We speak to Founder Claire Chanelle of the newly launched brand Rue Sloane, on what it takes to launch your own line and why you need a precise eye for detail.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like/your morning routine?

We have a two-year-old son, Honoré. I like to get up an hour before he wakes. This is sometimes for me to think. I am most creative when I am relaxed and alone.

What is the brand’s core DNA, and did you always know you wanted to have your own fashion brand?

I have dreamed of having a fashion brand since I can remember. But it was never “if” it was always “when I have”. There was never another option. If you fail, which we all do at some points, just pick yourself up and try again. I was very patient. I have a fashion design and marketing degree and a distinction from the London College of Fashion. I have attended premiere vision in Paris every year since I was 17. I was then a Fashion Specialist at Harrods where I was on the ground dressing both men and women from different parts of the world, different cultures. It built my foundation to learn every aspect of how garments fit, what people want, body shapes, and respecting religions and cultures. I took everything in and used to write design ideas on the back of Harrods receipts. I then went on to being a luxury fashion influencer and worked with some of the most prestigious brands making hundreds of online friendships helping women build their capsule wardrobes. Everything I have done over the last 25 years has led to this point, it really has been a lifelong dream and I waited to have all this knowledge and experience. The DNA of the brand is simple. Good quality pieces that feel amazing, make you feel confident, and last a lifetime. The pieces are all designed to be classic, wearable pieces. They can be styled with your current wardrobe and be worn from day to night, work to the weekend; the idea is to get low “cost per wear”. The pieces are so wearable. If you buy each piece from the drop, you can mix and match to create multiple, endless looks. From the basic knitted organic sets as elevated loungewear to the “CC” split leggings with heels and our London Duster coat. The idea is to buy the full drop, and this is your capsule wardrobe for the season; otherwise, buy one piece and this will fit seamlessly into your existing wardrobe. Buying the right garments means buying less and feeling less stressed when getting dressed. We are offering impeccably designed pieces; practical, comfortable, wearable, high quality, and classic but also at a reasonable price. We have low margins because we want to be as attainable as possible. I am not here for short-term financial gain; I have worked for over 20 years to get here, and my dream is to make women and men feel confident so that our reputation will bring us success long term.

Tell us how the brand has evolved since the initial ideation stages and what have been the biggest challenges to date?

There were many stages, I compiled all the ideas I had and started with a drop I love and that I felt people would need. I am passionate about the fabrics we use, where the fabrics come from and who is manufacturing them. We hand-picked the mills that produce the wool or yarns and then we hand-picked the factories that manufacture our garments. We have met all factory owners in person. Therefore, the brand took three years to launch. If I am honest, I had moments where I did not believe in myself, and I would put the brand off. Overcoming the thought that “I can’t do this” was a challenge. I had samples back in 2018 but it took two years to overcome this. I am confident in my knowledge of this sector of the industry but due to this being a lifelong dream, I put too much pressure on myself. I have my husband Paris and my mum to thank but also my online community for encouraging me and reminding me how I had helped them buy better, build their own capsule collection and they would tell me that they believed in me. I am very grateful for this. Please believe in yourself, do not waste years as I did. We can all only do our best and if we put 100 percent into what we love, we can be proud of ourselves. I really wanted to be size inclusive. This was challenging as it meant triple the sampling. We did not just make a sample to fit me and scale the sizes. I wanted to sample petite sizing and extra-large sizing. This delayed the process and cost triple what it should have. I was willing to put in the investment (both time and money) to ensure we were as inclusive as possible. I have plans to focus on size inclusivity when we scale the company. The biggest lessons I have learned do not sweat the small stuff, to take one step at a time and do not to expect to leap to the top. Manufacturing has been challenging, many delays, and lots of things go wrong but I now deal with one problem at a time, try to find a solution without complaining and work at least six months in advance to avoid crippling delays.


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How has having your own platform supported being able to successfully launch your own brand?

It has been a great advantage of course but mostly due to having access to so many women (and men) and having one on one conversations. I made notes of all the chats we had, the styling questions and what they needed but couldn’t find; this was invaluable. I showed some of my community my samples in the early stages and got their feedback. Then there is the marketing factor. I have an audience that I like to think trusts me as I have always been very open and see them as friends, I have made so many true friends. A huge advantage was having my audience for over ten years. The trust is there, the relationships are there, and they know my history and journey. The downside is, I felt like I had many eyes on me and people had high expectations. I did not want to let anyone down, I really put my heart and soul into this. A little is pressure is good, it brings the best out of me. I know in my heart we have done our best.

You’ve launched with a small, well-considered edit. Was this the goal from the outset?

Let’s say it was a realistic edit. If I had more time to sample and more budget, I would have liked to launch with a full capsule collection. We have a blouse, a dress, basic tees and sporty pieces to come. We also have homeware, childrenswear and menswear coming! I am happy with our first drop. The London Duster is the hero piece. We have the basics covered with the knitted sets, some accessories and our pearl “Tallulah” jacket which is our trophy piece. We covered the foundation of a capsule collection. All our drops will be small, you do not need an excessive number of pieces each season. You need well-thought-out pieces that can be worn multiple ways and mixed and matched to create endless looks. Rue Sloane does the thinking for you, so you do not need to plan or stress when getting dressed.

How do you balance the creative and commercial sides of the business, and do you feel more drawn to on than the other?

Absolutely, I am drawn to all things creative. I also have a business mind. Business is not just numbers and logistics; business thinking is a very creative world and I thrive on this side of the brand. My skill is an intuition for trends. My online community knows I have a track record for predicting trends, look at the fashion week runway in September, it was all about the duster coats! This combined with my love of business, scaling companies and my 20 years’ of experience in styling, it is a strong balance. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses. My advice is to focus on your strengths and find the right people to do the rest. Rue Sloane was founded by my husband and I. Paris has a finance background and we have opposite strengths. He looks after the finances, the tech side (he built the website alone), the legal aspects, photography, videography, and all logistics such as shipping, our office, etc. It also helps him speak multiple languages. Paris is French so this helped with Premiere Vision and buying fabric in France. It is very useful to have an understanding in Italian for the mills and factories. I could never do this alone; we have done this as a couple and even shot all the pieces ourselves. We launched this whole brand with just us two and it is all self-funded.

How will you approach scaling without compromising on quality?

I am very passionate about this. My plan is to put a lot of effort into our relationships with the mills and factories. We will need to constantly research fabrics and mills to ensure we source the best quality. A lot of research and effort. We have tried our very best to ensure we have high quality for an attainable price. I hope we can continue this with the support of our customers.

Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what knowledge did they impart?

Yes, Timothy Oulton. We sadly lost him this year; I wish I could show him this article. He was so humble he would have been so embarrassed. Tim was incredibly talented and successful but the kindest and most humble man. Reputation is of the utmost importance, how we make others feel is what leaves a lasting impression. I feel very lucky to have sat down with Tim and learned from his advice. Mostly to be around him and see how he built a brand with integrity, classic good quality pieces that last a lifetime without follow- ing trends. The way Tim treated his team like family and the kindness he showed us. I learned so much from him regarding building a company with integrity, to be kind, not jumping on trends and only create what you love and believe in. Stay kind, humble, and have a little fun along the way. So, Tim, I will dazzle as many people as I can.


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What advice would you give to your younger self?

To only care about the opinions of people you love and people who know you. Try your best, if you fail you can be proud you could not have done anymore, and it was not meant to be. When things do not work out, accept it is not for you and that bigger things are coming. We have sewn some of my favorite quotes into the care labels. Each design has a different quote, a quote I find inspiring. A little touch from me to each customer.

This is The Reset Issue – what is the best way to reset?

Family and health are my most important focus. My son is my world and everything I do is for him. I want him to be proud of me when he is a man. My husband and my mum are my two best friends and I love nothing more than spending time with them. I am very simple in my personal life, I like to be at home, simple food and be with my little family. I enjoy my alone time, so I can reset, recharge and clear my head. I listen to inspiring worship music daily, it makes me feel calm, motivated and grateful. I thank God and the universe for what I have, and I feel ready to take on any challenges.

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