I'm really excited to share today's combination Home Decor + Entrepreneur feature story on Sophie of (the comfiest) pajamas & sleepwear brand around, Sant and Abel. I first had the opportunity to meet Sophie at an event celebrating her fab capsule collection with Beverly Hills Hotel. Since then, I've enjoyed my set of pajamas numerous times, as well as had some fun with Sophie with a holiday giveaway back in December. Fast forward to today, it's all about showing off her loungey style at home in Los Angeles, learning about how she began Sant and Abel...and oh, we also get to join in on her special pajama brunch party!
But first, won't you come in...
I am originally from Adelaide, Australia. I lived there for the first 18 years of my life, then spent a gap year in England, went to University in Melbourne, worked in New York and Sydney and now live in Los Angeles! We are very spoilt with the weather in LA so I like to spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, playing golf, tennis and hanging out at all of the incredible beaches, particularly up and down the coast of California.
I also love cooking and don’t mind throwing the occasional dinner party at home!!
Speaking from experience, she is a fantastic cook, which you'll see for yourself soon enough. But first, lets learn more about how Sophie began Sant and Abel.
I launched Sant and Abel in Sydney in 2011 as a side project while working as a TV Producer. I was getting itchy feet in my current job and needed another challenge. I was also fascinated by the rapid evolution of the ecommerce industry.
After arrying out a lot of research on the sleepwear industry in Australia, the US and the UK, I felt there was a big gap in the market for affordable luxurious pure cotton sleepwear in colourful, classic prints for the whole family, not just for women. This particularly stemmed from the hot Aussie summers which demands lightweight, breathable sleepwear. It was hard to come by! One of my brothers lives in Bali, so I flew over there and had a small sleepwear collection made for men, women and kids. The intention was to only sell it on my website and my mum’s homewares store in Adelaide, Outdoors on Parade, while continuing to work in TV. However more retail stores started to pick it up around the country and online sales were increasing. Suddenly, I was juggling two full time jobs.
In 2012 I left television to focus entirely on S&A. It was a huge risk to take leaving behind a steady income. In 2013 I expanded my company to the US, based in LA. Today Sant and Abel’s distribution channels include our own website, third party sites, several high end boutique stores, top hotels and resorts and exclusive collaborations.
Very exciting! I can definitely relate to the fear of taking that leap of faith. There are certainly many highs and lows as an entrepreneur.
Absolutely agree. The challenges are a plenty, but there’s also no greater reward! For the first few years, I largely built this company up on my own from my kitchen table. So I was limited with whom I could bounce around ideas. I subsequently found myself second-guessing my decisions; sometimes you just have to let that go and roll with the punches, though. I had to very quickly learn skills in a multitude of industries: e-commerce and coding, logistics, international trade, operations, design, finance, international tax and corporate structures in multiple countries etc. It is a lot but I also see this as a huge advantage as I am constantly challenged every day of the week and my learning curve continues to rise rapidly.
Also, when you have been working tirelessly on a pitch for a new account or collaboration and it eventually pulls off, there is nothing more satisfying. Or when a customer who you have never met before (OR when someone from the office of Anna Wintour, as happened recently) gets in contact to say how great your product is, you can sit back, take a breath and know you’re on the right track.
I couldn't agree more, it truly is an undeniable moment of satisfaction to learn that people are connecting to what you do. Congrats! Now, lets talk decor, shall we?
Growing up with a mum who owns an incredible homewares store, a lot of my style has been inspired by her. This involves a lot of colour!!! My current home has crisp white walls and lets in a lot of light so this is a great starting point to fill the home with some of my favourite colours - blues, aquas, pinks. I have an ever growing collection of cookbooks and a gorgeous long dining table for entertaining which I bought during my first week in LA from the Melrose Flea Markets. I adore French furniture and china. I have a few Louis chairs covered in Manuel Canovas fabric back in Australia and a whole lot of Limoges, Pillyvuyt and Gien china. I would love to ship it all over to LA so I can enjoy it…we’ll see!!!
This is Icebergs in Bondi – the place where I spent so many years doing laps most mornings of the week. If I wasn’t doing laps in the pool, I was swimming the point to point in the ocean – North Bondi to the tip of Icebergs in South Bondi. Every time I look at this print, I have the fondest memories from home. There is no other lap pool like it in the world. The sunrises from Icebergs are spectacular, as are the days when the ocean turns wild and the turbulent waves crash over the rocks and into the pool. Icebergs has one of Sydney’s greatest restaurants above the pool and one of the most incredible beaches right next to it. This is a truly iconic location in Australia. It’s making me homesick thinking about it now!
And now from Gray’s new Australian collection I have a piece of Byron Bay right next to my bed!
I know! I'm so excited to see one of the brand new Australian aerials in-room, already! I may have given Sophie a sneak peek and couldn't be happier with her selection. Stay tuned tomorrow for a Travel Guide on Byron Bay, too!
Now, as promised, lets join Sophie at her pajama party brunch. I kid you not, she made all of this beautiful food and styled the table to perfection!
As we taste the Ottolenghi Meringue Roulade, Beet Salad, and Spring Goats Cheese Tarts with Cherry Tomatoes and Asparagus, I'd like to close with our last question for Sophie.
First and foremost, the colour. The Gray Malin lifestyle brand has been a huge source of inspiration for me when it comes to designing my own prints for Sant and Abel and subsequent marketing campaigns. When I look at Gray’s aesthetic, I feel happy, inspired and uplifted, like I’ve been transported to the luxurious and exotic locations with him.
I will always create textile prints and campaigns, which are bright, vibrant and fresh, channeling an endless summer vibe all year round. I want my customers to appreciate the same happiness and luxury when they’re wearing my collection as I do with Gray’s lifestyle.
I also connect with Gray’s story as an entrepreneur. From starting in his garage and selling at the markets to the unbelievable lifestyle brand that is adored worldwide today, Gray keeps me motivated and reminds me that if you truly believe in your concept, anything is possible.
Aww, thanks so much Sophie! I will definitely cheers to that!
To learn more about Sophie's (very luxuriously comfortable) pajamas, look no further than Sant and Abel or follow along @santandabel. Thank you so much for joining us on her home tour! I hope you all enjoyed hearing her story and joining for a sip or two of Australian Riesling. To see more from the New Australia, click here.