“We’re not followers of fashion but try to come up with classic ideas that will resonate with our audience”, says Sarah Godwin, founder at St Bert’s Clothing. St Bert’s Clothing believes in comfort, quality and happiness, and their 1970s-inspired vibe represents their “Just Be Yourself” ethos. They produce sweatshirts, hoodies, sweatpants and a range of kids clothes including t-shirts, bomber jackets and pyjamas. Lawfully Chic caught up with Sarah (remotely, of course…) to get a bit more backstory on this sustainable family brand.
LC: So, go on then… can you introduce us to St Bert’s?
SG: St Bert’s Clothing is a family-run local business based in Lewes, East Sussex. The first thing most people are drawn to is each piece’s distinctive 1970s bright colour palate designs and then it’s the high-quality fabrics. We use a Portuguese manufacturer because it’s a country famed for its exceptional textiles. Our products are for adults and children and promise to be very, very durable.
SG: We immortalised our daughter’s first toy, a rabbit called Bert. Even before we met, my husband and I loved our sweatshirts, so when we had our daughter and son in quick succession (they’re only 13 months apart) we wanted great quality clothes that were unisex and could be shared. We couldn’t find any so our journey began to develop the perfect quality sweatshirt.
We’re a family brand and our kids are as passionate about St Bert’s as us. Ben is the engine room and I’m more front-of-house. We genuinely love working together. We both dislike the fast-fashion concept of the high street, focussing rather on quality clothing using quality fabrics. Our happy retro vibe is inspired by our own childhoods. Although we initially started producing clothing for kids, we now have a successful adult range in complimentary designs.
LC: Describe your average day as a woman in business.
SG: I have two hats on. I spend two days in London where I run a successful recruitment business and three days in the St Bert’s office and warehouse on a farm in Sussex. I love being surrounded by cows and sheep and fields, and it means I can take a break to walk our dog or go for a run.
I spend my train journeys dealing with customer queries and posting on social media. In the office and warehouse, there is only myself, my husband and a small team of freelancers. My three days are spent juggling between getting daily orders out, replying to emails, marketing and advertising, and coming up with new designs for the seasons ahead. I try to make sure my weekends are clear to maintain a work-life balance, so I’m not constantly saying, “In a minute!” to the kids, while being on my laptop or phone. But St Bert’s is also my baby so it’s hard leaving it for two days!
LC: How does your brand work on sustainability and working ethically?
SG: We work with an amazing local business in Portugal, using only natural materials – 100% cotton, no polyester. This manufacturer has been running for 25 years and like us is also family-run, so they reflect our business values. We use local cloths and road freight. We do not use any harmful industrial chemicals to dye our fabrics, and we produce only small quantities to reduce waste.
LC: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt?
SG: The importance of social media. It’s all about engaging with your customers and followers to become part of the same tribe, creating a brand that people enjoy. You are not just selling your product, you want your followers to be on your journey with you.
LC: How is St Bert’s responding to the current lockdown?
SG: We believe there are still smiles to be had alongside the worry, so we’ve done various things to keep people’s kids busy while they are stuck indoors. For example, we are running a ‘Design A Top’ competition for our summer and winter 2021 collections. We’ve already had 500 entries in just two days. We also ran an online Après Ski (one of their sweatshirt designs) Party, where everyone dressed up in their ski gear and was encouraged to play music and eat fondue!