One of our favourite things about the ShopUp is that it gives us the chance to meet up with the lovely people behind our boutiques. It turns out that for Age to Come Apparel (who joined us in LA, and are coming to our London event, hurray!), the ShopUp is a chance for the two founders and partners to meet too! Michele lives in the USA, Linsey, in China! How does that work, we wondered? Just how do you create and run a forward-thinking streetwear brand from opposite sides of the globe? So we asked! Here are our 5 questions:
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourselves, where you live and about your families.
Linsey: I am a small town girl, an only child and an entrepreneur at heart. I started out in the design industry as a zipper and button representative selling high end trims to designers and companies on the west coast, then branched out into graphic design, wedding design and most recently apparel design fill my creative outlets. My husband Robbie and I have two kids, Max (age 6) and Maddie (age 3). Robbie worked for Adidas for the last 15 years and because he traveled so frequently to China we put our son in Mandarin pre-school and were drawn to China as a manufacturing partner for Age to Come. Little did we know the opportunity to make China our home would be presented to us a little over a year later. Now we live in Xiamen, China about an hour flight from Hong Kong on the Southern Coast of the Fujian Province.
Michele: I’m originally from the East coast, about 2 hours from NYC. I grew up in a close-knit Italian family. My grandma was a seamstress for most of her young life and passed down the love of sewing (and of course good food) to me. My husband Nate and I met in Philadelphia, where I was working as a pediatric cardiac ICU nurse. I spent a significant portion of my pre mom years traveling the globe doing heart surgery trips for children, an experience I am forever grateful for. A few years ago we moved to Portland Oregon, where my husband called home. That’s how Linsey and I met, she and Robbie were long time friends of my husband. Nate and I have three kids, Luca (age 4), Evangeline (age 2.5), and Florentia (one month). I still work per diem as a nurse at the children’s hospital here and aside from Age to Come, my entrepreneur husband also runs two businesses out of our house. It’s a bit crazy around here but we love it.
2. Tell us a little bit about your brand and how you came to create your label.
Linsey: Age to Come was born out of a desire as a mom to dress my son in the style of clothing he likes. Max saw his dad’s street-style clothes and wanted some too…I searched and found nothing. So…I decided to make it of course. So a few weeks later Max was wearing some of our first styles. I got asked many times “where did you get that?” So I started dreaming. The name and logo speaks to the mission we have in creating our styles to be timeless, lasting and suitable for kids as they grow.
Michele: Linsey and I were on a walk with our kids in strollers and she told me she had this crazy idea and asked me if I wanted in. I said absolutely, and so it began…
3. How do you manage to work together from opposite sides of the country?
Michele: Well I would say we’re still figuring it out. We’ve definitely woken each other up by accident forgetting the fifteen hour time difference. We chat back and forth via text and email several times a week and video chat as often as we can, usually with our kiddos in the background trying to say hello to each other. They’re missing their little friends. My favorite of course is when we have a pop up shop somewhere and we get to fly in to meet in the middle.
Linsey: Working globally is certainly challenging with time zones and ever changing roles but I think Michele and I are really good at motivating each other and understanding of our first priorities are our families. Because we are working in a global environment our strategy is constantly pivoting to adjust to timing, finances, and opportunities. Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in business are to be flexible, fail fast, and value people.
4. Your brand is incredibly cool. Where do you look for design inspiration?
Linsey: Inspiration really happens for me when I stop long enough to really look at something, whether it be a rock sitting on the beach or the way the cleaning supplies are stacked in a small ally in Xiamen. Greater inspiration usually occurs when I am trying to solve a problem with one of my kids. Just being willing to ask people questions and learn where the pain points are and working them into a design is paramount for me. It’s much more then just making a beautiful quality garment. Kids and parents alike have to want to pick it out of the drawer for more than one reason. ;)Michele: I would say most inspiration I have for design comes from people. I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time visiting and living in bustling, inspiring cities. One of the first things I usually notice about a persons’ outfit are the shoes. And if the shoes are cool, especially sneakers, I take note how the rest of an outfit compliments from there. Textures have always been important to me too, how clothing feels to the touch. I’m really taken by nice fabrics and pieces that layer and are multi functional. With children’s apparel, comfort is of most priority.
5. What are your current favourite products in your collection?
Linsey: My current favorite is one of the most simple, the Yom Tee. Mainly because we travel internationally so frequently and my son has developed the habit of using his shirt as his napkin. One quick flip of the shirt and he looks fresh and ready to take on the next flight! My overall favorite is the Epoch Cape. It’s striking as it is functional and was the first thing I made late at night with my sewing machine on my kitchen table.
Michele: I think my favorite is the first thing I sewed as well, the Aion Drop Crotch Pants. My son Luca looks so adorable in them and wants to wear them every day. He’s always filling the expandable pocket up with some new treasure. He told me the other day, “mama thank you for making me my Age to Come clothes, I just love them.”
What inspirational ladies! Come and meet them and see their collection of super sophisticated, impeccably finished streetwear at the London ShopUp on 4 and 5 December.