We've decided to get to know some of our local business partners a bit better - and today we speak to Ayten Roberts from Ayten Gasson...

Tell us about yourself and how you started Ayten Gasson

I grew up in Archway, North London, in a neighbourhood filled with designers and makers and surrounded by clothing factories. My grandmother worked at a factory at the end of my road, where I would visit her while she was working. I was inspired by the old machines and the incredible skill of the machinists, and my passion for sewing was fuelled from my mother teaching me sewing skills at home. That’s how I would earn my pocket money – turning through belt loops and cutting labels from the roll!

I used to work at Knickerbox on Oxford Street, a shop filled with beautiful designs, but lacking the fine craftsmanship I felt was needed in the lingerie industry. This inspired me to create garments crafted from good quality fabrics which are kind on the skin, as opposed to mass-produced, scratchy laces and polyester.

What do you love most about what you do?

The creative process is what I love the most about what I do. Finding a beautiful, vintage lace and deciding what colour silk to match it with, or even what we are going to use it for, is a process we often go through in the studio, and one that we all enjoy.

The sewing and manufacturing side of the business is also my favourite part. I used to send the designs off to be made in a factory in South Wales, and during this time I really missed sewing the pieces myself. I think the reason that I have been able to continue growing the business is that the pieces are produced in the studio.

What’s the best thing about your work?

The best thing about my work must be having the opportunity to meet so many new people. Being based in such a vibrant place in the centre of Brighton attracts really lovely customers, especially now with all the wonderful tourists visiting throughout the summer.

I have also been incredibly lucky to meet so many amazing people through trade shows and visiting our suppliers.

What’s your average day like, or is it ever average?

Our days in the studio are always changing! We usually begin by checking to see if any online orders have come through overnight and pick out and pack the orders ready to post out. We then prepare for any fittings we may have that day, putting aside garments that we think they would like to try on, and gathering our sample book and laces ready for them to look through. We also allocate jobs for the day, acting as a production line between us. I will cut the garments out, my assistant Ruby will help with the straight stitching, and my other assistant Kenza will zigzag stitch.

However, our days in the studio depend on how busy we are in the shop. If we are having a busy day, our production gets put to one side while we focus on customers. If we have quieter days in the shop, we can allocate time towards designing and working through our customer requests book, which may involve creating bespoke orders.

What is the biggest challenge or opportunity currently for you at the moment?

One of the challenges we face as the brand continues to grow is that we can’t set aside as much time as we would like to for designing new pieces. We are currently planning what to do next, and what direction we would like to grow the business in. Although we love having a shop, our true passion is making, and we aren’t able to design and make as much as we would if the studio wasn’t incorporated onto the shop floor.

Focussing on the studio would also allow us to offer services ‘by appointment only’, allowing us to dedicate time to customers who may need additional support when searching for their perfect lingerie.

Have you got anything new planned for the coming year?

We are currently working on expanding our size range. We have recently started to develop samples for padded bras, which we will use to continue to advance our luxury angle through using silk linings. We also hope to expand our sustainable ranges in the future.

We also hope to begin hosting in-store events again, collaborating with local artists that supply to the boutique once things are safer and fully open up again.

What do you love most about living and working in Brighton?

We have been completely overwhelmed by the community feel within Hanningtons Lane, and the support that we have received from the neighbourhood - we have already made many lifelong friends in the short time that we have been at this location.

Having the sea so close to the shop is great too!

Thank you!




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