OH LYDIA! | Model Turned Entrepreneur
If there’s anything we love more than a supermodel, it’s definitely a #GirlBoss. M1 model Lydia Graham; after years of lending her figure to some of your favourite brands (ever heard of Burberry?), has slipped into a new role, designer and founder. Launching today, graham is introducing her line of lounge and intimate wear “OhLydia Intimates”.
Always vying to know more about what our models are up to, we sat down with Lydia to get the download on her new venture and how her career as a model informed her path to entrepreneurship.
M1: What inspired you to create a line of intimates?
LG: The idea of OhLydia Intimates started a couple of years ago. I was actually wearing a pair of my mum’s old underwear, 80’s style high legged white undies, and Josh (Lydia’s boyfriend) thought they were amazing! Little bit weird after I said they were actually my mum’s haha! But it got me thinking, no one really does underwear like they did back in the day. I then started looking at old 70’s and 80’s underwear catalogues that I found online and loved the simplicity of the garments, the colours and the underlining sexiness. OhLydia Intimates is designed basically for myself, things that I’d wear and would like to wear.
M1: How long did you have the idea to create OhLydia before you decided “okay, I’m going to go for it”?
LG: As I said, it started a couple of years ago I was toying around with the idea and coming up with designs on a sketch book I’d bought myself. What made me think “Right I’m going to go for it” was actually I got a bit sad and unmotivated one summer. I was either working loads or hardly working. The imbalance really got to me and I was struggling to get motivated with a lot of aspects of my life. I will probably keep mentioning my boyfriend Josh because he was actually the main driving force to get it all started. Encouraging me and motivating me to do more and push myself. So all in all the idea of OhLydia started 2 years ago.
M1: Who did you envision the “OhLydia” girl to be?
LG: ‘The OhLydia girl’ is just a girl! She comes from anywhere in the world, she is powerful, she is shy, she is sexy, she is modest, she is petite, she is plus size, she is everything in-between; she is whatever she feels on that day. I named the first sets the ‘Power sets’, as they should give the girl power in whatever sense she is wearing it.
M1: How has your experience as a model informed the way you approached building/designing your intimates?
LG: Modelling has definitely helped with envisioning the brand. Being around fashion constantly and having the chance to model underwear from various brands, from the high street to high fashion has given me a real insight and inspired me to focus on what I wanted to produce. The process of shooting the undies was relatively easy as being on set for nearly 8 years now I understand what components make a shoot successful.
M1: Your first images for OhLydia include a bundle of Models1, what was it like bringing in your model friends to help you bring the brand to life?
LG: I chose to use Models1 girls for the first campaign shoot as I knew they’d be professional. I knew all the girls, Becca, Prim and Drew from castings or shoots. Although I think I actually met Prim at the pub!
They were amazing on set and a joy to have on board. I love modelling but it was so cool being able to art direct and produce my own shoot. I’m also constantly shooting with my friend and amazing photographer Katie Silvester, doing a series of portrait and lifestyle shoots of different girls in the undies whom which I think are interesting a cool and embody the OhLydia girl.
M1: What’s been the most difficult part so far in building the brand?
LG: To be honest, the whole process has been difficult. When I first went into production I had found a seamstress who turned out to be rubbish and I had to start all over again. Months of work and money went down the drain which made it hard to motivate myself after as I thought I had already failed at the first hurdle.
Luckily my idea of doing small runs and batches worked out and I only wasted a small amount in the first production. I now have the most amazing, talented and charming seamstress called Marta. She makes all the garments by hand herself over in West Finchley. I hope I can continue to work with her, as one of the brands ethos is to work and help with small and independent businesses and people.
M1: Is there anyone that you’ve turned to for advice along the way?
LG: Josh gets the brunt of my questions, tantrums and insecurities. My mum and Dad, Sue (Josh’s mum), my best friends Rio and Sammy, have all been there to help push me, motivate me and kick my ass if need be.
M1: Any advice you give someone looking to start their own business?
LG: Save your monies! It sounds obvious but you need a good chunk of money or savings to start a business. Yes, I was able cut corners and got loads of help from my friends who all have various talents, from graphic design, photography, modelling, business advice but you need to be ready to invest in yourself.
M1: What can we expect from OhLydia in 2020?
LG: Loads more cute undies and basics, will keep you posted!!!
M1: Where can we find OhLydia?