Annie Taylor Laxa is our brilliant small business member of the month for April! We chatted bomber jackets that turn into capes, festivals and the hilarious ‘Doing it of the kids’ podcast. After time with Annie I just wanted to get a rainbow fur bomber jacket on and go raving! We love what you do Annie – keep Raising Ravers.
Why did you start your small business?
My background is in fashion and costume. I always dreamed of having my own clothing brand, but it wasn’t until the birth of my daughter, in June 2017, that things started to take shape. I found it hard to find gender-neutral clothes for her that weren’t in dull colours or just a bit plain, so I started making them for her myself.
Fast-forward to a family trip to Lovebox festival. In a moment dancing with my partner, our daughter, my mum and siblings, I thought, “Wow – I’m raising a raver!” Just as my mum had done with me, making us three generations of ravers! That light bulb moment, plus a little refining, meant that my small business Raising Ravers was born.
Tell us about your background before Raising Ravers
I’ve had quite the colourful career before starting my own brand having worked for Heather Mills, Elizabeth Emmanual, Strictly Come Dancing and even Playboy making and fitting the iconic Bunny costumes for their Park Lane casino. My favourite job was as a studio manager for a contemporary London fashion brand that was stocked in Harrods. I credit this role for allowing me to hone so many skills that I’ve brought into running my own small business.
What’s your best-selling product, and why do you think it’s so popular?
I really only make two signature products, Bomber Jackets and Rave Pants. They of course come in an epic selection of colours and prints, often using deadstock fabrics meaning they are naturally small batch, limited edition. So choosing a best seller is tricky. However I believe it’s the clever design features and quality construction that make my products popular.
The kids are drawn to the colours and they love the internal backpack straps on the bomber jackets that turn it into a cape! The adults love that my products are ‘designed to fit twice as long as highstreet’, which extends the life-cycle of each garment. Our premium quality garments ensure a culture of passing them on. An investment piece that can be enjoyed again and again by new families.
What’s the nicest thing a customer has said about your small business?
“This kid has been a bit worried about being himself recently. Seeing him in this jacket is EVERYTHING. Thank you so much.”
This is a message from a parent who I met trading at a festival. Her lovely son bought one of my rainbow fur bomber jackets with his own pocket money that he had saved up. My heart melted, but to get this message along with an epic photo had me in tears.
The kid had been having a rough time at school for loving rainbows and colour and had started wearing camo and dull colours to try and fit in and not be bullied. Raising Ravers clothing is never gendered. I believe if you love something and it makes you feel good then wear it! Receiving this message really moved me and gave me so much pride in what I do. I’ll never forget it.
What does the rest of 2023 look like for you and your small business?
Festival Season! This is my favourite time of the year getting out into those glorious fields and meeting our community of ravers in real life. I am delighted to be trading at Stowaway, Shambala and Camp Bestival as well as some smaller day festivals and community events.
We have so much fun at the stall getting the kids trying on outfits and taking lots of pictures. If you spot me and my family at an event do come and say hi, we love meeting our rave crew.
As recommended by Raising Ravers
I have to give a massive shout out to the Doing It For The Kids podcast. It’s all about the juggle of freelance life with kids in the mix. It offers super interesting perspectives on work in a light hearted way and it’s laugh out loud funny. I’ve totally scared people snorting in the supermarket que.
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz is the book I wish I had read at the very beginning of my business journey. It has been such a game changer for me in adjusting my mindset around money.
It’s probably not the most “business” relevant event for most people but going to gigs and festivals is what inspires me and fills me up with energy and joy. The music, the people, and the fashions are always super special. I think it’s so important being self-employed to do things that restore you as a person so you can bring that energy and creativity to your work!
If you enjoyed the blog post take a look at out February small business member of the month interview!