Sibling Special: Interview with Olivia and Alice of Amelia Jane

by Catriona Beck

You will have definitely seen the biggest trend of last winter, the fur pom pom bobble hat, worn by the likes of Kendall Jenner and the Hadid sisters. Want to meet the creators of this fun must-have accessory? You’re in the right place!

Olivia and Alice Minns are two sisters who always knew that they wanted to work together. With a love of fashion, but no background in it, they created Amelia Jane by basing it on what they love to wear. It all started with a simple bobble hat. Now, their brand is reaching mega-stars.

The girls have a special sisterly bond, which most definitely helps them in their success. Find out more about their reaction to Kendall Jenner wearing their brand, what they love most about one another and what they got up to at London Fashion Week this year…

“We always thought we would do something together. We spend a lot of time with one another, so it was just the most natural thing to do.”

Taylor Magazine: How did you get the business idea for Amelia Jane?

Olivia: We really wanted to do something together – something that was a bit creative, girly and fashionable rather than something corporate. I had already worked in corporate jobs before – it wasn’t really my thing and I felt a bit stifled by the whole it.  

We were both really interested in fashion, although neither of us had come from a fashion background. We would always be looking at outfits and bloggers so naturally, because we liked that side of things, we thought ‘oh, we could do a fashion brand!’

We then started to sell some gilets at our local fair and our Mum pointed out that not everyone would buy something at that particular price point. So, that’s where the bobble hats with the fur pom poms came from. We had no idea whether people would think they were completely ridiculous or love them! We put them on our personal Facebook page, we didn’t have a website or anything at that point, and loads of our Facebook friends were like ‘can I have one!’

After that, we set up a business Facebook page and that’s when everything started to get bigger – it spiralled from the hats really!

Taylor Magazine: Why did you want to do something as sisters?

Alice: We are definitely really close, but we also have a large age gap so that’s what works well with us. We’re not too close in age where we argue a lot, but instead we get on so well. We have always got on well – I think we always thought we would do something together. We spend a lot of time with one another, so it was just the most natural thing to do.

Olivia: In a way, we are really similar and we have the same ideas for the company. We always know what the other one is thinking but at the same time, we have different qualities that balance us out together.

Photo Credit | Morgane Lay

Taylor Magazine: Do you think the age gap helps?

Olivia & Alice: Definitely!

Taylor Magazine: What would you say is your biggest success to date within the company?

Alice: Wearing wise, Kendall Jenner and the Hadids have worn our brand, which is obviously quite big for a small company! In the sense of doing things, going to fashion week was amazing. It was the first time we got invited to showcase our stuff at a pop-up shop – it was so exciting!

Olivia: Yeah, that was so cool! We could not believe when we got the email that it was for a pop-up! It was just us two and some hats initially, but by that point we had built it up into a brand so the fact that someone had recognised that was really great.

Taylor Magazine: What was your reaction when you saw Kendall Jenner and the Hadids wearing Amelia Jane?

Olivia & Alice: We were literally jumping around!

Alice: I spotted Kendall Jenner first – I just ran up to Liv screaming. She was like: ‘What’s wrong, is something wrong?!’ I just replied ‘it’s a good scream, Kendall Jenner is wearing out stuff!’ We all just panicked, but in a good way. One of the girls that works for us actually cried!

Taylor Magazine: That is amazing to have names like Kendall Jenner and the Hadids wearing your brand. It’s such an achievement!

Olivia: Yeah, the PR side of things can be really fun!

Taylor Magazine: What is your favourite part about running a business together?

Olivia: Running a business together is generally quite low-key and fun. Our office is right next to our house, so there isn’t that pressure of going to work and working for someone else. Working for yourself, as long as you put in hard work, is so rewarding.

Alice: In terms of working together, if you work with people that aren’t family, you have to be the best version of yourself all of the time. Whereas when you’re working with your sister or a family member, one of us will just sit there in silence if we want to – we don’t need to put on a show.

Olivia: We also do lots of events together so we always say having each other there gives us both more confidence. We always go as a two – we do it together. If you’re meeting new people all the time and networking, you’ve always got the other person there with you, which is really nice.

Photo Credit | Morgane Lay

Taylor Magazine: It must make it a lot easier! What was your highlight of London Fashion Week this year?

Alice: We did a Style Suite event at the Sanderson Hotel this year alongside some other brands. It was basically where bloggers and celebrities would pop in and pick a few things they wanted to borrow and have things gifted to them so they could wear it throughout fashion week. We went to some shows and things but it was really great to have our own presence there too.

Taylor Magazine: Your brand is so recognisable – there was definitely a gap in the market for it!

Olivia: Yeah, it’s meant to be fun and quirky. With the striped Mongolian lambswool scarves, people love them particularly if they want to add a bit of a statement to their outfit. You could wear all black and one of the scarves – bloggers love to add this element to their outfits especially when it comes to photography, as it’s very eye-catching.

Photo Credit | Morgane Lay

Taylor Magazine: What is next for Amelia Jane?

Olivia: We are releasing a Spring/Summer collection soon, which is really exciting! Following on from that, our Autumn/Winter collection, which should come out in September, will be more outerwear focused.

Alice: We have sooo many ideas, but nothing is quite finalised yet!

Olivia: We are also focusing on the U.S. and Australia because we get quite a few orders on the website from here. It’s going into the Australian winter now too, so we’re speaking to a few different stockists over there. We’re also chatting to stockists in New York and L.A. just to expand our presence really!

“We always say that we’re not sure that we would have been able to do what we have done without Instagram and Facebook. It’s such a huge part of our brand.”

Taylor Magazine: It’s happened so quickly, the fact you’re going into the U.S. and Australian market now already!

Olivia: The power of social media is really where the success lies – all it takes is for people to see something on Instagram and they can easily locate it because of a hashtag. Suddenly, we have lots of different people asking to be stockists. We have got about 200 stockists now – most of them have come from social media.

Taylor Magazine: Instagram, especially in the fashion world, must be your most important tool!

Olivia & Alice: Yeah, it’s pretty key! We always say that we’re not sure that we would have been able to do what we have done without Instagram and Facebook. It’s such a huge part of our brand. 

Olivia: Even though people don’t like to admit that they’re on Facebook all the time, the reality is that lots of people are. We advertise on there and if you see and advertisement pop up, it’s highly likely you will click on it and have a look if you’re interested.

Alice: We definitely see a correlation between putting a product on social media and then that specific colour being the thing that people buy straight away.

Olivia: When we had Kendall Jenner wearing our brand, we were really lucky because the Daily Mail wrote an article on it and then linked it to our website. We got a lot of traffic that day and loads of orders from China!

Photo Credit | Morgane Lay

Taylor Magazine: What is your favourite thing that you have designed from your brand?

Alice: To be honest, we’re proud of everything! Because we don’t have a background in fashion, we’ve simply made stuff that we would like to wear. We just think well if we like wearing it, we’re just the average girl, so other people will too!

Olivia: This year, the double pom pom hat was probably my favourite. The single pom pom hat was so popular, we weren’t sure how this one would go down but the popularity of the double pom pom overtook the single one! It was a bit of a gamble, so we were really happy with that.

Taylor Magazine: For a bit of fun now…describe each other in three words.

Alice: Olivia is creative, generous and mad. Mad is a good thing, but she is definitely mad!

Olivia: Alice is determined, wise (wise beyond her years – she came straight to Amelia Jane after graduating university) and fun. Whenever we do something together, it’s always double the fun! We always have a laugh.

Check out the girls’ designs by visiting their website, Amelia Jane or their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

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