Back in 2005 I launched my lingerie label "Vanjo" which specialised in the larger cups and smaller backs of the lingerie world. Mainly spurred on my need to find a 30E cup bra that wasn't black white or nude and I hadn't found one non wired back then in that size. Because lets face it when you're that size a S, M or L size isn't gonna cut it; either it's going to fit around your back or fit your boobs not both.
So after doing the game paper, scissors and stone I ended up in Belfast, with just a rucksack, and with there being no lingerie design jobs there, and with no responsibilities and no little people to support, it was the perfect (in my eyes) place to start my journey designing Vanjo.
Being an only and lonely lingerie designer in Belfast had it's advantages and disadvantages. The advantages being that I was featured on the BBC news on a programme about local designers, I won the NI Shell Entrepreneur award for small business; basically I had a great USP. The downsides was that I had to travel 'across the water' (to the UK) for meetings and shows. And all before social media influenced our lives in a big way (though I did have a 'My Space' page - remember those?) I wasn't side tracked, trawling through and losing a couple of hours here and there.
I closed Vanjo down in AW 2008 with the last orders going out for SS09, for a few reasons, one, at the time the orders were getting too big for me to sew myself, but too small to outsource, (though I did do one run with AJM, a UK manufacturers). I simply could no longer go at the speed I was working, working from 7am - 11pm most days. I still wanted to travel and work abroad and I'd been getting heaps of questions from people about advice on how to start their own lingerie label, and I wanted to write a book about this.
Basically I couldn't see how I could achieve all this, having only lived in a new place for four years and with the majority of that I'd been at home with only the postman I saw on a daily basis so didn't have a solid network at that point around me.
And when I closed 'Vanjo' down I was saddened but also excited about my next chapter in my life - I ended up staying in Belfast taking a part time job, moving in with a friend, writing "How to become a Lingerie Designer" then when I had about finished writing, I secured sponsorship with an Australian lingerie design company and generally the time I spent away from my label I had a blast.
But I missed it.
Fast forward until now, and I love writing and freelancing, doing all the technical aspects of lingerie for different companies, but there is something about having your own design in your mind and being able to sew it into reality. So Vanjo is set to be launched for AW18.
Why now? To be honest I don't know, I suppose it's the same reason that I closed down Vanjo, in that I didn't follow reason I just went with what felt right.
I can't put it better than Winston Churchill "Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about".