Meet The Maker - Caitlin Crisp
Tell us a wee bit about yourself, where you are from and what are some cornerstone moments that have led you to become the woman you are today.
Caitlin Crisp, Designer, 25, born and raised in Christchurch. A few things that have shaped me over the years are experiencing loss/grief at a young age. It made me grow up pretty quickly and gave me a grounding and perspective on things, a patience and ruthless sense of positivity. Through the bad stuff I often think, well worse things have happened, everyone is alive, so it's all good! Also, having two incredibly hard-working parents; I get my work ethic from them! Additionally, moving schools 4 times, including a boarding school, which was my favourite! This taught me to make friends quickly, how to adapt, and independence.
Can you share with us those early days dreaming up Caitlin Crisp, and what those initial steps were bringing your ideas to fruition?
My aunty taught me to sew at a very young age, I was always passionate about sewing and then design developed a bit later. My textiles teacher at high school nurtured the raw skills I had and really encouraged me to pursue it. I dove in the deep end and said 'yes' to everything after I finished studying which led me to Project Runway, Fashion Week, then starting my own label!
CC is highly coveted by new and loyal customers, stylists, and fashion editors a-like; yet your business is still in its infancy. Congratulations! What does two years in business mean to you?
Thank you! Yes, we turned two earlier this year and I've had so many people message me in shock that we're only two! It's been a big couple of years. I always go to say "I'm so lucky" but then I kick myself because this wasn't luck, it was a lot of hard work. I worked so hard for this and have put it above everything else for so long, failure wasn't an option.
How does it feel reflecting on these moments?
I'm full of pride and gratitude! Proud of how far we've come in such a short amount of time, and grateful for my amazing friends, family, and team for helping me to get here.
Congratulations on Season Five, Drop Two landing today. Tell us about your capsule, what inspired the pieces and palette?
Thank you! I love designing Summer Collections. This one, in particular, feels quite optimistic as a lot of the pieces are intended for wear at upcoming festivals, long lunches with the girls and long balmy summer evenings all of which I hope we still get to enjoy!
Where can we get it?!
We have the full collection available to shop online at www.caitlincrisp.com we also have a handful of amazing stockists around the country!
What did lockdown mean for Caitlin Crisp and how have you evolved as a woman, a designer and a business owner?
Although there was no such thing as perfect timing for a lockdown, we were very fortunate in that everything we had planned (bar fashion week!) could be carried out at home. I was so impressed by my team's attitude and ability to adapt. We were in sales for Season 6 and were able to get creative in doing at home photoshoots and interactive Zoom meetings to really do the collection justice and it was received so well from retailers. In addition to this, a lot of our production is done through workers who are able to sew at home as usual during level 4 lockdowns. I wouldn't say it has changed me however it showed me how strong the CC team is and I am impressed with how we dealt with it.
Who is the CC woman, or who do you have in mind when designing?
The first thing any business mentor will say to you is "who is your customer, who is buying your product and/or who do you want wearing it?" but I think what's made my brand so approachable is that our customer base has such a wide scope. In terms of age; I always try to snap my mother wearing CC to show that she looks just as fab in it as girls my age. In terms of price; I'm always conscious about offering a range of price points each season, so people that can afford it can go for it and those that may not have much of a disposable income could save up to buy one special piece like the Time Warp Top or Marsden Point Tank. It's for anyone who wants to wear it! Our knitwear is unisex too and I know many men that LIVE in their Daylight Knits. I don't think any brand should have a 'target market' I think they should welcome anyone that wants to be involved and support the brand with open arms!
How would you describe your style? And how has this evolved over time?
I'm 25 and started the brand at 23, I don't think anyone can expect me to have that sorted just yet and I guess that's partly what keeps things interesting. Just like peoples dress-sense, my style changes with my mood and what I'm going through personally at the time.. I definitely see this in my collections! Season 3 was one big party, Season 4 was a lot more moody, I was going through a break up and wasn't my happy-self, then Season 5 is very romantic and optimistic! I have grown up a lot this year, 25 has been a great age for me. I am designing Season 6 at the moment and it's different again, to me it's a lot more elevated, sophisticated and considered.
Looking back, with all that you’ve learnt what are some things you would tell yourself at the start-line?
Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. I look back on the confidence I had at the start of all of this and want to pat myself on the back - go you wee firecracker!
Although glam, fashion industry is notorious for big hours, and that relentless, sometimes overwhelming demand for ‘next’. How do you find balance? What do you do to take time for yourself?
It's such a rollercoaster! But you don't go into an industry like this for the money, you do it for the love of it, and I really do love it. I have friends and family that just 'get it', they cheer me on when I need it, they bring me dinner or sometimes just come to hang out at the studio when I need the company. Equally, they tell me to chill out and take a step back when I need to, and I listen. I have amazing friends, family and a gorgeous boyfriend who keep me grounded. I haven't had much time off lately, but when I do I try to spend time with my friends and boyfriend. I love a massage, going to the markets and cuddling up on the couch, or in bed with a movie.
Any key mantras you strive to live by?
SO MANY I'm like a walking, talking, inspirational quote sometimes. Some of my favourites are "work smarter, not harder", "we're selling clothes, not saving lives" and "you do not find the happy life, you make it".
At The Facialist, we look at beauty holistically. While we work topically with the skin, inner health and mental wellbeing play a large part in the glow on the surface. What is your personal approach to beauty, any grounding philosophies?
I agree 100%! When it comes to dressing, someone could look amazing on the outside but if they don't feel comfortable in it - then it will never work. When someone tries something on I never say "do you like it?" or "you look amazing!" I say "how do you feel in it?". Don't buy something because it worked for someone else, have a serious think about what works for you and invest in that... goes for everything, not just clothes and skincare!
We love that a good skincare regime offers bookend self-care rituals to a busy day. What do your AM and PM routines look like?
Morning Skincare: Emma Lewisham oil cleanser and illuminating day cream, without fail, every day.
Evening Routine: Emma Lewisham oil cleanser to take my makeup off, then alternating days with exfoliating and using her skin reset serum. Then her night cream, every night.
Any fail-safe skincare products, the ones you can’t live without?
As you can tell from above - I'm obsessed with Emma Lewisham. I know there's a lot of hype around her brand but it truly works for me and my skin. I love all of her products and swear by them all. My skin has never been better and I love that it's all natural and a NZ owned company.
What are you looking forward to most this summer?
A class of bubbles and a fun lunch with my nearest and dearest!