What are the origins of your brand, where did the idea come to you?
I once owned a fabulous pair of grey leather espadrilles that I wore everywhere and could never replace. It was on holiday in Majorca that a friend suggested I find a factory to make me some new ones, so to begin with it was all about creating one pair! I quickly realised that comfortable, colourful and long-lasting leather espadrilles were hard to find and that there might be a gap in the market. When I met by business partner Sara through a friend-of-a-friend we both agreed we should create a brand, so within weeks of first meeting we were flying to Alicante to find a traditional Spanish espadrille factory that could make our design.
What differentiates DRILLES from other espadrilles / what is your point of difference?
The fact that DRILLES are fully leather-lined and also unisex is quite unusual. For instance our popular Portobello Pink DRILLES come in sizes 36-46 so they are very much his and hers. We’ve also spent time creating a strong espadrille that should last longer than the more throwaway canvas variety. Without wanting to get too technical, this season we have invested in a system that allows us to bond the rubber sole directly to the jute without using toxic glue, this means that even if they get a little bit wet the rubber soles will not separate from the jute… this has long been a problem with your average espadrille. Ours are more comfortable than most too!
Describe a typical day for you, between family, DRILLES and writing?
I’m not sure there really is a typical day any more! I have that common mother’s guilt of how to best divide time between my career and my toddler. The great thing about writing is that you can usually fit it around everything else, depending on the deadline. I’m happy to write until 2am – I have a night owl brain which helps. Learning to say no to things has been a key skill in making things work - realising I can’t do everything.
What has surprised you about running your own business? Do you have a good support network?
As I largely work by myself I have to be a Jack of all trades which can be hard when you feel like you’re not doing anything well. I have learnt a lot about shoes- making (before it was all about buying them!) and have taught myself things like basic web design, but I’ve had to admit defeat with spreadsheets - after a 15-year career where I never touched one I should leave it to the professionals now! One of my biggest sources of support is therefore my accountant! And also my nanny who helps with part-time childcare so I can sit at my laptop without worrying about very cute distractions.
What are your goals for this year?
This year, having hopefully nailed our classic DRILLES we are branching out to new designs, colours and possibly including patterns.. watch this space.
How would you describe your style?
Mostly masculine - I love tailored coats, blazers and silk shirts and items which work for home and office and evenings out…which is what we hope DRILLES do too. You’re unlikely to find me in anything very patterned or heavily branded, and the leopard print trend has passed me by!
What is your favourite TROY design?
Of course the covetable TROY parka, which are surely the best in the biz! This season I adore the silk scarves, which I might tie onto a handbag or around a sunhat for a smart update for the beach this summer.
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