Running a business is what a lot of people strive for, but it takes sacrifice, passion and dedication says Lyn Winford, brand evangelist of Billow & Luft.
She started her business, which involves designing white shirts and blouses, last year.
Ms Winford attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and also obtained a bachelor’s degree in applied science at Oakwood University.
Her many years of experience include being creative director for Oracle Team USA at last year’s America’s Cup. Earlier in her career, she had a spell as an intern at Ralph Lauren stores.
As a young designer she often sketched at night in her bathroom while using her ironing board as a table.
When The Royal Gazette asked her what advice she had for other women thinking of starting their own business she said: “Long hours, willing to give up weekends, and realisation that it doesn’t happen overnight; all in. Less disposable income because what you earn will go back into the business. It’s difficult to be successful on your own, you need a support team; family, friends and partners.”
Ms Winford always liked to keep her creative skills sharp by freelancing and volunteering, which gave her more exposure and experience.
“The accumulative wealth of experience has now provided the confidence to launch,” she said. Her Billow & Luft designs are currently in the development stage and are expected to be launched later this year.
She believes that what makes her business stand out is the fact that she designs items that express her own fashion sense.
“I design for what speaks to me, what I would wear and what I am comfortable in. Each piece is feminine; each piece is a part of me. I think that differentiates my design.”
She describes herself as a connoisseur of alluring garments, and has always had a love for the fashions of medieval, Elizabethan and 18th-century Japan.
“All of those eras were partial to excessive sleeves and exaggerated collars. After falling in love with the magnificence and daring of sailing, my pursuit was simple, — to design exquisitely tailored blouses that would be both delicate and daring,” she said.
“The way cotton and silk drape and feel on the skin is the reason why I’ve decided to create a brand that uses natural fibres. It also adds to the timelessness of crafting a white shirt.
“Each piece is constructed in my very small atelier. Billow & Luft’s mission is to shine a spotlight on the craftsmanship and underappreciated artistry of contemporary tailoring. Inspired by sails caught in a gust, imagined in another time ... with candlelight and the rustling of silk. It’s a for ever piece, necessary for every wardrobe. I believe that timeless clothing makes an elegant and lasting impression.”
Ms Winford is also part of the group of women in business featured in The Royal Gazette yesterday, who come together to support each other’s enterprises. She believes that developing collaborative relationships is invaluable.