It’s always good to get a bit of insight to the inner workings of any brand or company. Here Headfudge owner and creator, Heather, gets a grilling to find out what makes her tick and what spawned the company. Read on for more.
Tell us about your background first. Where you’re from and where you’re at now.
I was born in Manchester and moved down to the south coast with my family when I was eight. I love living by the New Forest and so close to the sea – I really wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. The ocean and greenery are like medicine to me and I feel so lucky.
After four years studying graphic design at Salisbury College I started working as a junior designer in Southampton. After climbing up to senior level, over a period of eight years in the industry, I finally took that leap of faith and started up on my own. The decision came following a defining backpacking trip to Australia and New Zealand. When I came back I started up Headfudge Design - www.headfudgedesign.co.uk
(10 years ago) and I’ve never looked back!
What prompted you to start a clothing brand?
Falling pregnant unexpectedly was the catalyst for Headfudge Clothing! The panic of life ahead as a full time, single working mummy, with the fear of not being able to maintain the level of pressure and working hours I'd been doing in my business made me decide a plan B was needed – a business that, if successful, would be able to run itself much more than my design business could.
Headfudge Design was by this time incredibly successful, but knowing I'd most likely lose my large blue chip clients when trying to juggle a baby and loss of hours, I was worried about the future. In a moment of madness I thought: ‘I can create a new clothing brand!’. I had the tools already in place for the main work - designing the logo, website and clothes range. That would usually cost thousands if paying someone else. If I could get it out there and it took off, then I could eventually stop working crazy hours, missing all that precious time with my baby, and be comfortable enough to spend time with my girl and give her an amazing life.
And why is Headfudge themed as outdoor/surf/beach lifestyle gear?
My biggest loves (aside from my girl and dog of course) are the ocean, travelling, nature and the great outdoors. I've been lucky enough to do a lot of travelling, pre mummy-hood, and ticked off many of my bucket list destinations and experiences. For me, the best medicine for the mind is being by the ocean, breathing in that distinct air that feels like it cleanses your soul, getting lost in the moment by the earthy embrace of the forest and letting the mind run free with dreams and plans for that next adventure. The feelings all these things give are a sense of freedom, clarity of mind, escapism from the daily rat race and possibilities of good things to come. In times of trouble, I have always taken solace and managed to find peace in the great outdoors.
Mindfulness is so important in the ever crazy and worrying world we live in, where you feel dizzy from the pace of life. I make myself experience joy in the moment - really experience the now and cleanse the mind of all the crap life puts in the way.
Do you surf yourself?
The answer to that should of course be yes, and that would be true in an ideal world, but despite my yearn to learn, with running my business and being tied up with a toddler, my time out of work is limited. However, I did just purchase my first stand up paddle board last month and I have my first lesson in a few weeks! I’m SO excited! I intend on spending much of this summer on the water – SUP, kid and dog in tow! (Well, maybe not all at same time! Although I did buy a lifejacket for both my 2 legged and 4 legged girls!).
What about other activities – into anything specific?
With having an energetic golden retriever, dog walking is definitely my main daily activity! She is very lucky as I also have a dog walker who takes her for two hour runs in the forest when I’m busy working.
I’m also into Yoga and Pilates, and practice meditation whenever i can. Coastal walks are always great for switching off too. I’ve been trying to learn guitar for several years, but just never have enough hours in the day. One day, I’ll be able to fulfil my dream of being sat playing guitar around a campfire, with my girl and my dog! It’s the simple things y’know?
You obviously appreciate these sorts of sport but which is your fave and why?
Although I’m yet to learn to surf, the whole surfing / beach vibe is so me. I would love nothing more than to have an awesome day out on the water, followed by just chilling, sat on the board watching the sunset and then a campfire and few cheeky drinks with friends. I think SUP is the way forward for me as it’s so much easier to learn and I can take my little girl and dog out with me. Being able to take an inflatable SUP pretty much anywhere makes it so much more flexible too.
Where do you see Headfudge, er, heading?
I want HF to hopefully become a household brand, but just to finally get it ‘out there’ after all my hard work, time and money would be such a huge success. I’m a designer – I started this whole venture knowing nothing about retail, selling, clothing manufacture and so on. Even fashion in general to be honest. I’ve never been a fashion victim as I’ve always been a free spirit and followed my own trends, whatever they may be. I’m literally learning and working all this out along the way. I’ve made lots of mistakes, but I’ve also learnt a hell of a lot. It’s been two years now since launching Headfudge. I think with determination, passion and sheer hard work I can make it everything I know it can be. I just need 12 more hours in the day!
Fancy taking on the big boys?
I’d love Headfudge to become the next Animal or O'Neil. They all started somewhere, right? How cool would it be if Headfudge is known as well as the big boys? I would be so proud to know that it all started with an anxious single mum and her baby bump at 4am in the morning one random night! It really would be the dream. For me, as well as doing all this for our future, it’s also about getting the brand’s ethos into the world. Encouraging that mindset and getting more people embracing the freedom to live in the moment.
If so, how do you intend to get there?
I’m doing everything I can right now to keep pushing the brand and getting people on board to help with things like social media and making contacts for potential stockists.
My immediate goal over the coming months is to get Headfudge into some relevant shops / sport clubs / events / festivals – anywhere people can actually see and feel the clothes rather than just relying on online sales. The clothes are really good quality and certain items in particular just aren’t done justice from a photo on the website.
I have two brand ambassadors currently; Jay ‘JSUP’ Manning for caps and hats (he is tied up with ‘the big boys’!) and Dan Taylor who is great, donning Headfudge everywhere he goes, surfs and skates! I’m thinking of having a pop-up marque around Bournemouth over summer and autumn – just a small matter of passing by the council.
Talk about the Headfudge ethos – what values do you hold true?
I hold true the Headfudge ethos. I’m driven by my everyday philosophies and although my life is beyond busy, I live up to those brand values every day, in different forms. The Headfudge ethos is all about freedom and being a free spirit. It particularly relates to freedom of the mind and how the great outdoors can really help clear your mind from all that ‘fudge’. I know from personal experience the medicinal benefits of the ocean and being at one with nature. I swear it’s got healing powers!! You just have to learn to be present and live in the moment to realise and appreciate it.
Got any big plans for this season? If so, can you divulge?
It’s a little too soon for a massive event this year, but I’m all set to take Headfudge to Boardmasters next summer and hopefully some other festivals. By then I’ll be ready and prepared to cope with the (obviously) hundreds of orders, haha! Positive mental attitude and all that… I’m also going to take on more help to really focus this summer on getting the stock in front of potential customers. Exciting times!
Who do you see as HF’s core market?
I don’t want to pigeonhole the audience too much, but based on the brand’s ethos, HF’s core market I would say is around the 25-40 years age bracket. People who have lived enough to appreciate and understand what we’re about, and whose lifestyles need to ‘embrace the freedom’ more... Having said that, no one is too young or too old to relate to the Headfudge brand and ethos. I’ve been asked on numerous occasions if I do kids clothes, so once finances allow, I'm going to bring out a children's range – hopefully for next Spring!
Why should people support smaller brands like HF?
Every big brand started small. Animal started out as two lads from Bournemouth working from their bedroom. Saltrock, Passenger… they’re all local companies with a similar background and vision. No one starts big, and without the support of customers, we’d never see any exciting new brands. I think there is a gap in the market for Headfudge – and I just can’t wait to be able to get it more widely known so I can start adding to the collection.
Tell us what else you’re into outside of Headfudge Clothing.
Obviously my design business takes up a substantial part of my week, but aside from that - and obviously socialising with family and friends - I love travelling, camping, music, photography and exercise. I’ve seen quite a lot of the world, but there is still so much more to see – including much of the UK! Ticking off my bucket list has been a big focus during past years but now life has changed somewhat and priorities are different, my life is all about my daughter and giving her the happiest life and best upbringing I can. No more jumping out of planes for a few years!
And what about personal challenges for 2017 – anything lined up?
2017 from a personal point of view is all about getting fitter and healthier! – spending so many hours sat in front of a computer is not good for anyone, so plenty of outdoor walks, yoga, pilates, SUPing and a generally a more active lifestyle is my plan for this year… it’s going OK so far!
Final shout outs?
My little girl’s Daddy, Marcus, has been a total rock to me and put up with all my stress, worries, workaholic tendencies and meltdowns over the two years I’ve been trying to build Headfudge Clothing. We may not be a together but he has been an incredible partner in my journey so far. He knows I’m doing all this for our daughter and despite how hard I work on it – sometimes to burn out - he understands it’s something I just have to do and make it work. Shout out to Marcus!