Posted in: Interviews

Interview with The Circle Collective Founders, Lauren and Rachael

Oh, the clothes for our little women. So chic. So colorful. So soft. We only wish the sizes would carry them to adulthood! Read on to learn more about sisters and founders of The (fabulous) Circle Collective.

where is your hometown?

That’s actually a hard question to answer. Both of us were born in Australia, Rachael in Perth and Lauren in Sydney, and moved around a LOT. We went to school in South Florida and now call New York City home.

what does your household look like?

Lauren: I'm married with two kids, Emma (8), Sophie (3) and a gorgeous Boxer named Polly.

Rachael: Married to Tobias Peggs (founder of Square Roots, a tech-enabled urban indoor farming startup), doting auntie to Emma and Sophie, and tolerated by Lily, a stray tabby who now lives like a queen. We just lost our beloved Stuart, a Cavalier-mix, after nearly 17 years together. Our hearts are still broken.

what year did your company launch?


what originally sparked your idea for the company?

Lauren: Rachael actually came up with the idea for the company after trying to shop for ethically produced clothing for my daughter Emma and was disappointed with the options. If anyone knows Rachael, they know she hates overly frou frou fast fashion on kids, but at the same time it was hard to find genuinely stylish ethically and sustainably produced brands. The Circle Collective was based on the idea that our brand would be ethical and seriously chic. I always knew I wanted to start a fashion line after falling in love with the textiles in India, so when she came to me with the idea I knew we had to do it.

what do you love most about your company?

Lauren: I love that we can work with the most beautiful hand-blocked, light-weight cottons. India is a textile heaven. It's also incredibly important to Rachael and me to have company values we believe in -- ethical, transparent and sustainably produced product that is also pretty.

Rachael: The incredible community of something new every single day.

What is a current goal you are striving for?

Lauren: We started as direct to consumer but realize there is so much value in growing multiple retail channels. We hope to scale the business with retail partners who share a similar vision.

Rachael: producing an entire collection with the brilliant Tharangini Studios in Bangalore. Tharagini’s founder, Padmini Govind, took over the studio from her mother, who started it in the 1970s, when women just didn’t found businesses on their own. Padmini has this extraordinary library of vintage hand-carved blocks. I spent hours paging through prints last time I was there. India is hurting so badly from the Covid crisis right now, and we want to do our small part by sending work there.

How do you keep up your mental health?

Lauren: Daily runs with my dog always makes me happy. And a natural daily dose of vitamin D from the sunshine.

Rachael: Yoga and meditation. I would not have made it through the last year without either one.

Looking back on your entrepreneurial journey, what do you wish you had done differently?

Lauren: Tapping into my network to build community sooner. The Circle Collection had always been a "side hustle" while I was working in PR. Even though it was not at all a conflict of interest, I always kept too quiet about it, not wanting to blur the lines professionally. Community is everything, and since I've now started public relations consulting independently, I can talk about it to anyone and it's so wonderful to feature some of the many beautiful mothers I know on our social media platforms.

Rachael: I wish I had been a little bit easier on myself. I am Type A+++ and the business meant the world to me so I put myself under a huge amount of pressure – and it doesn’t necessarily produce results.

if you could give some advice to your 21-year-old self, what would you say?

Lauren: The network you create will be one of your most important assets. People I met when I first started working in the fashion industry remain close friends 20 years later and have been so supportive of everything we are doing at The Circle Collective.

Rachael: Take risks and see the world. This is the time in your life when you can take a year out and no-one will notice. I would have put my Art History degree to use instead of going to law school because it was more practical.

Fun Tips

recommended read:

Lauren: "Malice in Wonderland: My Adventures in the World of Cecil Beaton" by Hugo Vickers

Rachael: “Breasts and Eggs,” Mieko Kawakami. An absolutely brilliant story of living your life on your own terms and no-one else’s.

worthwhile TV series

Lauren: Borgen, a Danish political drama.

Rachael: Gardener’s World. Perfect gardens, chirping birds, and adorable dogs. This kept me sane over the last year. And on the other end of the spectrum, The Serpent on Netflix. Gave me nightmares.

Vacation spot you still dream about:

Lauren: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. It's a laid back surfer town with the most beautiful sandy, palm-lined beaches, the most delicious food (rotis and lassis), and chic curated boutiques in nearby Galle.

Rachael: Niseko, Japan. Japanese culture, hot springs, and powder that will spoil you for life. It was our last trip before the world fell apart last spring. Also, Kutch, in Gujarat, India. It’s in the middle of the desert near the Pakistan border and it’s truly textile heaven. I was lucky enough visit women in their homes doing the most extraordinary handwork, see traditional tie-dye and batik making, and learn about blockprint traditions in the region. A once in a lifetime opportunity for a textile lover.

Song on repeat:

Lauren: Since my 8 year old has hijacked our Alexa, unfortunately right now I have to say "Peaches" by Justin Bieber.

Rachael: I literally have no need for a song on repeat. Brooklyn in the summer has its own soundtrack: you just have to open your windows. I am a podcast fan though and highly recommend the fashion history podcast Dressed.

Cocktail of choice:

La Piscine– it’s champagne on ice, which I discovered at one of the chicest weddings I went to in the South of France over a decade ago.

Entertaining tip or trick:

Lauren - Host a dinner with a theme and with a gorgeous table setting. We set the table with pretty little hand-painted glasses we picked up at The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul years ago and a brightly colored striped tablecloth bought in Sayulita, Mexico.

Rachael – pick the most interesting people you know and put them together. Nothing else matters.

Recent purchase that delighted you:

Lauren: A gorgeous dress by a brand called Ouipil that my friend, Karla, who also happens to be the Editor in Chief of Vogue Mexico, introduced me to. It’s sustainable, fairtrade, supports local artisans and they have the most beautiful selection. They are woven in Chiapas.

Rachael: a canary-yellow silk hand embroidered kaftan by Ahilaya. Their store in Mumbai is a jewel box of silks and pastel colors.

Skincare MVP:

Lauren: Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Oil

Rachael: Farmacy Green Clean. Cruelty-free and green and gets eye makeup off like nothing else on the market.

Essential makeup product:

Lauren: I love Milk Makeup's Electric Glossy Lip Plumper in Bright Pink. I got hooked after watching Zanna Roberts Rassi's beauty tutorial of it on Instagram

Rachael: After wearing virtually no makeup for a year, I really can’t stand anything on my face anymore. Erborian CC cream is miraculous – it goes on colorless and then somehow changes color to match your skin tone. Plus SPF!

“It's incredibly important to Rachael and me to have company values we believe in -- ethical, transparent and sustainably produced product that is also pretty.”

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