Daisy Bridgewater, Founder of Spry Workwear

It is with zeitgeist precision that Daisy Bridgewater has fast-tracked her small business to the forefront of this season’s biggest fashion item: the boiler suit. Based in rural Suffolk but a regular visitor to London, we caught up with the designer and entrepreneur:

What inspired you to design workwear?

I have always liked the work wear aesthetic and I think it translates very well into women’s wear. We expect to accomplish so much in a single day as women, and I wanted to design the uniform: clothes that would work hard, yet look cool. Since moving from London to the countryside I have also developed a deep-set fear of fleeces. 

What does your working day consist of?

I am still a one-woman band so my days are pretty freeform. I wish I could be more disciplined and I think having a business partner would help get more structure into my working days, so if anyone out there is interested …! A typical day might include a visit to the factory to discuss the next production run, a lot of fiddling around with tissue paper as I pack and wrap my orders and some active accounts and admin avoidance. I tend to get a lot of enquiries about sizing and often find my inbox full of lovely feedback from customers. I think customers really appreciate the direct interaction they can have with a small business and I put a lot of time into this.

What aspect of the business has proved the most challenging and which the easiest?

The greatest challenges for me are in production – getting the right quantities of stock made in the UK for the right price at the right time. I have always been instinctive and have a tendency to run with an idea. You have to be so much more organised when you are dealing with factories and production runs. I am never short of ideas, and I love telling stories, so I have found the brand building and marketing much easier. 

What advice would you give a new designer/entrepreneur?

Keep at it and don’t give up your day job. Work your contacts and do not be too proud to ask for help.

Do your family get involved in any aspect/how do you combine with having a family?

I have teenage sons who help me with the heavy lifting, loading and unloading stock from the van and helping me set up at festivals and pop ups. They are getting quietly more interested as boiler suits are now very much part of the contemporary fashion narrative, not just some strange project their mum keeps banging on about. 

Which medium have you found most effective to reach your target customers? 

I love the fact that word of mouth still seems to be the most powerful – I get a lot of new customers referred by existing ones. 

Do you use social media?

Instagram is amazingly powerful and I get a lot of sales through my posts (but I have to say it makes me feel quite panicky – like I am not trying hard enough). 

You used to write the children’s page in the Telegraph magazine. Would you consider designing for children?

I always thought that I would but there is some such good children’s workwear out there already and I think the sizing would be a minefield. 

What do you love most about living in the country?

The space and the potential for solitude. The way it makes you slow down and appreciate things that might pass you by in London: colours, smells, sounds. And I love keeping animals – I have a small-holders licence and keep long-haired pigs and fancy chickens.

Where is your go-to place in London?

I love the energy of Shoreditch – so utterly different from Suffolk Brick Lane and Columbia Road. My favourite restaurant is Leroy’s on Christina Street. 

What fashion trends will you be adopting this year? 

I’m sticking with boiler suits.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Did you stick to it? 

I’m not drinking during weekdays, and yes, I have stuck to it so far. I tried to give up butter but that lasted about 24 hours. 

What book are you reading? 

I’ve just finished Normal People by Sally Rooney and started Liberty, a collection of Virginia Woolf essays. 

Do you have a favourite app?

Not really – I don’t play games on my phone. Maybe I am missing out but I just can’t imagine when I would.

Spry Workwear
— Annie Reid
30th January 2019