MEET: Wyse London

There was a time (about 2 years ago) when I spent my time interviewing new business owners pretty regularly.  Recently launched entrepreneurs who I thought you might like to hear from, killer products we potentially couldn’t live without or just a friend of friend of a friend whose business needed some blog support.

But then an office found me and I found that I had little time.

So, now in the (dis)guise of a photographer, I’m going to worm my way back into these homes/businesses and the plan is to bring you a series of blog posts called MEET.

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Yesterday I met Marielle Wyse.  Previously a documentary maker at the BBC, she had been searching for some flexible work to allow her to work from home as her kids grew up around her.  A big cashmere wearer, it became startling obvious to Marielle that there was a gap in the market for cool cashmere with slightly unusual detailing but (crucially) at a stomach-able price point.

Marielle Wyse of Wyse London

Marielle Wyse of Wyse London

Her home in West London is the Wyse London office, showroom and warehouse.  I had been asked to encapsulate (in some images) her way of working, the detail and breadth of her brand and the warmth of her home – while all I really wanted to do was pull myself into each and every bit of this delicious cashmere hanging on the rails.

Wyse London

Clearly a work horse, Marielle hardly paused to sip her tea.  Website orders were coming in thick and fast, swatches being considered for new colour ways, repeat customers dropping by to snap up yet another grey breton… but I traipsed around after her asking questions and snapping whenever I could:

Why Wyse? I live in cashmere jumpers pretty much year round –  and was fed up with paying ridiculous prices for something that wasn’t quite right.  The other (cheaper) option, which was plain and boring, but not right either.  So I thought I’d do my own thing, everything with a little detail, with a little twist and a little nod to fashion,  but not fashion-led.  Well priced, well cut and very very wearable. No-one wants countless trips to the dry cleaners.

When did you launch the business and how has it grown?
I had 6 pieces in November 2014, and now I’m in several shops around the country, lots of  home sales and a successful online business.  To say I’m busy is an understatement.
Wyse London
Which is your favourite jumper and why?  It’s a joint first – the grey with gold lurex, and the rainbow breton.  I just love them both.  They are just the right amount of detail, people alway ask where they’re from and they wash in the machine (wool wash obv.).  People think I wear a different one every day, but I don’t.  I’ve got my favourites and I’m lazy when it comes to thinking about what to wear.
Now the cashmere joggers – what’s next?
By the way, they are lethal as if you put them on (as I do with my Ugg slippers) as I find every excuse to not go out… PURE BLISS.  Next up are t-shirts,  menswear, kidswear and lots of gorgeous spring fresh colour and patterns.  Plus potentially items like a festival jumper which is cool for …well hanging out in at festivals…
What does wearing cashmere say about a woman’s outfit?  It says she likes comfort, style, easy to wear things that make her feel good.  Shapes are so important too.  It’s not just about comfort.
Tell us more about the rainbow theme?  
It’s simply a happy jumper with a well placed rainbow so that it doesn’t expand your boobs!
Wyse London
what are the growth plans for the brand?
I’ve called the brand Wyse London instead of Wyse cashmere as I don’t want to just stick to cashmere.  I think there is a huge untapped market for the 40 plus woman who just wants something age appropriate and cool.
how is the Wyse word currently spreading?  and how can we help make Wyse worldwide?

Word of mouth, bloggers, instagram, people talk… I really think the Wyse word is getting out but yes please do tell your friends…

wyse london

Tell us a cashmere secret.
Never dry clean, always wool wash in a netted bag with a blob of baby shampoo.  Oh and occasionally do an anti-moth chant.  It works.
To check out the full Wyse London range, click here.

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the (wonderful) ordinary // new year post

I sometimes wonder why we search for something so extraordinary in our lives. Whatever that thing might be… some awe-inspiring view, perhaps the juiciest of steaks or the most impressive of exam results, a mind-blowing film, an addictive novel, a perfect relationship… our lists are endless.

At this moment in time I want to challenge that parent who wants their child to achieve over the odds. And the teacher who feels the burning need to draw out the extraordinary in their pupil. Even the boss or client who isn’t simply satisfied with the achievable.

Because I need to know why we aren’t (at least occasionally) happy with what I would call  ‘the wondrously ordinary’?  For those who think ordinary means ho-hum, I have news. Ordinary can mean wonderful and pleasant and happy and satisfied. And besides, there are fewer issues and less disappointment with just achieving the ordinary, even providing contentment or satisfaction in front of our less demanding selves.

So, as we enter 2016, perhaps we should instill less panic in our children to reach the summit of every mountain. Instead to try and enjoy the more ordinary moments … before they pass us by, unnoticed and unappreciated. And, instead of wishing each other an excellent, dynamic, ground-breaking year, let’s (quite simply) shoot for a ‘GOOD’ one.

brush lettering by Life of Yablon

Finally, I came across this poem – also championing The Ordinary – and thought you might enjoy:

“Make the Ordinary Come Alive” by William Martin

Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is a way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples, and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

Happy New Year from me at Life of Yablon.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Boat drama

I used to be a really annoying person in a drama. That person who tries to stay calm but manages to amplify the tension by either (nervous) giggling or asking a billion useless questions.

Marina Max

Our Longboat besties have recently invested in a sizable floating vessel. She is stunning, full of all those mod cons you’d die for in your home, let alone on a boat. Catalina is her name and, since receiving her for her 40th birthday, my friend is fast learning the ropes. Courses for horses, practical hours with Captain Jim and …. well, each excursion brings its challenges – and there is probably no better way to learn.

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Small loving the speed

fishermen at marina max

Anyway, yesterday we had a bit of a boat drama.

Catalina's dashboard

In short, we made the error of coming out of the channel (in the bay), seeking a perfect fishing spot. The water suddenly became very shallow and the boat grounded. Engines immediately failed and when we tried to drop the anchor, it JAMMED. As if on cue, the wind and current picked up rapidly and before we could anchor down with the back anchor, we found ourselves (these things always happen at speed) floating fast towards the rocky sandbank, close to a seriously concrete bridge.

 

friend at the helm

friend at the helm

And there appeared our Christmas angel, in the form of hipster Jake and Nelly his stunning dog. When he could have hollered (Yanks don’t shout) obscenities at us from dry land, he simply waded out, hopped on board and instructed us kindly.

our Christmas angel

our Christmas angel

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and his dog Nelly

A flag using a towel tied to a pole was made to attract attention to ourselves and (this is the best bit) my Him was volunteered to stand in the freezing water and hold the (heavy) front of the boat to prevent any more driftage. For the best part of an hour.

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SeaTow (Think AA on water but less friendly) eventually arrived and got us out of our pickle.

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Friend restarted the motor and carefully and calmly steered us back into the marina. Once we had cold beers in hand, MY did we laugh….

Interestingly – glancing at my camera roll – I noticed that the drama had me refocusing my lens and capturing the whole episode… probably as a tension diversion… hence being able to share our comic adventure here.

Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

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the kids in the cabin thought the drama was 'BRILLIANT'

the kids in the cabin thought the drama was BRILLIANT

 

 

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‘Tis the season to be…

Taking on a festive role, at this time of year, involves making a list of those you really ‘need’ to gift. Basically Thank YOU packages for those who persevere with our offspring and their ludicrous spelling, others who put our homes back together after an overly-sociable weekend or he who delivers weekend newspapers when none of my housemates want to walk down the road in their PJs. But, what I’ll now call tactical giving, is reaching an all-time peak… mostly because our gifting competitors are ensuring the how to show your appreciation bar is unbearably high.

The way I see it, there’s an opt IN or opt OUT tick box system going . If I opt in, I’m going to end up spending more on the form teachers, the music teachers, our drycleaners (not my idea, His) than I will do on my nearest/dearest – because, in all honestly, Father Christmas only half heartedly drops by our gaff on the eve of the turkey-eating marathon. Plus, I’d need to immediately buy shares in Jo Malone, Space NK or even setting up an affiliate marketing programme with JohnLewis.com to enter this gift-rat-race.

Opting out has its own set of risks: will the teachers think I’m only semi-grateful? Or will I look like the meanest, tightest, not in the least bit involved mum if I simply fling a bottle of something strong their direction – in exchange of their detailed school report and exhausted faces?

Life of Yablon illustration

©LifeofYablon

So I’ve decided that my logic is to be instinctive and personal. Gifting doesn’t need to be excessive. In fact, the more excessive, the more uncomfortable so while the most curious of mothers – laden with more gifts than Santa – totter up to the school gates, I’ll hide behind their reindeer and watch the teachers squirm.

This column first appeared in The Lady where I am their Mum About Town.

 

 

 

 

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