Tell us about your background and what bought you to London?
I’m originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a small town community in the heart of Amish country in America. I lived in New York City for 12 years before moving to London with my job and my husband’s job in 1999. We were both bankers and there was a lot of movement between New York and London. I left banking when my third child was born and after my fourth was born, went back to work in the non-profit sector, fundraising and serving as a trustee for various charities.
When my youngest daughter went off to boarding school, I decided to return to paid work and considered returning to the City. However a couple of afternoons in an airless conference room in Canary Wharf convinced me it was time to build something of my own and be my own boss. And Initially London was the result.
What inspired you to start Initially London?
While on holiday in Florida, a Mark & Graham catalogue came through the door and a lightbulb came on… that American subsidiary of West Elm sells a full range of monogrammed gifts that I was often purchasing and shipping to the UK. I had looked for American-style monogramming here and couldn’t find it so I decided to set up a monogramming business myself.
What is it about monograms that you love?
I wore monogrammed cardigans and carried monogrammed Bermuda bags as a teenager in America, then as an adult furnished almost every room in my home in monogrammed linens, pillows, bags and more. When I moved to London from New York, I couldn't believe there wasn't a monogramming shop in London where I could browse the latest font styles and buy monogrammed gifts.
So I started Initially London, inspired not just by my American obsession but also by the historic tradition of monogramming in England and throughout Europe. Not a day goes by when I don't spy a great monogram on the streets of London. How exciting to marry American-style monogramming with the traditional roots of the craft here in the UK.
Initially London, originally homed in my basement in Chelsea, is now based in a busy studio in Parsons Green, Fulham with a team of skilled creatives who design, etch and embroider, making each order as it arrives, completely bespoke.