Self Esteem and Sustainability With Dora Larsen
Welcome to our Instagram saved folder. To your left, you’ll find dreamy landscapes, hundreds of buddha bowl recipes (we’ll absolutely never attempt to make), tagged pics of HANX in your homes... and Dora Larsen’s ethereal lingerie. This Bermondsey based brand is owned and ran by Georgia and Jake, who kindly lent us their brains for the lowdown on everything from colourways to COVID and coffee. Let’s go! 🍵💭
HI GEORGIA AND JAKE, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HOW IT ALL BEGAN?
Georgia: I left my job in fashion buying 5 years ago to set up the brand. I used to store the stock in our 300 square foot basement flat in south-east London, packing up orders and taking them to our local post office each morning. I kind of miss the simplicity of those days, but then Jake left his job in finance 2 years ago and joined me in working on the brand full time, at which point things really started to take off for us. It’s been a whirlwind of a journey!
FROM INITIAL IDEAS TO MAKING DORA LARSEN A REALITY: WHAT WERE THE MOST CHALLENGING AND REWARDING ASPECTS OF STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Georgia: The most challenging part was at the beginning, trying to do everything on a shoe-string budget, and persuading people to work with me. Not many suppliers or retailers in the fashion industry want to work with tiny start-ups. I made our first website myself, and Jake took all of our photos for the first few years as we struggled to even afford a photographer. But in a way, that was also the most rewarding part, as we had to teach ourselves all these new skills. It’s a really satisfying feeling like you really ‘know’ every part of how your business runs, because at one point, you were managing every part yourself.
Jake: Although I only left my job to work for the brand full time 2 years ago, I was involved in managing the finance and merchandising side of the business from the start. So, for me, the most challenging aspect was working around my day job. There was a period of about a year leading up joining the brand full time, where I barely had a free evening or weekend! The upside of this, and the most rewarding aspect of starting a business, is seeing all the hard work pay off over the years, as the brand grows and evolves.
LET’S TALK PODCASTS & PLAYLISTS, WHAT’S KEEPING YOU MOTIVATED RIGHT NOW?
Georgia: I’m obsessed with Russell Brand – Under the Skin. He’s opened my eyes to the wonders of spirituality and meditation. He also interviews some really inspiring academics and writers, too, such as Naomi Wolfe and Yuval Noah Harari. Music-wise, we’re both obsessed with FKJ at the moment. Although, we end up spending way too much time just listening to Ed Sheeran. Not through choice, but because our two-year-old is obsessed…!
Jake: I have an interest (read mild obsession!) in organic gardening, particularly growing veg, so (tragically) one of the highlights of my month is listening to the latest episode of the Organic Gardening Podcast! Gardening is so therapeutic and a great way to switch of and get some downtime from a busy schedule.
WE HEART YOUR STATEMENT THAT 'LINGERIE THAT COMMUNICATES WITH COLOUR'. TEAM HANX ARE FEELING PRETTY ‘IVY’… WHICH SET/COLOURWAY REFLECTS YOUR MOOD RIGHT NOW?
Jake: Agree, Ivy is amazing. I’m also a big fan of the Maria colourway. I love teal generally, but offset against light blue, with the amazing pop of pink, for me, it’s a really strong combination. Georgia is a master of colour, her intuition for creating unique and unexpected juxtapositions of colour that are so evocative and perfectly balanced is really something to behold (but don’t tell her I said that!).
MONTHS IN LOCKDOWN AND A COMMITMENT TO (VERY) CASUAL CLOTHING 24/7 HAS LEFT US FEELING A LITTLE… MEH. WHAT ROLE DO YOU THINK LINGERIE CAN PLAY IN BOOSTING SELF ESTEEM?
Georgia: Good lingerie can give you an inner confidence you don’t necessarily get with an outfit. I think because it’s not ‘out there’ for all to see, only you, or your significant other, knows about it. That’s the magic in it for me, it’s like this mysterious great outfit you’ve got on, and especially if you’re not going out as much, becomes the ultimate mood-booster.
FROM INTIMATE MODEL SHOTS TO DETAILED CLOSE UPS ON YOUR DREAMY IG FEED, WE’RE A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH THE DORA LARSEN AESTHETIC. WHERE DO YOU DRAW CREATIVE INSPIRATION?
Georgia: It’s hard to say, as I guess it’s a combination of all things I love from an aesthetics perspective. I find inspiration in fashion brands, vintage clothing, colours found in nature, art, interiors. The list is endless. Dora Larsen basically combines all the things I love, into one. Experimental colour, clean lines, subtle femininity, bohemian yet modern.
YOU’RE SUPER TRANSPARENT ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY, HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS TO YOU AS A BRAND?
Georgia: Sustainability has always been important to us, but for me, it went to the next level after COVID. I basically realized how impermanent and unstable things can be. But it wasn’t a negative realization, rather, it was empowering to become more actively involved in a movement towards positive change. As humans, we have the power to transform the world we live in. Everyone living on the planet is part of the process, we can’t just sit back and wait for others to do it. As a business, I believe we have a moral obligation to do the best we possibly can. I don’t believe there’s much point in running a business just to make profit. The point, for me, is to make a positive impact on the world. To leave it a better place than when you entered it. We can’t do that unless we’re paying sustainability the attention it deserves.
Jake: Becoming more sustainable is integral to my and Georgia’s personal outlook and is something that we really feel strongly about. We acknowledge that we have a long way to go, as a business and as a global society, but we can only start from where we are and implement as much change as we can to move towards a more responsible way of living and operating as a business.
OKAY, QUICKFIRE ROUND: EARLY BIRD OR LONG LIE IN?
Jake: Early bird. Georgia: Long lie in (unfortunately doesn’t work with a 2 year old!)
OAT FLAT WHITE OR MATCHA LATTE?
Jake: Matcha Latte. Georgia: Oat flat white
JEWEL TONES OR SOFT PASTELS?
Jake: Soft pastels. Georgia: Soft pastels
SOFT SHAPES OR DEFINED LINES?
Jake: Defined lines Georgia: Soft shapes
WEEKEND AWAY OR STAYCATION?
Jake: Staycation. Georgia: Staycation
WHERE DO YOU SEE DORA LARSEN IN FIVE YEARS TIME?
Georgia: To be completely honest, I have absolutely no idea! You’re not meant to say that as a business owner are you?! If you’d had told me five years ago what we’d be doing today, I wouldn’t have believed you. But I hope that we continue to grow on what we’re currently doing, and bring our message to more people around the world. That being – pushing sustainability, female empowerment, transparency, and a love of colour. We’re launching a linen and organic cotton nightwear package next year, and hope to produce swimwear collections in the future, too. A shop isn’t on the horizon just yet. But who knows what the world will be like in 5 years time, or if the high street will be the same. At the moment, we’re just taking each day as it comes.
Thanks so much Georgia and Jake! Take a peek at Dora Larsen’s latest collection here, catch up with our co-founders Farah and Sarah over on the Dora Larsen blog here and add a lil’ magic to your IG saved folder right here. 💗 Join the conversation over on our HANX Life forum here.