Former St John’s School student Polly Zundel has launched her own children’s clothing business, calling it after her childhood nickname Polly Ollie Annie.
The 20-year-old, who lives in Burbage, said: “When all my friends went to university, I stayed at home and set up my own company.”
Miss Zundel hopes that one day her own distinctive brand label and her online shop pollyollieannie.com will become as famous as Boden, Armani Junior or Boss Kids.
She launched her company officially last week at Cheltenham Fashion Week where she took along some of the children’s clothes she makes from vintage fabrics.
Miss Zundel said: “I didn’t sell much, but it was great to get my name known.”
Her family has lived in Burbage for ten years and Miss Zundel went to Stonar School, near Melksham, before attending St John’s, Marlborough, to do her A-levels.
All along, she said, she intended to launch her own vintage-inspired children’s clothing business rather than head off to college like most of her school friends.
Her A-levels included textiles and, she said, she had grown up doing a lot of sewing inspired by her mother and grandmother.
“I had an interest in fashion in clothes for as far back as I can remember,” she said.
“My mum was always sewing and I used to help her.
“My granny was an amazing knitter and I was able to learn so much from her.”
Her A-level textile course at St John’s included pattern cutting, so she is able to cut patterns for her own clothes designs.
Miss Zundel said: “I also take a lot of inspiration from the clothes you see in Lady-bird books and old photos.”
While Polly Ollie Annie specialises in retro-style for kidswear, Miss Zundel’s workshop in the converted attic of her home is full of genuine vintage fabrics including lace she has bought at antiques sales.
Some of her collection of lace was made by her grandmother and Miss Zundel inherited it when she died, but she said she treasures it too much to use but likes to look at and handle it for inspiration.
She said: “It’s almost a dying art and it would have been so nice if my grandmother was still here because she would have loved what I am doing.”
Miss Zundel makes all the Polly Ollie Annie sewn items herself but she employed a team of local knitters to make the woollen items.