Float Away - a love letter to our team

Float Away - a Parisian love letter to teamwork

By Alice Whiteley

Float Away - a love letter to our team

‘Float Away’ is still one of Yawn's best selling prints. Inspired by the beauty of Paris it features a hidden Eiffel Tower, surely one of the most beautiful buildings on earth.

The story behind the making of this print is from Yawn's earliest days.

It starts in a panic at 3am in London one cold January morning in 2015. Me and my mum are packing up the car and travelling by ferry to Paris. We're about to launch Yawn at the international nightwear trade show and had taken the only stand we could afford - a small one. My co-founders Phil and Roly have figured out a way to make our brand look beautiful. We now need to shove the "props" in the boot and get on the road. My seven year old daughter has helped us with the lavender bag stuffing. 

We got a call on the ferry over from a buyer at Galeries Lafayette - the world famous department store - asking for a meeting. After a terrible night's sleep in our b&b we met their eight-strong team. They oohed and aahed - we were original, different, they loved the pjs and the quirky British stories behind our prints. Incredibly, they wanted to sell Yawn from their iconic flagship Paris store. We were gobsmacked - excited and scared in equal measure.
As part of the negotiations with them they asked for an exclusive print, WAY before we knew how to do such a thing. Our prints take time. We didn't know if we could do it. We agreed anyway and drank Kir Royales in a roadside bar to celebrate.

​We pushed ourselves and over the next month Float Away was born - celebrating our new Parisian relationship. We got everything ready and eventually set up our concession ourselves in their beautiful store in the middle of the night - sandwiched between incredible, world-leading brands. It was sheer madness and exhausting and also the best fun. 

Tragically the Paris attacks happened. Understandably, our launch didn't go the way we had expected and trading was near impossible. We couldn't sustain the concession. One of the lovely retail assistants on the shop floor made us smile saying "you'll be back, one day".  We smiled again when we saw that fellow Brit Stella McCartney was taking our space. 

​Around this time we hired our first employee and started growing our presence. Focused PR efforts resulted in the FT featuring our Float Away pyjamas. Yawn started discovering customers across the world and Float Away remains one of our best selling prints, five years on. We are finding it hard to keep in stock (sorry). 

So overnight success isn't real and neither is the simple Paris story behind this print. As much as anything, Float Away represents the real ups and downs of starting a business. It is a story of hope and taking chances. The important thing is having the courage to grab opportunities (the balloon!) when they come, even when they scare you. You never know where they might lead.

This little story is also a love letter to the kind and talented people who took a leap along the way with Yawn. Our team, partners, friends and family. Without whom Float Away wouldn't have been possible. It comes with huge thanks to all of you. You have made the journey so far possible.​ And (mostly) great fun.

​With love and thanks,
​Alice x

​MD/Founder Yawn

PS In 2021 we have launched some beautiful new styles in our new organic cotton - from cami tops to short sleeved sets and cami nightdresses.