Getting to know Lulu O'Connor, this International Women's Day - Clothes Doctor

Getting to know Lulu O'Connor, this International Women's Day

  1. How did Clothes Doctor come about? 

I launched Clothes Doctor as a repairs and alterations service in 2017. I started finding the whole concept of clothing care fascinating after taking a good hard look at my own unsustainable shopping habits whilst working in the City. I went on to discover just how damaging large parts of the fashion industry are to the environment. Much of it is an entirely linear system with no recycling at all, creating vast amounts of waste. Some of this comes from the production side but a lot of it also comes from the consumption side, due to how our generation views clothing as a throwaway product.

I became interested in creating a business that would actually encourage people to change their consumption habits, and extend the life of their clothes. This led to the creation of specialist detergents and clothing care products that people could use at home, so that their clothes wouldn’t need repairing so often.

Today, we are a platform to help people extend the life of their clothes by cleaning, protecting, repairing and altering – the way our parents and grandparents did. There is so little information available on the possibilities for repairing garments, and care labels often default to ‘dry clean only’ as a catch-all for how to clean silk, cashmere, wool and many other fabrics. With our products, services and advice, we help people reconnect with their clothing and love their wardrobe again.

Lulu O'Connor

  1. At what point did you know you had to start Clothes Doctor? 

I was working in the City and needed a day-to-night wardrobe that would impress when taking clients out. I began to binge-shop, buying things that I just “quite liked”, my desire to buy was almost an addiction, I craved that kick out of it. You find something you love, it makes you look fantastic, but then the feeling of the “hit” fades… I reached a tipping point. I had a huge walk-in wardrobe and there was no space left. Not an inch. It was a moment of epiphany. I had a good look through it and so much was damaged: Hems falling down, buttons missing, cashmere moth-eaten. Where could I go to get it repaired? I tried local dry cleaners but they would say no to anything but the most basic mending. That was my gap in the market.

  1. What challenges do you face as a female entrepreneur?

There were lots of things I had to overcome – tough challenges like climate action in the modern world, being a female founder in a male-centric arena and the exacting task of creating a brand from nothing. I’m in the process of setting up to become a working mum for the first time, which is bringing a lot of daunting but also exciting opportunities, and I’m super confident that the Clothes Doctor team is ready to take the reins of the business while I’m having a little time off!

  1. Any tips for the general public, on how to take better care of their clothes? 

On the whole, there seems to be quite a lot of misinformation about clothing care out there. For example, it’s quite common to find that luxury items such as silk or cashmere are labelled as dry clean only. But this does not necessarily mean that this is the best way to care for the garment. We developed our specialist detergent Eco Washes as an alternative to dry cleaning, and we believe that these actually wash items better than dry cleaning. All of our products have been developed in-house using our experience of fabrics and garment care. So we try and communicate this knowledge as much as possible to our customers. 

Washing at lower temperatures is another really simple way of keeping clothes looking their best. And to reduce the environmental impact of laundry. The key to this is using a high-performance wash such as our Basil and Mandarin Leaf Detergent which clean efficiently at low temperatures. Generally speaking, any kind of heat can damage clothes, whether that’s tumble drying or ironing, so dry naturally wherever possible. 

 

For more clothing care tips from Lulu explore more of our blogs. For our whole range of detergentsmiststools and accessories that extend the life and improve the look, feel and smell, of your wardrobe favourites, explore our whole range.

 

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Credit to Grace from Annabel and Grace, and Elle Belle's Notebook for the original interview of which content has been used. 
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