Lifestyle feature: Sisters share their linen secret for a good night’s sleep

Molly Freshwater and Harriet Meers, founders of the Secret Linen Company Picture by Kate Shemilt C140560-4
Molly Freshwater and Harriet Meers, founders of the Secret Linen Company Picture by Kate Shemilt C140560-4

WE SPEND a third of our lives sleeping so you may as well make yourself comfortable.

And that’s exactly what sisters Harriet Mears and Molly Freshwater aim to do with their new range of bed linens.

The pair started The Secret Linen Store from the sleepy countryside at Church Norton, and have come up with a unique and versatile range of bedlinen to insert some fun and colour into your bedroom.

With classic white and duck egg sheets to striking coral and blue sets, there is something for everyone.

And all the sets are made from 100 per cent quality cotton with a choice of three finishes to ensure you find the perfect match.

Nostalgic

The luxury linen firm was set up just a year ago, from a barn in Church Norton, by two sisters who are going back to their roots.

Harriet, 32 and Molly, 39, are two of four sisters who grew up in Selsey.

They flew the nest to forge careers in retail – one in design and one in marketing – but they have come back home to start a new chapter in their lives.

The pair set-up The Secret Linen Store, an online luxury bed linen website, and things are already going from strength to strength.

The company headquarters is set in Church Norton, somewhere the sisters remember well from their childhood.

“It is quite nostalgic for us being back here,” said Harriet. “It is a really peaceful place to be.”

Which suits The Secret Linen Store perfectly.

Unique

The ethos behind the brand is to find comfortable but unique bed linen made from the very best materials, but also to have something to suit everyone.

Not an easy task.

But one way the sisters help customers to find their perfect set is to send out free swatches by post.

Anyone can request a pack of swatches so customers can pick the patterns, colours and material which suits them best.

They pick the patterns carefully, and let their customers do the same.

There are even three different kinds of finishes on the linen, so it is a chance for customers to really find the perfect match.

“That was really important to us, that it is an experience for our customers,” said Molly.

“We want them to feel good about going to bed and to sleep.”

Experience

It is no surprise things have taken off quickly for the pair, as both have enjoyed careers in retail, and decided to bring their expertise together to set up The Secret Linen Store.

“I have always worked in retail and did my degree in textile design,” said Molly. “I’ve worked for various retailers, designing and sourcing bed linen.

“Harriet has been in marketing in bedroom retail as well.

“We decided to work together two years ago, it was just finding the right time. We decided on bedlinen as we really have the expertise.

“Harriet knows how to sell it and I know how to make it.”

Links the pair have made in the past have stood them in good stead. Molly had forged a good relationship with a factory in Portugal, which now weaves all of their designs.

But most importantly for the pair, they design everything themselves, from classic white sets to more colourful and unique designs.

“It is a dream to make our own brand as it’s something you can make decisions on,” said Molly.

“We do our sheets with patterns, which nobody else does,” said Molly. “You can mix and match, that kind of thing.”

“You want to have something for everybody,” said Harriet. “We want everybody to have access to The Secret Linen Store.”

Success

Another plus is not having the expense which comes with a high-street presence.

“The idea of the company was to build it online and sell directly to the customers,” said Molly.

“We are lots cheaper than the high street as we do not have a shop, we don’t have lots of staff,” said Molly. “We’re much cheaper on a comparable product.”

The orders are rolling in, and they’ve had several repeat orders from regular customers, despite only being open for a year.

And Molly said that working with her sister had benefits, too.

“We can fall out with each other and it will be fine the next day and we are really honest with each other.”

But what is the secret to the sisters’ success?

“The secret is that the linen is really amazing quality, but much, much cheaper than the high street,” said Molly.

To get in on the secret, visit www.secretlinenstore.com.