Molly and Harriet Freshwater chat to us about secret linen store
With access to the outside world limited in recent years (thanks, covid), many have turned their attention to making their homes a bit cosier. That’s good news The Secret Linen Store, an ecommerce destination that specialises in fine bedding. Neverbland Caught up with co-founder Molly Freshwater to hear about the company’s strong moral fibre.
Neverbland: What is the Secret Linen Store? And is it actually a secret?
Molly Freshwater: Ha! Well, we’re a secret you can share. And it’s much less of one now. We’ve grown a lot in the last two years, going from twelve people to thirty in the team. But the Secret Linen Store is an online linen brand, we sell everything you need for a cosy home. That’s bed linen, duvets, pillows and now nightwear. Curtains and towels too.
NB: What gave you the idea?
MF: I always wanted to be a fashion designer, but making clothes is a fiddly business. I’m better at squares and rectangles, so that’s what I worked on perfecting. Then I started my own business supplying bed linen to high street retailers. After that, my sister Harriet and I partnered up and created the company in 2013.
NB: Family businesses can be tricky (sometimes). How do you find it?
MF: The thing about working with your sister is that, while there are lively exchanges of views sometimes, there’s no quiet stewing or long-running grievances. For us, it’s very honest, immediate and it’s pretty simple this way.
NB: Do you have different skills?
MF: Absolutely. Harriet and I are number one and three in a line of four sisters. And we’re all extremely different. I’m creative and like to think about today rather than tomorrow. Harriet is really strategic, good at spreadsheets, planning, targets. Having our own strengths means we’re never trying to compete with each other. If it wasn’t for her, I’d have loads of bed linen and no idea what to do with it.
NB: How do you make linen more sustainable?
MF: The only way is to look at absolutely everything you do. Growing, transportation, spinning, weaving, everything. In terms of sustainability from the grass roots, we are looking at fibres that are more sustainable. Linen for instance is more sustainable than cotton. It uses less water to grow. We’ve just introduced a hemp product which uses even less.
NB: Sounds intensive.
MF: It is – and it has to be. Next year we are due to start our B Corporation application, which will mean an even deeper enquiry into how we work. It’s exciting, but once you’ve overcome one issue, you discover another thing you can improve.
NB: How’s that?
MF: One thing is working with the Better Cotton Initiative, which helps brands like us contribute to better means of producing materials. Communities who rely on cotton production get a better deal and it propagates better environmental practices. This way we’re investing in farmers, good supply chain practices and ethical sources.
NB: What’s the hardest part of your job?
MF: The hardest bit is letting go and maintaining everything that’s in my mind. We’ve grown fast, but invested heavily in HR which we think is really important.
NB: What’s the best bit?
MF: Getting into bed is one of life’s fine pleasures, the day is done, the phone is off. People give us lovely reviews saying that our products make them look forward to the end of the day.