An exclusive Q&A with President Wendy Estes
Wendy: For the first collection from Layla Grayce, I knew I wanted a place that felt exotic and rich with history, yet family-focused at the same time. Set in the rolling hills of Tuscany in a medieval village, our manufacturer is a family business that’s over 200 years old. Surviving two wars in Italy, their business used to dress Napoléon Soldiers. How amazing is that? They also encapsulate a truly enduring story and entrepreneurial spirit that I truly admire in a company. Along with their ethics, their product is unique with a distinctive look, made on these amazing and rare 100-year-old mechanical shuttle looms to create that one-of-a-kind style without sacrificing quality. Of course, the enchanting picturesque surroundings of the Tuscan countryside romanced me too in the end, and their rich family history assured me that Layla Grayce was partnering with a knowledgeable, sustainable group of people known for their impeccable heirloom-style quality and design. A manufacturer deeply rooted in history and tradition with a knack for timeliness made them the perfect choice for our first collection.
Wendy: I can truly say that the products were designed straight from the heart. Featuring the fine quality our customers expect, each product is created on 100-year-old mechanical shuttle looms that are so rare with only a few left in the world. I love that storytelling element in each and every product – you know you’re receiving a unique design with a story. Each design is crafted with a tight weave, known for the jacquard style of woven goods that meld substantial durability with a softness that feels even more sumptuous to the touch each time they are washed – you’ll have to feel it to believe it! This coupling of strong fiber and weave allows each piece to stand the test of time, while a cotton blend ensures each piece still provides that hint of comfortable luxury.
The Layla rose means so much since I selected it for the company logo. The rose symbolizes home for me and represents the city of Roses in Pasadena, California where I grew up. Located in Pasadena for 10 years, Layla Grayce began near my hometown. Every time I look at the logo, I’m whisked away to visions of the Rose Parade, an event to remember with a colorful five-mile stretch of floats made mostly of roses. We opened an office right around the corner from the parade that attracted over a million people. I also think of the Rose Bowl, a place I frequented with my father as a teenager, jogging with him around the perimeter for our daily runs.
For me, the rose represents family, home, love beauty, friendship, respect, grace, appreciation, humility, and courage, all of which we strive everyday to bring to our daily lives at Layla Grayce.
Wendy: Oh, how can I choose?! I will say that our rose apron, the Layla, becomes dimensional when washed. It “blooms” in this lovely, almost matelassé-like piece. It’s so lovely!
The Francesca hemstitch guest towel is a special piece that complements the Layla apron. When combined, this duo makes a fine Mother’s Day, bridal or bridemaid’s gift. The Francesca is that special piece you drape over the edge of a farmhouse sink or your oven handle when you’re expecting guests that are sure to prompt the “Where did you get that?” question!
The Giovana towel is a utilitarian linen/cotton blend decorated with a vibrant bistro-like stripe that will become your daily dish work-horse. The matching Giovana apron (coming soon!) will complement the hand towel perfectly, featuring a nice wide pocket in front to keep a recipe or cell phone close by.