DILLI GREY! Yes, remember that name. It has everything you need for your chic boho home. And when I say everything, I mean pretty much anything you want as Vickie El-Rayyes, founder, sources and makes what your needs require!
Dilli Grey was born last year on a sunny spring morning in Vickie’s back garden.
Vickie’s illustrious career as a fashion buyer, coupled with her inherited wanderlust has taken her all over the world. Magpie like, she has developed a love for the new and unusual, collecting treasures for years and from this, the idea and dream of creating a hub for all things delicious, was born!
Dilli Grey offers a contemporary lifestyle collection of bedding, home-ware, clothing and accessories for women and children. At Dilli Grey only the most talented and skilled artisans are chosen to lovingly create each seasons collection. Below Vickie tells me more about her and her gorgeous brand:
Your background is in buying… what and where?
I have worked as Head of Buying and Buyer for many leading UK high street brands Warehouse, Miss Selfridge, Monsoon and East to name but a few. I also co-founded my own Womenswear fashion label in early 2000 which was my first foray into entrepreneurism (if you don’t count trying to sell home made perfume to my neighbours when I was 10!) As I have always worked for brands my roles have always been deeply product development based and not just selecting and range building – although this is still very much part of my skill base. I have a geeky obsession for fabrics and textiles which stems from my childhood growing up in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia in the early part of my life. We took adventurous holidays and I have early memories of watching batik being made in Bali and trawling through the markets in Hong Kong with my mum picking up vintage embroideries and delicious silks. So the collectors instinct for fabric treasure hunting is practically in my blood. I have bags of fabric swatches, embroideries and meters of fabric which I am constantly rummaging through.
What’s the meaning behind Dilli Grey?
I have been working and travelling to India for almost 20 years and fell in love on my first visit. Dilli is actually a nick name for ‘Delhi’ and ‘Dilli Haat’ is a really fun artisan market which I still visit after all of these years. It constantly changes as artisans rotate to come from all over the country to show case their designs. So I took this part of the name and combined it with Grey, as this is my favourite neutral, to create Dilli Grey. The ethos behind Dilli Grey is much the same as Dilli Haat but with a contemporary westernised spin. Many of my clients and friends tell me that I seem to have captured the best parts of India and given it a contemporary feel which seems somehow more appropriate so that my designs blend into our lives back home.
What made you change from what i presume was a full time buying job to Dilli Grey?
I have always LOVED what I do and feel very privileged to be able to say that although much energy, passion and commitment has taken me to where I am now. I am very driven and seem to have twice as much energy as everyone else I know….. I am headstrong and focused and I think this has helped me as I have always believed that anything is possible.
I have been working as a consultant 4 days a week whilst I have built up the brand as I didn’t want to put too much financial pressure on my business while I was still testing. I have stopped consulting for a while to focus on Dilli Grey. Working for other brands whilst building my own has been brilliant as it keeps my head fresh and being in the same industry keeps me on my toes. It is sometimes tricky when you are running all parts f the business as I have to be the designers and creative and then critique my own work, I argue with myself often and give myself much a hard time but that’s all part of being an entrepreneur I guess. I have some really exciting new developments and expansion ideas on the horizon and am dying to fast forward and share all of my ideas and plans.
Where do you see Dilli Grey in the next year or so?
My ultimate vision is to make Dilli Grey a lifestyle destination, I have plans for a store which will also feature carefully selected UK independent brands to sit alongside Dilli Grey to create a bazaar or emporium feel.
I am expanding on the areas that my clients have shown me that they love and have had many requests to expand on homeware, so for winter look out for hand embroidered velvets and more cushions and throws. I also love accessories so again you will see more of these with the same artisan foundations that you will see if the rest of the collection. For summer I am also expanding the beach range and had some many requests for easy clothing that I am introducing dresses and some tops to compliment the existing hand embroideries, colour is most definitely my thing when it comes to clothing to expect lots of beautiful colour in hand block prints and hand embroideries!
have you thought about making and selling your own products?
90% of the collection is already designed by me and then I stumble across the occasional piece which I will just buy from the artisans directly. This is often how I test new products. Invariably designs have to be changed from their original forms for me to take them to my aesthetic for the UK market.
What publication would you love to be in and why?
This is hard as there are so many magazines and wonderful blogs out there…. As I was brought up in the era of glossy mags I would be honored to feature in the high profile mags such as Vogue, Elle Deco or CN traveller as I am so inspired by travel. I also adore reading the Style magazine every Sunday and have done so for the last 20 years.
What is your best seller?
My hand made quilts remain the hero and the piece I am becoming known fo. I am happy to say that clients keep coming back for more which is always the best compliment.
Clothing and accessories have had an amazing season this summer with hand embroidered kaftans and hand block over size shirts being highlights.
I don’t think I could live without: