric or new silhouette, three's never a shortage of brutal honesty from my children. Gabriel is now two and is a bit less involved than my daughter is, but he always gravitates to certain clothes in his wardrobe and that tells me everything I need to know about whats working for him. I often find him admiring himself in the mirror alongside his sister so I know hes as influenced as any of us are by how good his clothes make him feel about himself and how that fuels his burgeoning self expression.
On juggling running her own business with raising young children, Egloff says flexibility is key. There will always be challenges or unexpected changes, what determines a successful outcome is how quickly you can respond and keep moving forward. It really takes discipline to maintain any semblance of balance as a mother and I think you have to be realistic about how life ebbs and flows. There will be times when your personal time is sacrificed because the children are small and need more from you. Equally, there will be other times when things are a bit more manageable and you can take more time for yourself and your family or work.
She has also fine-tuned her time management skills. Motherhood forces you to develop a sort of super power of multi-tasking and time management skills. Having so much on my plate has forced me to be far more effective with my time than ever before, she says. I try not to be on my email or iPhone in front of the kids so I wake up early to reply to emails from Los Angeles and New York and then I go to work while they go off to the school bus so I can accomplish as much as possible whilst theyre in school or having activities. No matter what the day brings, I always ensure that Im home by 6pm to take over the bath and bedtime routine. If I still need to get work done, Ill do that after my husband and I have dinner.
Lauras little list of loves:
The way my children scream mama as they invade our bedroom in the morning.
The invaluable advice and support I get from my gorgeous husband.
Learning something new every day right now thats how to play the guitar really poorly with my daughter.
This Love Is Here To Stay by Thomas Dybdahl and any song off Mayer Hawthornes latest album preferably blasting at high volume while I dance with the kids before bath time.
Iced lemon tea (always and forever!)
The latest print edition of Papier Mache magazine and a cup of tea.
Pomegranate Energizing Lip Protection by Murad (obsessed!)
Indian inspired hand pieces and anklets by Haati Chai.
Ikat jacquards in bold colours.
Tassels and fringe on everything.
My Mophie juice pack without which I would not be able to survive.