I guess we’re all in some way surviving society, so when I came across this brand, I was instantly drawn to their positive motto and inspiring clothing. I’ve recently become a huge fan of printed tees and knowing this brand is from a fellow mum who has suffered with depression makes it even more appealing. I love the positive message the brand portrays and I was so excited to be able to find out more about the brains behind the business. Interested? Keep on reading…
Meet Katie, the eco-warrior, mumpreneur and sepsis survivor behind the clothing brand, Surviving Society.
Have you found adjusting to motherhood difficult? | Yes, I spent seven years of my working life in education and childcare, looking after and teaching other people’s children, so I did know it would be tricky. However, nothing prepared me for the sleep deprivation and the affect motherhood would have on my mood. I was depressed for the first six months and absolutely hated my new role.
It was extremely difficult in the beginning, because only eight days after giving birth, I was readmitted to hospital with sepsis, something which had gone unnoticed by my community midwives. I had emergency surgery which made me really unwell and took months to recover from. I was in a lot of pain post-surgery, so taking care of a newborn and myself was hard work. If this wasn’t enough, I was also diagnosed with mastitis at the same time as sepsis, so I was on a lot of medication making me unable to breastfeed which made my depression worse.
Not only was all of this making motherhood extremely difficult, but five months in, my husband had a near-fatal biking accident during a BMX training session. He was cycling semi-professional at the time and so that had a terrible knock-on affect with my parenting. But nearly two years on from having my daughter, I can happily say that I love motherhood and the journey I have been on, even the bad bits because they’ve made me stronger than ever.
What made you want to set up your own business? | I saw other mums running their own businesses and after years of career changes, I was in a bit of a lill with work. I stumbled across one particular mumpreneur and thought, “if she can do it, then so can I.” I’ve always been creative, but never had the confidence to follow that passion, other than when I pursued a career in education.
What’s the reasoning behind the name? | I decided to call my business Surviving Society because I felt it reflected me and my personality. It also represents a general topic that we all have in common and I really wanted my brand to be relatable. Due to the fact I am a sepsis and depression survivor, I thought the name seemed apt.
How do you decide what will be printed on your tees? | I look at what is trending and working on retail and that has helped narrow down my choices. I find brainstorming and producing lots of sketches of possible designs helps me to focus on what will work and what won’t. I also try to put myself in the customer’s shoes and ask myself, “would I buy that? Why would I buy it? What makes it valuable and appealing?” Carrying out market research has also helped inform my decisions on many of my designs.
Can you tell us a bit more about the issues you hope to bring awareness to and why you choose to focus on these? | As I previously mentioned, I am a sepsis and depression survivor and although the latter comes back to me in lapses, I am working on overcoming it. I’m not sure it will ever go entirely, but it is still a taboo subject and I want my brand to represent all individuals going through a personal problem like this, and encourage them to feel empowered so they have the strength to talk about it if necessary to seek help too.
Sepsis awareness is important to me because I nearly died from it and I don’t like to think to think about how my husband nearly became a widow and our child motherless. At the time, I was told I just had flu despite my best efforts to get examined, which never happened. I can only thank my husband and family for helping me and calling an ambulance – if they hadn’t, I might not be here doing what I am doing.
Was being eco-friendly something which was important to you? | Yes, it was very important. It stems from my upbringing, both my parents are pro-sustainability and helping the environment in any way possible. I love nature and our planet is too precious to let it be further destroyed by our recklessness.
Which item is your favourite and why? | My favourite product would have to be the Fierce Mini Tiger kids T-shirt, simply because it has had the most compliments from parents of both genders. I created it to be unisex and empowering, the same as the Surviving Society adult t-shirts. It makes me immensely proud when I receive positive and constructive feedback – it’s a good indication I must be doing something right to receive such high praise.
Is there a reasoning behind your colour choice for your items? | I wanted my products to be simple and to provide a clear and bold message to the world. I’m not a fan of over-crowded designs – it becomes an overstimulation and confusing. Even my logo is minimal. Again, I wanted my designs to reflect me and my style, as well as the brand as a whole.
What’s next for your business? | I want to expand my product range and add more sizes for the kid’s tees. I will also be looking at sourcing a new supplier for these to ensure they are organic like the adult ones. For the time being, they are made from ordinary cotton, but I would prefer them to be organic and ethical to make my brand eco-friendly across the full product range.
For more information and to shop the fabulous product range, head to survivingsociety.bigcartel.com