Delphine McNeill & Beth Pollak
The women who designed the most elegant T-shirt on the market
Talk Editor spoke to the founders of Livotte, a London based fashion label, known for highly elegant, organic tees and tops designed to suit modern woman's needs and last a lifetime.
Launched in London in the autumn of 2016 by two American friends Beth Pollak and Delphine McNeill, who both worked in the fashion industry in New York for many years, their philosophy is one of stylish practicality and making dressing well effortless and sustainable.
Having chosen the best yarns in Europe from a mill located in the Midlands, they ensure top quality from sample room to production and consumers. For Beth and Delphine, sustainability is about offering a locally designed and produced tops with the best organic combed cotton fabric available whilst keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum.
With nineteen classic designs to choose from, each Livotte top is available on their website in black and white, crafted to a very high standard from a bespoke organic cotton proven to withstand over 200 washes.
In this interview, Beth and Delphine talk about their goal to make tees an essential part of women’s wardrobe, the importance of having a good co-founder to bounce ideas off and putting faith in one's own instincts.
Beth and Delphine - you both had successful careers in fashion and PR in New York. Did the inspiration to start a jersey shirts business come from your professional background?
Having both worked in fashion for many years, we saw this as an attainable goal. However, neither of us has been professionally involved in design, manufacturing or production so it continues to be a challenge. We learn every day.
Starting a business in London
You swapped life in the Big Apple for London, how has setting up a business in the UK been for you?
We both moved the UK prior to meeting and founding Livotte. That being said, we have had to get used to differences in British and American work culture - Americans tend to be more direct in their communication.
What makes your tees and cotton tops stand out and how important are tees in a woman’s wardrobe?
Our tees are made of bespoke organic cotton with a touch of branded Lycra. The fabric is of the highest quality. Our tops are machine washable and have been professionally tested to 200 washes for shrinkage, colour fastness and pilling. Our mission is to make tees an important part of a woman’s wardrobe-work or otherwise, from layering under a blazer or as a stand alone item, it’s a chic and easy way to dress.
Your ethically made fabric has been tested to withstand over 200 washes, how do you ensure the quality of sourced material remains high?
We work with one fabric sourced locally from one mill in the Midlands. We have worked to develop strong relationships with our supplier as well as our factory.
Connecting with customers
Livotte is an online business - how do you connect with other business owners and customers?
It’s all about networking, social media and events. We never turn down a meeting, we support other women in business and we meet and talk with customers at our local shopping events. We manage all aspects of our business ourselves and our social media is personal. Our monthly newsletter Modern Women Doing Great Things highlights other women across the UK who inspire us. We also host a monthly drinks night for women we know and their friends.
Dealing with challenges
Has there been a time in your career when you felt like giving up but didn’t? How did you deal with the challenge?
Absolutely, if we were not in it together, we would have given up. Having a partner to bounce ideas off of is vital. Thankfully when one of us is down about the business, the other is up!
A day in life...
What motivates you to get out of bed every morning?
We have little ones!
How does a day in life of Livotte founders look like?
Hectic! We’re up before our children, reading emails and doing social media. The Livotte day officially starts after the school run - coffee meetings, conference calls, fittings and development fill most of our days.
If we were to meet for another interview a year from now, how would you like Livotte’s future to look like?
More tops on more women!
Can you share what you have learnt on your business journey?
When we started Livotte, we had a lot to learn. On many occasions we assumed others, professionals knew more about certain parts of our business than we did. We put more faith in their skills than in our instincts. After paying for many unnecessary services and going through various consultants, we’ve finally come to the conclusion that 'we’ve got this' and we know our business and its needs.