Interview with Gillian Mcneill
“Keep learning. Every day I immerse myself in business podcasts and other learning tools to ensure I am always growing my knowledge and nourishing my business..” – Gillian Mcneill
Today we feature GILLIAN:MCNEILL, the founder at LAW Design Studio. We hear their story in their own words, their successes, their challenges and their insights.
Let’s start by getting to know you. Can you please tell us a little bit about you and what you do?
My name is Gill and I am an Illustrator and Fashion designer from Glasgow, Scotland. I work for myself on my two businesses. The main business is a sustainable clothing brand and the secondary business is an illustration brand focusing on prints and wall art. I work from my home studio so I have flexibility for my young family.
A great introduction and start to this interview. Can you please tell us, how did you start, from what age, and what made you decide to change direction and start?
I started LAW when I was pregnant with my second daughter in 2019. I had worked as a designer for the UK and US high street for the last decade and had become increasingly concerned with the fast throw-away culture and lack of empathy or care for the people making our clothes.
I was no longer interested in creating substandard clothing for companies who cared little or none at all for the environment that I was bringing my two girls into.
I worked nights and weekends to build the business and finally took the leap to give up my job and focus on LAW full time in Jan 2020.
Thank you for that insight. So can you tell us…What does your business do and where is your company based?
Based in Glasgow, LAW Design Studio is a slow fashion brand focusing on timeless and natural clothing for a long-lasting wardrobe. Each style is made to order to avoid waste and this ensures that customers can tailor sizes to suit their body shape.
I run a circular scheme where the customer is invited to sell back their LAW Garments once finished and I will re-list them as pre-loved. Each style is made and packaged by myself.
What’s the story behind your success? What led to your aha moment? how did you get to where you are now?
the success of the business has come down to hard work and determination. I have sacrificed late nights while catching up on orders and the constant thirst to learn more about how to push the business forward is what drives me to keep going on.
Both my parents died at 50 so I lost them young. It has given me the inspiration to ensure I am doing what I love in life as life is short. My mum created a career and business for herself that my sister now runs. I would love to be able to leave something like that for my girls one day.
Thank you for sharing that. What’s been your life’s biggest lesson so far?
My biggest lesson has been that I shouldn’t undersell myself and my work. When I first started I felt scared to price my garments properly so was often making them for little or no money.
I have since learned to ‘never price your own work with your own money.’ I have also learned to trust my gut and have absolute faith in myself as usually if you feel like something will happen it will. I wish I had started my businesses earlier but I lacked confidence in myself.
Have confidence in my ability to run a business.
If you were to go back in time, what piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
just go for it – you know it feels right so it probably is.
We’re nearly halfway through our interview so it’s a great time to ask how does your business run. What three tools make your business run better?
My website is with Shopify, I find it a really easy platform to navigate and it is relatively inexpensive for a small business. I do everything my self and I am looking to get some help with social media and email marketing as at the moment I am spinning all the plates.
What do you know now that you wished you had known before?
Have confidence in my ability to run a business.
What has been your greatest or proudest achievement or moment?
I still pinch myself when I think about it and to be honest it all feels like a bit of a blur but I am amazed that I managed to start my business with a 3-year-old and a 3-week old baby. It involved a lack of sleep which wasn’t great for my health when I think about it but it enabled me to create a business so I could work around my kids and leave the toxic work environment I was in before I started my maternity leave.
What future life goals do you want to achieve and why?
I would love to be able to employ some machinists and start an apprenticeship scheme for young people to learn how to craft clothes. It is an undervalued skill and should be respected.
To finish our inspire questions…”We believe that sharing inspiring words can inspire others.” If there was one positive thing you would say to someone to inspire and empower them what would it be and why?
keep learning. Every day I immerse myself in business podcasts and other learning tools to ensure I am always growing my knowledge and nourishing my business.
“Thank you it has been great learning more about your founder story and LAW Design Studio”
To learn more about LAW Design Studio Visit www.lawdesignstudio.com
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