Hi, I’m Johanna Kociejowski and along with my business partner, Edwina Gieve, I run the vintage-inspired maternity wear company, Clary & Peg.
I live in Nunhead with my husband Pete and two children – Phoebe (4) and Felix (2). I was born and raised in West London and after graduation lived in Camberwell and then Hackney (where both my children were born), before moving back to South East London two years ago.
We set up Clary & Peg about two and half years ago. Our site went live the day after Eddie’s second son was born and a month before my second child was born. It’s been a busy time and a steep learning curve! We set up Clary & Peg as we saw a gap in the market for stylish and unique maternity wear; offering something other than the standard wrap dress. We both also love wearing vintage clothing and admired our mothers’ pregnancy style– classic smocks and dungarees. Clary & Peg is named after two strong and inspirational women in our lives – Clary is Eddie’s mum’s childhood nickname and Peg is after my grandmother, Peggy.
All our clothes can be worn long after pregnancy and a lot of women who buy our clothes aren’t pregnant. We also have a line of vintage fabric baby bloomers that make excellent gifts. We manufacture everything in London and work with a pattern cutter here in South East London.
How do balance motherhood with running your business?
I won’t be alone in saying it’s not easy balancing the needs of children with running a business, but we’ve grown Clary & Peg gradually – adding to our core collection every season – which enables us to keep things manageable. Things are slightly easier now that our eldest two are at school, but our work schedules have to be flexible given how often children under five seem to get ill! Both Eddie and I spend quite a lot of time working in the evenings and I know I’m definitely guilty of spending too much time looking at my phone/ computer on the days I’m at home with my children. It’s hard to switch off when you have your own business. I’d recommend keeping a notebook by your bed for those times you wake in the middle of the night with a moment of sudden inspiration.
What do love about living in SE London and being a mother here?
I absolutely love South East London. I know everyone says this, but the parks really are fantastic. We live at the bottom of One Tree Hill and I feel so lucky to have access to this special little woodland and what a view! I don’t go to as many groups as I used to when Phoebe was little, but Felix and I love The Little Explorers Group at Frendsbury Gardens and Music with Margaret at The Ivy House. We also spend too much time standing on the bridge over the tracks in Brockley watching the trains go past. It’s right by Chelwood Nursery which has also been one of the best things about living in south London so far…