Monday, May 19, 2008

Shauna Chapman - Founder of Quail

How old are you?

What’s your occupation and who do you work for?
I founded and own an ethical fashion label for women called Quail By Mail. I operate Quail on a full time basis from my live/work studio in Brixham, south Devon.

How long have been doing this?
1.5 years

What is it about your job that makes it ethical?
I import ethical, heritage, fairtrade and organic fabrics from India, South Africa and Indonesia and I utilise young British fashion designers and manufacturing units in Devon to produce funky, original clothing.

What’s the best bit about your job?
Standing back and looking at a finished Quail garment that has huge eco and ethical provenance that wouldn’t have otherwise existed, and then someone comes and buys it and jump up and down with glee!

What’s the worst thing?
Dealing with accounts and book keeping and being asked to present Business Plans to boring people who don’t care about what Quail is about, just if the numbers look logical.

What have the last 12 months been like for you?
I quit my full time job so that I could concentrate on Quail. I’ve been developing my clothing patterns from scratch, which takes time. But the bulk of the time is spent trying to get attention from magazines and newspapers who only love and write about the big boys, who are barely ethical or eco-friendly. I call it ‘Green Wash’.

What were you doing before this?
I used to work in the City of London.

What was your very first full-time job?
Working for a sign making company near Heathrow.

What advice would you give to someone wishing to embark on the same sort of work as you?
Save as much money as you can before you start or better yet keep working and do it on the side until you’re really ready to take the leap. Always bear in mind that the most successful people in this world all had to start somewhere.

Have you got any plans for the next 12 months you’d like to share with us?
I’d like to expand Quail By Mail to offer wholesale clothing to quality clothing boutiques. I’d also love to work with some fashion graduates from the Art & Design College in Plymouth, before they all troop off to London.

What do you do to relax?
I am a keen gardener so I have an ‘organipanico’, which is a Cuban word for an organic kitchen garden, usually in a courtyard. I also like to go to farmers markets and go for a walk on the beach.

Who do you live with?
My husband and lots and lots of indoor plants. There are pigeons in the eves too.

Whereabouts do you live?
In a GrII listed former ship’s chandlery about 50m from the sea in Brixham, South Devon (Torbay area).

If you were Prime Minister, what’s the very first thing you would do?
Cancel all orders for guns, bullets, fighter planes and aircraft carriers and assign all the soldiers and navymen to Britain’s farmers and convert all arable and grazing land to organic production. I’d make Britain the first certified organic country.

As cheap and easily available oil is expected to run out in the next couple of decades, what do you think will be the predominant form of transport in 2027?
Our feet.

Have you got any guilty carbon secrets?
I like wood-burning fireplaces.

What have you done that you were most proud of?
That I’ve stuck to my childhood thoughts that the world will be a different place if I keep my end up.

What single issue are you most concerned about in the world at large?
Over population.

Which person in the public eye do you most admire and why?
Prince Charles. Big change is ahead. Long live the Queen but I can’t wait for the King.

What’s your website address?

What are your three favourite other websites of the moment?
I like original people doing original things and then blogging about it:

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