Q & A with Michelle O'Neill of Angel Cashmere
Angel Cashmere sell unique baby gifts that every mum needs. The baby blankets are a popular item from their range,
Why did you decide to start Angel Cashmere?
I decided to try working for myself whilst on maternity leave, after first baby Harry. The idea of working long hours for someone else no longer appealed and I loved the idea of working within the baby product industry. After a conversation with my brother, Jamie, about my unsuccessful search for a contemporary cashmere baby blanket, we spotted a gap in the market and decided we could bring to market an original, stylish product. Jamie studied textiles and was working in the Scottish cashmere industry.
Where are you based?
Singapore, I followed my husband when he was relocated with work. Jamie has relocated to Beijing and continues to work in the cashmere industry. I manage Angel Cashmere from Singapore. We have a friend based in the UK who holds our stock and ships orders on our behalf.
Where do your ideas come from for your ranges? what inspires?
One of the most important factors initially was finding the right colours. We love the deep raspberry, aqua and chocolate colours we settled on for our bubble design blanket. Our bubble blanket is quite a retro design, I liked that at the time and wanted it to have that feel, bring a modern edge too
The cashmere stripe design using lighter shades of the bubble design is for those looking for a more traditional design. We have fantastic new designs we’re working on at the moment, completely different to the bubble and stripe, very modern. I don’t want to give too much away, look out for them at the end of the year.
You are both from Scotland, is there a Scottish influence in your work?
Our first designs weren't influenced by Scotland, the fact we started with the fabric cashmere definitely was. Growing up in Scotland we were surrounded by the cashmere industry and with Jamie’s background it seemed the obvious starting point. We have discussed introducing a Scottish element to our future designs, of course it will be in a contemporary manner to fit in with our current product ranges, wait and see!
Our first blanket, the bubble design. Not just the design, also that it's two blankets hand stitched together, really cosy. My daughter has one she has used for two years, it's aged so well and gets softer every time we wash it, she loves it.
Where do you source your gorgeous fabrics from?
The finest cashmere comes form the goats that graze in Inner Mongolia and China. Their exposure to the most extreme climate results in the softest white cashmere. With Jamie in Beijing he can ensure we buy only the very best, softest white cashmere fibre, directly from the source. He manages the production from start to finish resulting in the excellent high quality blankets we have.
Are the toys a recent addition to the Angel Cashmere brand? Are you planning to diversify further?
Yes they are. We wanted to introduce a few lower priced, high quality, products so our customers, if they wish, can purchase a toy to go with a blanket, or buy only toys if they choose. They’re really popular. This week we introduced some gorgeous, very cute, fair trade and organic toys. I'd also like to introduce a small range of clothes, look for these arriving soon too.
Who is the Angel Cashmere customer?
Angel customers are looking for that special baby gift for a dear friend or family member. They’re willing to spend a little more, they know we put a lot of care into every order and it will arrive beautifully gift wrapped. Also new modern mums who want and are able to afford a gorgeous cashmere blanket for their precious new baby. The small investment is for life, the blankets are a special keep sake for the baby as they grow up, our customers understand this.
What are you working on at the moment?
Looking at new textiles, camels and bamboos. They’re lovely fabrics, with a really soft hand touch, we know we can produce quality products at very reasonable costs. We have two new blanket designs in the pipeline using these.
Why did you decide to join FiveGoMad?
The website is very appealing and the products to be sold through the website are fantastic. I’m often approached to sell my products through various sites, but unless I imagine shopping on the site myself I decline, I will definitely use FiveGoMad for my own shopping. I could imagine Angel Cashmere customers would shop there too.
What do you like to do when you aren't working?
Travel, South East Asia is a fantastic base from which to explore. We’re making the most of free time we get here. It's changed slightly now, traveling with two kids, no backpacking, it's slightly more sophisticated. I'm growing to like that more.
What's next up for Angel Cashmere?
We’re very excited about introducing new products towards the end of the year, so keep watching!
By Liz Appleby