Follow us


The Interview: Stephanie and Samantha Frost, Co-founders of Pretty Lavish

Chloe Burney
15 May 2023

Founded with £3,000 in 2013 by sister duo Stephanie and Samantha Frost, Pretty Lavish has transformed into a multi-million-pound womenswear brand best known for its affordable yet high-quality occasion wear and knitwear.

Since launching its Instagram and partnering with influencers, Pretty Lavish has continuously garnered a following. Today the company, which boasts over 300k social media followers, is stocked not only independently, but also at ASOS and Selfridges.

Pretty Lavish recently introduced its curve range and bridal collection. Following off the back of their success, the brand launched a menswear brand titled 'Nobl' in February 2023.

The sister duo told how they grew their brand from a £3,000 investment to a multi-million-pound company and the importance of a strong marketing strategy.

What made you want to create a fashion line, did you notice a gap in the market in 2013?

Samantha: We've grown up in quite an entrepreneurial family and we always wanted to have our own business one day. Steph went into finance and I went into fashion buying. So, we kind of used the skill sets that we both had from those careers. It made sense to start our own online fashion brand.

Stephanie: We luckily started when Instagram was just taking off. We managed to build a following on Instagram and the brand took off from there. Over the next few years, we got to the point where I was unable to give up my job and Stephanie gave hers up shortly after. It still wasn't a certainty though.

When you founded Pretty Lavish with £3,000 did you ever expect to turn it into a multi-million-pound business?

Stephanie: To be honest, I don't think we really sat down and had a clear business plan. We just started up the brand as a hobby on the side. We put everything into it and worked really hard, ut we didn't necessarily think we'd get to where we are today.

Samantha: I think it's a combination of luck and the mighty team we've got behind us. It's determination. When things go wrong, we pick ourselves back up and make sure that we are fighting to overcome any challenges that arise.

Stephanie: Yeah, I think you’ve got to be very persistent and resilient in this industry. We've not given up we’ve stuck to it. We've been able to build up a really good team behind us now. So yeah, in the early days, we never thought we'd get to this point, but obviously, it's amazing. We now know there's so much more opportunity out there for Pretty Lavish to grow.

I think from my side, being more on the numbers, with having such a small investment to begin with, we had to be strict in how we marketed, how we strategized and how we invested in the funds that had because it was so limited. We actually spent all our time reinvesting what we made back into the business. We spent quite a few years not paying ourselves and the dedication that we put into the brand was what made us able to grow it. It was a sacrifice at the beginning, but it paid off in the long run.

Stephanie and Samantha Frost, Pretty Lavish

Stephanie and Samantha Frost


You mentioned how you were very strategic with your marketing, can you tell us a bit more about that? How has social media played a part in the success of your business?

Stephanie: I think influencer marketing is how we've grown the brand from the early days, it was probably quite new when we set up the brand in 2013. We quickly learned that gifting product is how we could generate the right kind of traffic to the site and how we could generate conversions surrounding the brand.

Samantha: That was the cheapest and easiest way for us to get our brand out there. Back then, it was a less saturated market than it is now. And yeah, we saw amazing results and traffic off the back of kind of the influencers that we were working with at that time.

Stephanie: We were also able to build up quite good relationships with influencers as well because the people that we're working with now have also grown us in a similar way. We built a real foundation of growing together.

Do you still work with the same influencers that you started with?

Samantha: Yeah, definitely. We have always been keen to maintain those relationships and treat them like a partnership. All the influencers we work with today are advocates for the brand and that’s really important to us. We’ve worked with them from early on, when they were also small. The longevity of a partnership is really key for us when it comes to influencer marketing.

pretty lavish

Chloe Lloyd x Pretty Lavish

Is that what led you to do that edits with influencers? Can you tell us about your collaborations with influencers such as Chloe Lloyd, Lydia Jane Tomlinson?

Stephanie: Yeah, definitely. We just saw an opportunity to collaborate and work together. As we grew as a company, we had more funds to be able to work together and put more pay behind those collaborations.

Samantha: I think kind of those edits and collaborations are great for getting the brand out there a bit more. It also gives the influencers an opportunity to be involved in the design process as well, which they were excited about. From our side, obviously, it was a great exposure, so it works well.

When many brands were struggling during the global pandemic, why do you think Pretty Lavish did so well? Have you been able to keep up this same momentum?

Stephanie: At the beginning of the pandemic, we were exceeding previous sales per month. But since then, we are exceeding covid. It was amazing to achieve such great sales during a period that was challenging for a lot of businesses.

Samantha: We had a lot of occasionwear that wasn't selling, but we had a lot of knitwear and loungewear, which was obviously doing well. It was a time when people weren’t going out, so we did well in the casual space. Although it was scary and challenging, the team really come together.

A lot was out of our hands, but we looked at what we could control. For example, everyone was on their phones, so we thought let's be as active as much as we can on social media, and our social growth that year was phenomenal. We were lucky in the sense that we had the right product offering for people working from home, but the pieces are also versatile and can be dressed up or down.

pretty lavish

Why did you opt to drop six collections per year rather than follow the traditional fashion calendar?

Samantha: It’s partly because of what worked in terms of like resources, but also what we felt we could achieve. So, for us, it's really important to be dropping units as much as possible.  We want to offer as much as we can for our customers. We decided to group two months together, for example, we've got a May/June collection.

Stephanie: This strategy also worked when we started to wholesale the brand, as this format is generally how retailers like to buy. Although we drop six collections, we still bring in newness every week. We actually launch pieces from the collection at different times throughout the month.

Samantha: We also work differently in terms of our seasons. For example, our Spring/Summer season starts in March, but for most brands, it starts in January. We always try and think of our consumers first and look at how they're shopping. Although it’s not the traditional route, it works well in terms of how our customers like to shop.

Pretty Lavish is now stocked in Selfridges and Asos. What part does wholesale play in your business?

Stephanie: Initially, we stuck to independent retail, doing trade shows such as Pure and Scoop etc. Then, as e-commerce sales grew, we really started to establish the brand and got approached by Asos. I think that was the real start to our wholesale journey. Now, we have been told that we have been the best brand in its department for weeks, which is an amazing achievement.

Wholesale is now a big part of the business, it makes up between 30-50%. Our e-commerce platform makes up the rest, so that’s very much part of our strategy still.

We also want to spread the risk of the business as well. So, if people stopped buying directly, or if something happens on the e-commerce side (like the website going down), we've still got revenue coming from the wholesale business.

Samantha: As they're international retailers, it's really helped to put our brand name out there as well. As much as it helps sales, it also helps with brand awareness.  We're very grateful for the partners that we have got on board and we have some new exciting ones lined up as well.

What does the future of Pretty Lavish look like?

Stephanie: For us, the US and Ireland are really big. We have partnered with Shopify Plus to be able to expand markets.

Expanding internationally is a big focus of this year. I think there's this huge opportunity to expand past the US and Ireland as well. We just want to make sure that we're getting those markets right before we look to expand further.

Samantha: We’ve also just launched menswear, which is really exciting. But it’s a more intense marketing strategy. We haven’t really touched on influencer marketing and social media marketing. So, now we've got all those foundations in place, we can really push PR and those kinds of traditional forms of marketing to get the brand name out there again. So yeah, lots of exciting opportunities for international expansion and new categories, but also just ramping up our marketing as well and shouting about the brand as much as we can.

Can you tell us more about the menswear line?

Samantha: We launched in February. The idea came off the back of a sample that we received whilst we were in lockdown. It was a sample that we felt that would be absolutely perfect for men. It took us nearly three years to launch the menswear brand, but we're so excited. We've had an amazing initial reaction. We just want to recreate what we were doing with Pretty Lavish.

We saw the same gap in the menswear market as we originally did with womenswear, so it felt like a no-brainer. We're really excited about Nobl.

If you could give advice to someone starting up their own fashion brand, what would you tell them?

Stephanie: Be persistent and don't give up. We have questioned when things weren’t working out, is this worth it? What are we doing? There were so many opportunities where we could’ve given up. I think that our persistence and determination are what got us through that kind of harder period. Actually, we learned a lot from those challenges. So, I know it sounds cliche, but don't give up.

Samantha: Know your numbers. Scrutinise everything and make sure that you’re making a profit. We used the profit to reinvest in the brand, so I think that's important.

Also, know what your USP is, again, probably quite a standard one. But, in fashion, there's no point in trying to just recreate something that someone is already doing. You've got to have a point of difference. For us, that’s quality products at an accessible price point.

I think we learned a lot because we did everything ourselves at the beginning. We had no funds so we were literally in front of the camera, taking the pictures, modelling and creating the website. I think that's where we learned the most. We could see what was doing well and took the opportunity to build on that.

We often say to each other that we don't take a step back enough and appreciate how far we've come. We actually miss back in the day when we were packing rooms ourselves and sending the orders to customers.

Free NewsletterVISIT