The Numbers: Kirrily Morris and Louise van Haarst on the launch of their clothing company
PUBLISHED: 11:47 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:47 15 February 2019
© Gabrielle McMillan
Organic, fair wear, eco and awesome sweatshirts. This month, locals Kirrily Morris and Louise van Haarst launch The Numbers
Originally from Australia, having moved here 17 years ago, Kirrily (Kiz) has never left. She worked in banking for many years but gave it all up once her two children came along. She was itching to get back into work but wanted to find something she could structure positively around the kids… Louise lived in London for over a decade before moving back to Berkshire with her husband to raise their family. She has three young children, but she finds it hard to stand still and usually has a few projects on the go. So they decided to go into business together and have launched The Numbers…
What is The Numbers?
• Lou: We make beautifully cut, organic, eco-printed sweatshirts and t-shirts that celebrate your age, whether you are five or 50! Our inspiration was dual – we knew that our kids love celebrating their new age each birthday and would wear that number with pride all year. One day, Kiz was looking for a cool but good-quality number shirt for her six-year-old’s birthday and couldn’t find one. At the same time, Kiz and I had both just turned 40 and spent a lot of time talking about it. There can be negativity about big birthdays and we wanted to smash it! We feel like our best selves, and we know many amazing, experienced and inspiring people who are too. Whatever your age we want you to own it! And that means wearing and celebrating it! We have an online shop thenumbersuk.com and will be popping up in boutiques and craft markets across the county.
Why do you love Berkshire?
• Kiz: I fell in love with Berkshire when I used to day-trip out of London to meet the in-laws. It offers such beautiful countryside whilst still being close to London. It makes me glad every day that I live and work here, and that our kids get this quality of life too.
• Lou: I also love where I live in Cookham in Berkshire. I grew up just over the river, but Cookham was where my mum brought us as kids on summer days for a picnic by the river. It never lost that magic for me, and when we left London it was Cookham or bust! The combination of countryside, the Thames, great schools and a lovely community make me grateful that this is my home.
What did you do before?
• Kiz: I was a management consultant in banking, having worked on transformation projects around the world.
• Lou: I worked in the voluntary sector, first in international and corporate fundraising, later as a change-management consultant.
How did you come to work together?
• Kiz: We met at NCT classes, and we both had two children in under two years, born just weeks apart. That bonds you for life! More recently, we were both agonising about how to return to work whilst maintaining a balanced family life and decided doing our own thing was the best way forward.
Describe an average day…
• Lou: After the school run, we sit down and agree what we aim to achieve that day. The start-up phase has been frenetic! Lots of product designing, supplier sourcing, website building, copywriting and photography. As we move past the launch phase, our days will involve tweaking our marketing, celebrating our customers, managing stock, getting orders out and planning our next product launches.
Who or what inspires you?
• Kiz: Our creative friends!
• Lou: I’m a design geek and I find inspiration everywhere I look, from beautiful wallpaper, a graphic print to a perfect typeface. I love fashion, but these days I’m very mindful of the impact it has on the environment. I’m constantly seeking out designers working with beautiful, natural fabrics made on a smaller scale.
Goals for the future?
• Kiz: We aim to raise money for charity by donating a portion of our profits to selected causes. We are looking forward to maturing this side of our business model. We also have a million other ideas that we can’t wait to get cracking on.
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