Dreamy pastels and unique florals in custom styles, real customers confidently showing off their new lingerie – this is just a hint of the gorgeous content you’ll find when you visit UK-based Miss Vivienne Lingerie’s Instagram. Below is an interview with the woman behind it all, Vivienne Lynch, who gets real about what it’s like to run a one-woman luxury lingerie business, her thoughts on growing a brand on social media, and the challenges she faced during a global pandemic.
How it all began
In 2017, Vivienne graduated from Heriot-Watt University with a degree in fashion and plenty of leftover fabric. After posting on social media if anyone would be interested in buying a bralette from her, an outpouring of messages in support filled her DM’s. One 3-piece silk set and a handful of bralettes later, Miss Vivienne was born as a lingerie brand focusing on self-love and empowerment.
In Spring 2020, like most of us, Miss Vivienne faced the consequences of the deadly Covid-19 virus. Businesses, big and small, grappled with what that meant for their operations. With a Spring/Summer collection ready to launch, Vivienne recalls how “it was harder in the very beginning…the logistics of everything was really difficult, getting a hold of what I needed and getting my orders out safely. ”
Due to widespread demand for medical supplies in the UK, items such as white elastic suddenly sold out or doubled in price. Despite the initial hurdles, she “managed to fulfill every order” in time along with a boom in business as demand for her designs reflected a broad increase in lingerie interest. People were spending more time at home, scrolling through social medias like Instagram and growing a new customer base for the lingerie industry.
Vivienne talks about how strange it was to return back to in-person photoshoots when she recently worked with a model and makeup artist on a shoot to celebrate the release of her latest dark and sexy range, “Alexis“. To limit the people on set, she took over the photography and despite reservations about doing it all on her own, she “was a wee bit more confident in taking photos,” after gaining experience staging her own self-modeled shoots for the brand during its early stages.
Sustainable all the way
A constant for the brand has been maintaining its pledge to sustainable and ethical fashion. Due to her university encouraging sustainable practices, Vivienne assures “it was more like that there’s no [other] option but we have to be [sustainable].” As a result, much of her packaging as possible is recyclable and she only orders fabric in small batches. Another way she ensures maximum use out of her supplies is through Instagram, where she “always does sample sales, so nothing goes to waste.”
When starting a new collection, Vivienne lets the fabric and customers lead the direction. For Vivienne, Instagram is where she engages with her customers the most to best understand their desires for the brand. “If they seem to like floral more than graphics, I’ll steer more that way,” she explains. After deciding the direction, Vivienne organically follows the mood of the fabrics, whether it’s pink velvet or delicate tulle, and jots down quick sketches to get out all the ideas brimming.
One thing that’s essential to her design process is variety, because she wants to make sure “everyone’s got some sort of option” whether that’s with a strappy thong or a full coverage brief. But, she reassures, “I can basically do any style in any fabric.”
Her newest release with “Alexis” features an all-black embroidered 3D tulle in her signature triangle bralette, balcony bra, strap thong, high-waisted brief, garter belt, and a new style; the underbust corset. “Everybody likes black…I was thinking [the corset] can be styled as outerwear as well.” She describes it on her Instagram as “Stephanie’s naughty twin” referencing one of her most popular ranges that features the same fabric but in pastel blue. For Vivienne, it was a no brainer after customers overwhelmingly voted for the “Alexis” fabric in an Instagram poll, a clear example of the designer listening to the voices of customers and wanting to produce a variety of ranges for different tastes.
The Community of miss vivienne
Vivienne doesn’t just design lingerie, she’s also been collecting it since college. When she talks about her personal collection, you can tell how much Vivienne finds fulfillment from her passion for lingerie because she gets so giddy talking about how family friends have redone their lingerie collection and told her how confident they feel as a result or when she mentions some of her favorite lingerie bloggers such as The Lingerie Princess.
As her brand grows, so does her relationship with the world of lingerie lovers as she” totally loves [lingerie] and I want to give that feeling to other women.” On Instagram especially, so many lingerie accounts exist to documents one’s personal collection and to uplift other women in the community who are just as like-minded. Miss Vivienne continues to be a part of that positive community where all bodies are accepted and people can share their passions with one another.
Miss Vivienne is more than just a lingerie brand, it’s a home for lingerie lovers brought together through social media, word of mouth, and Vivienne herself. “Even now, I didn’t expect this time last year to be at the stage I’m at,” she says as she talks about what’s next for the brand. She hopes to move into a studio with a team of seamstresses to help take the weight off her as the business continues to grow. Vivienne explains she “would love to have more time to focus on designing,” as she spends most of her days currently sewing up a storm.
Talking with Vivienne is enough to inspire anyone to pursue their passions wholeheartdly. Her love for lingerie drives her motivation to create eye-catching intimates for women so they always feel their most gorgeous. Through the reach of Instagram, she’s been able to connect with her followers on a truly intimate level that gives them a peek into her world behind the sewing machine and as a businesswomen to fully understand the heart and soul that goes into creating their lingerie pieces.
When asked what her favorite part of starting Miss Vivienne is, she immediately answers “The people. I have customers who I consider friends now. I have the lingerie community which is so supportive and so beautiful and so inspiring.”
You can check out Miss Vivienne Lingerie’s Autumn/Winter collection here. The shop is currently closed due the maximum amount of orders reached but will be open again Sunday, November 8.