I don’t think I have met anyone in the pole realm who doesn’t lose their shit over pole wear. Even those of us who are not the most fashion conscious folk in real life can’t get enough of sexy, sassy pole gear. Which is exactly what Bristol based fashion brand Laqadaze whip up. Chrome Chronicles caught up with the one woman extraordinaire Laqadaze founder and creator Luci to discuss her pole journey so far, the latest Laqadaze collection and her savvy business tips.
1-How did your pole journey get started?
I came to Bristol for uni and wanted to get involved in a society, it was a toss-up between horse-riding and Pole and well, I already know how to horse-ride so I thought I’d give it a go!
My friend and I went to a taster class at Spin City, we managed (just about) to make it through a couple front hooks and fireman spins without giggling ourselves silly and I’ve loved it ever since.
2- Also please tell us all about the Laqadaze story! How did the brand get started?
Well, one night I was visited by the all-powerful unicorn of Lycra…just kidding, I wish it was that exciting!
I was in my third year of uni and officially hooked on wearing any so-called “crazy print” leggings, I should have really been focusing on my final project but I got side-tracked by some gorgeous printed Lycra and decided to make leggings to go on Etsy instead. Oops!
Everyone asks me how I came up with the name, but it’s really only as simple as wanting something very unique (if you google Laqadaze, nothing else will come up) and wanting a name that didn’t take itself too seriously – like me I guess. I loved the word “lackadaisical” and after a few combinations, Laqadaze was born.
If you’re wondering, I pronounce it “Lack-ah-days.”
3-How long have you been sewing for?
I remember enjoying hand-sewing a little felt Christmas tree decoration when I was in primary school and when I was about 10 we made slippers as a project – mine were fleecy with little ducks.
Projects got bigger and I learned how to use a sewing machine in my teens. My aunt had grown up making a lot of her own clothes we did a few projects together – learning how to sew from a ready-made pattern. I think sewing, clothes particularly, runs in the gene pool of my family. I had a great aunt who I used to love to visit because she made these beautiful outfits for dolls (like Barbies) and she had a whole room full of them. I found out a few years back that she’d made a couple of special occasion outfits for Prince William and Harry when they were very young. Sewing is always something I’ve enjoyed but it was surprisingly never something I “knew” I wanted to do as a career…funny how things pan out.
4-Do you have any favourite Laqadaze items?
Hmm, that’s a tough one because most of the prints and styles I make, I’ve chosen because I really like them and they suit me haha! I suppose I probably wear my highwaisted Peacock shorts and Opulence top the most and I’m permanently in leggings so I’m in a different pair everyday. I think my pink Shattered Glass Leggings are my favourite, mainly because I actually don’t own any pink clothing (I’m not really a fan of pink) so it surprised me that I liked them so much.
Saying that, obviously I’m enamored with my upcoming pieces and potentially have a new favourite in leggings for sure…
5-What made you want to combine both your passions of pole and textiles?
Originally I had planned for the brand to be more “everyday” than pole-wear as I was obsessed, at the time, by Black Milk Clothing and I really wanted my brand to follow that trend. At the time I’d be doing pole for a couple years and made a few “Racer front” style crop tops to see what the girls from my studio thought. They loved them so I decided to make more and the focus on pole-wear snowballed from that.
Kate Edwards was still doing a lot with the Bristol Spin City at the time, I got to know her and met Bendy Kate as a result. I woke up one day to Bendy having posted on social media with photos of her new Shattered Glass outfit and next thing I know I’ve gained hundreds of new followers and orders started pouring in! It was crazy, I definitely have those two to thank for helping me take off and still now. Bendy with supporting my brand with her back warmers and Kate is a fountain of business knowledge – who very kindly puts up with me messaging her for advice haha.
6-Tell us all about the new Laqadaze collection. What is even more awesome about the new pieces and most importantly, when can we get our hands on it?
Oh my god, how do I even start? I am SO excited to get going with these new pieces, it’s small compared to the last collection of new things but I really hope it shows quality over quantity.
I really wanted something new and a bit different, things that were really focused on design. Obviously, everything I make is drafted from my own patterns, I don’t buy in ready-made designs, but it’s hard (from a non-seamstress) point of view to see that originality sometimes. These new pieces, I hope, will really show the time and effort I’ve put into designing and creating. I’ve made a bigger distinction as well between pieces that are definitely sporty-looking (I’d really love to bring in some more circus/gymnastic-type customers) and those that make you look in the mirror and go “dayuumm I look sexy in this.”
I’m hoping to have all the pieces up on the website in the last week of March. It’s a bit difficult balancing sewing
It’s a bit difficult balancing sewing pieces and admin, being a one-woman-band, but I’ll definitely be releasing a couple photos to get people excited about what’s coming.
7- What are your future plans for Laqadaze? Where do you want to take the brand?
I’m not too strict about making rigid plans for the future. I find most of the great things that happen to the business (and myself) tend to come to me by accident or chance so I like to leave the direction relatively open to steer itself. If any business owners are reading this now, they’ll probably be thinking they’d want to come shake me and yell “THAT’S NOT HOW GOOD BUSINESS WORKS” in my face haha! It works for me though, obviously I’m not completely complacent (otherwise I’d never make any money) I know I want to do more events (maybe a little pop-up tour could be in the cards) get a bigger studio, employ people to help out, collaborate more and get to know more people in the industry. I just don’t want to force the business too much into something that might not suit it (my initial idea of the brand being more everyday-wear is a great example) I’ll take it where my experiences and opportunities lead it – for now.
8- Similarly, what are your pole aspirations, both long and short term?
At the moment, pole has taken a bit of a backseat. Time and money is a massive factor obviously and at the moment I don’t have much of either to spare as I’m so focused on improving the business and my personal life. I suppose at the minute my short term goal would be to get back into training again! I’m really motivated by music and dance, I practice ideas in my head a lot and I really want to consistently be exploring movement – musicality makes my heart melt. If I get the chance to be practicing weekly and creating some choreography, then I’d love to take up some opportunities to perform…maybe.
9- What items of clothing do you like making the most?
At the moment, I’m a fan of making my highwaisted shorts. When you have to make so much, it becomes manufacturing, so favourites tend to be focused around what’s the “least faff” haha. I tend to find the highwaisted shorts the most consistently easy to make. Sewing machines can be extremely temperamental and sometimes even one small thing that’s not quite right with it can mean half an hour of unpicking, rethreading, testing and re-sewing. It’s genuinely a relief when you power through a batch with no hiccups.
10- Finally, what advice do you have for anyone wanting to branch out and set up their own pole related business?
I definitely won’t claim to be any guru for business knowledge but I think first and foremost, you need to REALLY ask yourself whether you’re willing to commit to working more hours than most other employed jobs. It’s not just the practical hours spent, it’s the admin as well, answering emails, planning, taxes etc. Sometimes I go weeks without having a full day off – I might work up to 80hrs in one week. Consider having a business partner to share the burden, so it’s not all on you if you’re unable to work. It doesn’t get talked about too much I suppose, but, while financial stability isn’t a total necessity, it will make your life a hell of a lot easier if you have something to fall back on. Not to mention, a certain degree of mental stability and tenacity, I say that because you bear the burdens of the business and also deal with customers who might not always be happy and full of praise. You have to remember to keep professional and not take everything to heart – which is super hard when the business is your baby! RESEARCH YOUR MARKET! What can you bring that’s new/different/filling a gap in the market? I’ve heard businesses say they don’t pay attention to other brands but it won’t work in your favour in the long run. It’s tempting to see what’s already selling well and create the same or similar variations but being creative and original will keep your brand exciting and people invested in your products.
*Top three photographs by Suzi Bird Photography. Final one of Luci in heels is by Andre Pattenden.