From one girl boss to another meet Polly McMaster, founder of The Fold – the go-to womenswear brand for contemporary, professional women. Working in the food industry means I don’t often get the chance or have the need to dress up but when I do, I want to make sure I’m feeling my absolute best. One brand leading the charge for stylish, contemporary designs that’ll comfortably take you from boardroom to bar is British label The Fold. Their chic form-fitting range is designed with real women in mind; girl bosses, entrepreneurs, female founders – they’ve got us all covered. I spoke to founder Polly about ambitious women and savvy business advice.
What was your initial inspiration to start The Fold?
I needed to look smart for work and really struggled to find anything stylish and contemporary to wear that helped to give me the right level of confidence. I loved fashion and thought this was crazy – I genuinely believed someone needed to provide a better choice for working women, and so the idea for The Fold was born…
Describe The Fold woman and her attitude to work and fashion…
The Fold woman is all about confidence, she is super accomplished in her daily life and is juggling a million things. Her clothes reflect her ambitions and while she is high flying, she also has her feet planted firmly on the ground.
Your background is in consulting and finance, where do you find inspiration for new designs?
We have a hugely creative, experienced in-house design team. We bring two worlds together – a creative vision with inspirations from architecture, exhibitions, iconic design, and historical references with empowered women in their daily environment and what they need and love.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since starting The Fold?
I learned pretty quickly that it takes a boat load of resilience to start a business – nothing comes easily and you have to build everything from the ground up. The first years were the hardest when you are trying to achieve your vision with vastly limited resources – so you have to be creative, passionate, motivated and pick yourself up and keep on going!
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business?
Building our team has been incredible – I’m humbled that so many talented, inspiring people are excited to show up to work everyday and bring a huge amount of passion and energy to a job that asks them to go above and beyond. Also our customers – our Fold Women are an incredibly accomplished, inspiring group – it’s so rewarding that they wear The Fold to kick-ass everyday!
From one girl boss to another, what advice would you give to other women wanting to start their own business?
If you have absolute passion about your idea go and do it! …But do your homework and go into it with your eyes open.
As a mother, how do you juggle the balance between work and home life?
I feel very fortunate that I get to enjoy being a Mum and also love what I do for work. To make it work I have a recipe of an amazing nanny, a husband who meets me absolutely 50/50 and is 100% supportive of The Fold, and being fully present during my time with Lainey. I really appreciate every minute I have with her, and meanwhile I hope I am setting a strong example for her that you can work hard to achieve your goals and dreams. I’m not saying it’s easy, and you get tired like everyone else trying to juggle lots of things, but I love it.
What are your future goals for The Fold?
We have lots of exciting plans and are growing very fast! Our customer is an international business woman, so one day I hope we will be able to take our brand to Fold Women around the world.
What do you enjoy doing to relax after a stressful day?
I try to get home for bath-time with our little one – there’s nothing like giggles and splashing to make you forget your worries!
Talk us through your day in food: do you have time for breakfast in the morning? What is your favourite meal?
I do always have breakfast but often in the office! I love food that is simple but really tasty from using gorgeous fresh ingredients. Probably my favourite dish is an authentic carbonara with tons of parmesan!
Where are your favourite places to eat out?
On the same theme as above, my favourite meals have been in The River Café, La Petite Maison, and recently overlooking the sushi station at Sosharu – they were literally creating little works of art!
If we came over to The Fold HQ for lunch, what sort of food would you serve?
It would be a huge step up from the minimal offering around Willesden Junction! The team are quite health conscious and we have quite a few vegetarians, so please bring some incredible salads and inspiring creations with unusual vegetables!
Are there any specific ingredients/foods you couldn’t live without?
I lived in Australia as a kid, so Vegemite has always been my comfort food – on hot toast with a ton of butter… It can cure anything.
Lastly, if you could design an empowering outfit for anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would love to have dressed Princess Diana – she was such an icon growing up, and an incredible force for good.