Woolly and wonderful - Tom Lane
Behind the brand
When Jayne Ireland's university tutor set her the task of writing a business plan as part of her final year coursework, little did anyone know that the result would be a brand revelling in producing luxurious British made lifestyle essentials. Tom Lane, the brand created by Jayne for that course module and named after the road leading to her family farm and business HQ, has cornered the market in timelessly stylish yet comfortable knitwear, socks and throws.
Designed in the pared-back, modern palette that works so well for both town and country lifestyles, the pieces are demonstrably superb quality (and oh so soft...) - perfect in a world of throwaway fashion and bright colours.
Jayne has been determined from the outset to keep all production for the brand within the UK, which, alongside the obvious benefits to the wider UK economy, ensures the entire journey of each product can be traced.This is something we as consumers are increasingly interested in, whether the journey involves where our milk comes from or where our clothes are made. The ability to build relationships with all her suppliers through regular factory visits also enables Jayne to ensure the quality is kept high.
As part of our ongoing series celebrating female entrepreneurship in British business, we took the opportunity to ask Jayne what the best and worst bits of running Tom Lane were. As with other female business owners we've spoken to, the ability to be her own boss and integrate the business more flexibly into her own lifestyle are the most positive aspects for Jayne. On the other hand, running Tom Lane single handed means that it's hard to ever step away from the business, though Jayne's network of family and friends help out whenever they can during busy periods.
Before we dive into our top picks from the current collection, what can we look forward to from Tom Lane in the next few months?
The lambswool jumpers have proves such a success this season that we can expect these to stay at the core of the collection, while Jayne is also keen to mention the expanded range of shooting socks that will be launched just in time for 'The Glorious 12th' and which build on those offered in previous collections. There are some bold designs Jayne is excited to launch that have come about as the direct result of female customer feedback on the back of the explosive (pun absolutely intended) growth of the ladies shooting scene in recent years.
Our top picks from the current collection
But for now, let's look at the best products (in our view) from the current collection...
(click on each photo to take you straight to the right page of Tom Lane's website)
Blue lambswool crew neck jumper
We've often noticed that the simplest, most elegant designs are the hardest to find, so were were delighted to see the perfect crew neck woollen jumper among the Tom Lane range. This shade of pale blue is just right for both winter and summer wear and we can't imagine ever wanting to take this off!
Blue alpaca bed socks
We couldn't talk about Tom Lane without mentioning their lovely soft alpaca lounge socks, shown here in a pretty soft blue (though lots of other colour options are available!). Gorgeously soft and yet far more durable than their cashmere cousins, we think everyone needs at least one pair! Due to the antibacterial properties of alpaca wool, these socks don't need to be washed as often as those made from other wools, which also helps to extend the wearable life of the socks - a win-win situation if ever there was one.
Duck egg blue herringbone throw
In this changeable father we like to call the British climate, it's always good to have a cosy throw on hand for the days when the sun doesn't shine, and we can't think of a better one than this gorgeous duck egg blue herringbone throw. Simple yet with the herringbone design that holds your attention, this deliciously soft throw is perfect for both town and country sitting rooms, or even as a picnic rug for those rare but halcyon summer days.