When did you set up your business and why?

I set up The House of L.E.A.F in 2016. I had studied fashion design in Milan and went on to work in the fashion industry for years and loved it, but always felt my love for the product was in the inception: the moment of inspiration and translating that moment into a beautiful design. For me, fashion and design is a way of translating your thoughts, curiosities and daydreams into a visual and tangible story that can connect with people. I wanted people to pick up a piece from my collection and feel the energy of the “Ah ha” moment that inspired it. My designs are intended to complement and elevate the lives of those that see, touch and own them. I wanted to create a brand that pushed the boundaries on delivering the design concept to the customer; creating a whole experience around the product, from the artwork to poems, quotes and storytelling. For me design isn't about creating something new, it's about being vulnerable with the design and relaying to the customer. My wish is for people to be surrounded by designs in their lives that uplift them and give them more than function and style. In the moments we need them the most to allow our world to reflect magic and inspiration.

Can you explain your process?

My design process is a little different. I start by meditating, then I take out my journal and I'll do some free writing. I am always amazed by what is written in free writing, things I have never thought of. It's a moment of allowing the creation to happen instead of controlling the creation. While reading the story back it begins to come to life and I can clearly see the design and the direction it is going. Then I take out my pen and paper and start drawing. I take lots of breaks and go back and forth reading the story. More will come to me and then I'll write quotes to bring the story to life in the design.

While it may sound whimsy to some, it truly is the moment in life where I feel the most calm and at peace, allowing space and time to let in magical moments through.

What is your best seller?

The Tiger scarf. The message of courage really resonated with people. The design is a tiger and a leaf. The tiger represents strength and protection and the leaf represents the importance of being vulnerable. and how both are needed in order to be courageous.

Lorna Finnegan also runs Fresh Cuts Clothing with her husband Steven Murphy

What is it about your business that brings you joy?

Seeing people open up when they hear how open I have been with the design. It has really taught me that when you share your thoughts openly and honestly you not only grow yourself, but it's like you give permission to the person listening to open and be honest themselves. Sometimes we live life without having deep and meaningful relationships or conversions. We can live such surface lives, which is fine, but it's magic when you live deeper. I can find being so vulnerable overwhelming sometimes, but when you see a customer really get the design and feel so connected, it's so worth it.

What are your hopes for 2023?

To grow the experience side of the business, by hosting more in person events and creating spaces for people to create beauty in their lives. I will also be adding new scarves to the collections, which I am really excited about. One design I have been working on for a long time and I think it might be my favourite so far. I have more product coming out too, which I am very excited about.

Lorna Finnegan also runs Fresh Cuts Clothing with her husband Steven Murphy

What advice would you give to another start-up business?

I don't know if any of my advice is any good, but I suppose what I always have to do is remind myself of why I started and remember to stay true to yourself. You will get stressed and things will not work out all the time, but if you remember why you’re doing what you're doing, you'll just keep going. It's more about being dedicated to the process than the outcome. I am really trying myself to create habits that align with where you want to go and keep being consistent and allowing what's out of your control to flow over you.

Visit https://thehouseofleaf.com/ and www.freshcutsclothing.com/

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