When we arrive at Nicola Eyres’ bright and airy South East London home, her second youngest, Cassius, is staring wide-eyed at the original Power Rangers series, turning away only to remark on the lycra-clad quintet’s super abilities. Interested though we are, it’s Cassius’ superhero mum we’ve come to meet today. Having founded ultra-cool kids’ concept store Cissy Wears back in 2002, the mother of four now balances the demands of the ever-growing business (and Instagram following) with exclusive-to Liberty clothing label, Activist by Cissy Wears. Here we find out how she does it…
How did Cissy Wears come into fruition? I left the music business after over a decade because the lifestyle wasn't really conducive to having kids. Kids’ fashion was something I had fallen in love with since having children and it seemed a natural progression to take my passion and marketing expertise into my own business.
What were the challenges of starting up a business? Financial; it takes so much commitment to keep things afloat. It's always been - and continues to be - the hardest part of it all.
You have a huge Instagram following. Why do you think people engage with your brand? I think I've created a brand that is recognisable and very true to itself. I have a very definite concept and ideal that I work to and I think people buy into that. I could definitely be more commercial, but my aesthetic is the most important thing to me.
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"Working for yourself definitely means you can be more flexible but it doesn't stop the long hours or the feelings of mum guilt."
Can you tell us how the Activist by Cissy Wears clothing range came to be? I had begun to notice how much more mothers were engaging in politics as they realise how much things that are happening now will affect our kids - but also how much kids are involved and have opinions too. Cissy inspired me on a trip to a theme park on Election Day when her school was closed, and we were trying to remember where we had parked the car. I said, "D is for...." expecting her to say "daddy" and she yelled "democracy!". By the time we reached the entrance we had written an ABC of activism and it snowballed from there.
How do you juggle a thriving business with family life? Working for yourself definitely means you can be more flexible but it doesn't stop the long hours or the feelings of mum guilt.
How did you find yourself in South East London? We were trying to upsize in Hackney but it had simply become unaffordable for us, so some friends that lived here showed us around and we fell in love with it. It's definitely an up-and-coming area, and after eight years we see so many young families move down here from East London.
What are your go-to spots in the area? The Horniman Museum and Greenwich Park with the kids, Sparrow and the Model Market in Lewisham to eat, Catford Constitutional to drink, Cissy Wears to shop.
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"I'm definitely a home person, I love being at home with my family."
How long have you lived in this house? We moved to this house eight years ago, when my second daughter was just four weeks old. Strangely I don't remember it being stressful at all, I must have been in a newborn haze.
What drew you to it? We moved from a two bedroom flat on a main road in Hackney and were amazed by how much space we could get in South East London and still walk away with change in our pocket. The house had recently been renovated by the previous owners so in that sense there wasn't a lot of work to do on it, which would have been difficult with a young baby
Do you spend much team here? I'm definitely a home person, I love being at home with my family.
Which room is your favourite? My favourite room is baby Nico's nursery, I love the calm serenity of the wall colour, gentle lighting and wooden features.
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"My husband and I are fans of modern architecture, so although our house is a traditional London Victorian terrace, our interior is reminiscent of the mid-century aesthetic we love."
What’s your weekday routine? Get up about 6.30am, check emails/social media for any impending disaster, drop the kids at school/childcare for 8.45am, drink coffee, work until 11.30am then pick my son up from nursery, head back to the shop to continue work until 3pm, pick the kids up from school, pick the baby up from childcare, get home, cook tea, help with homework, break up arguments, run baths, get the children into bed, cook dinner, sink on the sofa, get the laptop out and continue work until about 11pm.
"I seek inspiration in everything but continue to find Instagram my biggest source of inspiration."
And on the weekends? Pretty much the same but with the school runs exchanged for sports club runs, as I have to work in the shop on Saturday. Sundays we try to do something as a family, or catch up on house stuff.
How do you unwind? I try to take time alone because it doesn't happen very often.
What inspires you? I seek inspiration in everything but continue to find Instagram my biggest source of inspiration.