Not just a pretty face

(From an interview for www.theoldchurchschool.co.uk)

At The Old Church School we love a slice of quirky, so we just had to find out more about a blogging mannequin residing in the town… we’re très excited to have an interview with Truly Sopel, an independent fashion label on Frome’s famous Catherine Hill! The lady behind-the lady! We talk to her about clever marketing ideas, with the help of a truly top model Aurora St Clare. Read on for an exclusive insight into the wonderful world of Aurora St Clare!

And so our interview begins…

Truly, what would you be doing if you weren’t running your own fashion label?
I think I would suit being a full time housewife. I love cleaning, ironing, interior design, children, making and mending and most importantly baking. (I would probably have a cake decorating business on the side once the kids had grown up!).

Your shop is based in Frome, on Catherine Hill… Why did you choose Frome and what benefits does a small market town have for your business?
I didn’t plan to have a shop in Frome. I was just visiting my family and saw the premises were available. A month later I had moved in! I had been market trading in London for two years and I think the idea of having a permanent outlet that I could also create from, was very appealing. Apart from there being a great community buzz and support network here in Frome, the main advantage for me is that for an affordable price my business is located in a beautiful area, surrounded by original indie shops that collectively are attracting people from all over the country. I think it is a unique town so suits the label perfectly.

Recently you’ve launched Truly Knickers  -Have you always had a passion for good pants?
I think the passion only started 4 years ago when I made my first pair. However, I have always been a fan of the more comfy fuller brief!

How did your fashion line progress into underwear?
I wanted to produce a design with a lower price point that fitted in with the gift market. Knickers were the answer!

Who is your biggest market for Truly Knickers?
Confident women who dare to be different!

Tell us about Aurora…
Aurora St Clare is my top model and blogger! She sports dramatic and eye catching poses, as she shows off our wares beautifully. She loves hair, fashion and makeup, and is all the way from Chamonix, Mont Blanc. She is also made of plastic and not the more commonly used fibreglass!

How did Aurora come to life?
Well, after two years of searching for the perfect mannequin, it only felt right to name her. She suits the name Aurora, and being more beautiful than I could have dreamed, you can imagine I became very close to my new purchase, and saw modelling as just the beginning of her career with Truly Sopel. I decided to give Aurora her own facebook page and due to her popularity she became our blogger for trulyknickers.com. (I generally have a habit of humanising things).

How has Aurora helped you with online marketing?
She has helped me hugely. Promoting myself and the label has certainly become easier over the years, but writing about Truly Sopel and Truly Knickers as Aurora is a breeze in comparison. Aurora gives me the ability to step back and see what I am trying to achieve from a new angle-with a different personality and perspective. It makes blogging and self promotion(which can be hard) more fun and natural. Having Aurora has created a vibe and expanded fan base. As I still have my own twitter and facebook accounts, the addition of Aurora keeps things new and exciting from both my point of view and the customers.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
The clothes and colours of childhood. I’m inspired by the idea of mothers making for their daughters and their daughter’s dolls and the handcrafted techniques that they used, especially over the last sixty years.

How has social media changed the way you market yourself and products?
It’s allowed me to market myself and do so on a daily basis in a way that connects with consumers in a more personal style. I still send out newsletters in the post and via email, but I rely on social media to gain more customers and brand awareness. I also spend more time on marketing now because of social media.

You have a really definite style-where do you draw inspiration from for your look?
I like the sixties and eighties, so often combine the two looks; think Marianne Faithfull meets Kate Bush… thick blunt fringe, crimping, twiggy eyes and bright colour combinations. All mixed in with a bit of modern girlieness, and not over-styled.

What are your future plans for Aurora?
Aurora will remain the face of Truly Knickers and will soon have her own page of favourite Truly Sopel buys…all for sale of course! I am also planning to do some exciting photo shoots with her in London and potentially Paris too. I’m keen to get her involved in local businesses and events. Frome running club have already used Aurora to model their new running gear for girls (photos will be on the club site soon!) and she kindly modelled for the Merlin theatre charity ball at Marston House earlier this year. She’s such a professional model and strikes a fabulous pose, and as people are always quite taken by her beauty, she’s become a great representative for the brand-so I imagine networking will be high on the agenda for Aurora’s future too!

And finally the all important question, what is your guilty pleasure?
Hmmm I cat nap a lot, but don’t feel guilty enough. I eat at least 2 bars of chocolate every day, usually 3. Very naughty!

Originally from Frome, Truly moved to London when she was 19 to work for a small fashion label in Piccadilly called Favourbrook. As a young inspired fashionista Truly began to make her own clothes and in 2003 completed a tailoring diploma at the London College of Fashion. After working as a pattern cutter for a year she soon launched her own Truly Sopel fashion label-selling in a couple of London boutiques alongside Camden and Spitalfields markets, a shop of her own was the exciting next step. Catherine Hill called out!

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