Interview From 2018 - Q&A's

Smith Webb - Q&A


 SB: How did you meet and where did the idea behind Smith Webb begin?


Chloe: I was at a rubbish point in my life,  a thirty something model, I’d recently become unexpectedly single.  Two young children to care for and no control about where my life was suddenly heading. Thrust into a position I hadn’t been before and it was suffocating, I literally crashed. Exhautsed all day and unable to sleep at night, i sort help.  Therapy helped me realise my self esteme and confidence had been chipped away for the past 14 years and I no longer recognise the person i saw in the mirror. I'ld become the person someone else wanted me to be and was now rejected.   A chance meeting in a coffee shop I met Jo, who taught Pilates locally (something i'ld always enjoyed) and she agreed to help train me to become a teacher, this was the focus i needed and a life line to support my children. We became really good friends and decided we wanted to do something that really brought people together; somewhere, if you were feeling rubbish, you could go without judgement. So our original idea was to do a sporting event, or a coffee morning but it was so difficult to get people’s attention without a product so we decided to create something visual.

We started by asking ourselves ‘what’s the best thing somebody could say about our kids?’ and we thought, if they’re kind, that’s the best thing anyone could say and also what bought us together.  The slogan ‘be kind’ was born. It’s something we truly believe. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, where you’re from, what age/size, whatever, as long as you’re kind that’s something you can carry through from being a childhood to adulthood and it helps so many people. You never know what someone is dealing with and sometimes a smile or hello can comlpetely change someones day, I know it did mine. We also know too well that Children are like sponges so we wanted to show it’s cool to be kind, and encourage the next generation.

We didn’t want to just do a generic charity t-shirt that you wear once and gets added to land fill. We wanted to produce a product that represented what we stand for; honest, good quality, organic.


When did it all kick off?

Jo: We launched in April 2017, we were completely unprepared, we had one jumper and we just thought let’s see how it goes. And then Holly Willoyghby wore it and it exploded; people were contacting us and we were trying to sell through instagram, it was a nightmare. Then Paypal refused to pay out as we’d clicked on the wrong registration and registered as a person not business and no one was actually called smith webb, so we couldn’t prove who we were nightmare! We had to ask a kind friend for a loan so we could fight to prove who we were. Literally it was nearly over before it began…in fact everything that should have been easy was hard and vice versa.

Chloe: We just didn’t anticipate the growth to be what it has been. But it’s all good! We hadn’t even been out for dinner with each other in the first 6 months it’s been that busy! We constantly message each other, we put the kids down to bed and then decide on the next slogan! But some of our best ideas come at the strangest times.

And how do you work as a team?

Jo: We say it all the time, we just don’t know what we’d do without the other one. I talk to Chloe all the time, we bounce off each other really well, plus we have different areas of expertise so we bounce of each other well in that respect, and we’re not scared of saying how we feel to each other.


Chloe: We’re both doing Smith Webb fulltime now, it’s been a huge learning curve, but it’s been one that we’ve been more than happy to go on together. I’ve been on shoots since I was really young, so I can quickly put a shoot together and I know how I want the brand to look. Jo used to be a financial analyst so she’s so great with the numbers.


What about the charities you support?

Jo: We have a combination of charities, including MIND and Anna Freud (whose focus is on mental health for children and families, they are very specifically aimed at supporting family units with their mental health). We also support Calm which is a men’s mental health charity, and anti-bullying pro, cancer research and Vetlife.

 The great thing about running our own business is we can be in full control of where our money goes. We are always on the look out for amazing smaller charities/organisations and help them to shine, whether thats though our social reach or donating. 

SB: What’s your advice for people facing some of the issues these charities support such as bullying and mental health?

Jo: We aren’t doctors or psychiatrists however, we are mum’s who have children who’ve been through some things; we’ve had issues with mental health ourselves, and we’re speaking to people from that perspective. From our own experience we would urge everyone to seek help sooner rather than later because there’s no point sitting on things for a long time. Talk to somebody!

 Chloe: There is so much support out there. As soon as I spoke to someone about how I felt it turned out half the mums I knew felt exactly the same and have been through similar issues.

 Jo: when it comes to your child, don’t worry if you feel like you’re going to be a difficult mum. If you have concerns you need to seek help from the school, or the GP, or charities; there’s amazing charities out there doing such great things. It’s helped us link up with some really great people. For instance, Sarah ‘the mind medic’ who’s written a book about children’s mental health.


SB: How do you market yourselves, do you have a big PR team behind you?

Jo: No! It’s just me and Chloe. We don’t have a PR team and actually we don’t want to lost that connection with people. When you message us, the message back comes directly from us. Yes we’ve had a few celebrities wear our clothes but that’s off their own backs, it’s come from being kind. We put it out the the universe and that came back! If you’re kind then good things happen. We’ve been really lucky and we’re really grateful that they’ve supported us in that way. Integrity is at the core of everything we do, we’ve been approached by some influencers for paid posts but they just wouldn’t fit with our key messages.


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