We had the good fortune of connecting with Gudrun Kosloff and Heidi Lieberman of Grey and Ray. We’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gudrun and Heidi, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Gudrun: We started our business out of sheer necessity. Two moms looking to dress their young boys in nice quality clothes without a hefty price tag. After age 5 or so, cool boy clothing options are quite limited and we were frustrated. So we decided to create fun, high quality clothing ourselves.
Heidi: We were not reinventing the wheel, just rethinking it for our boys, Benjamin Grey and Oskar Ray. This is how our west coast inspired brand Grey and Ray was born. As the boys have grown, our business has grown with it.
What should our readers know about your business?
Gudrun: Grey and Ray is a fun collection of kid’s apparel created by a love of surf, skate and California Street style. We started the business in 2017 coming from backgrounds in the entertainment industry. I’m a celebrity makeup artist and Heidi’s a stylist and costume designer. We quickly discovered the apparel business is a totally different beast than the entertainment field, but we took it all in stride as we learned the ins and outs of the fashion world.
Heidi: Grey and Ray is all about a kid’s creativity and personality. Grey and Ray blends the edgy cool of street-style with the fun and whimsy of California living. Grey and Ray’s west coast inspired collection includes distressed t-shirts, sweatshirts and zip up hoodies emblazoned with hip graphic prints made for kids aged 5-10 years old. We founded Grey and Ray because we wanted more options for our boys that weren’t superhero themed or oversized sports gear. When you look around in a kid’s store, 75% or more of the merchandise is for girls, where is all the boy’s clothing? We want to change that model and make it less about gender and more about style and expression. Our clothing is marketed towards boys because that makes us different, but both girls and boys wear our clothing. Ultimately, Grey and Ray hopes to inspire children to be their own “indikidual!”
Gudrun: We have learned a lot along the way. We have learned to trust our own judgement and not overthink when it comes to the design process. We have learned how to not over produce. And in this crazy year we call 2020, we have learned how to count our blessings and take things day by day. The quarantine actually helped our business because people were staying home and shopping. For that we are grateful. We were also one of the first kids lines to produce face masks. Our bolt mask sold out in 24 hours and our graffiti mask was featured in Vogue. With every purchase of a mask, we made a donation to No Kid Hungry, a charity that helps to ensure that all kids are fed during school closures and beyond. Lastly, we are super excited about our new Urban Jungle Collection! Check it out at online at www.greyandray.com
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Heidi: The pandemic has changed the way we travel, eat out and celebrate! Pre pandemic we would start our work mornings off with a tea or coffee. The Jin Tea Shop has amazing organic tea from Taiwan. https://www.jinteashop.com/ Since Gudrun is European, she always finds the best cafes. We love to hit up Republik Coffee Lounge for a great cup of Joe. https://republikcoffee.com/ Relaxing in comfort at home has become the new norm in 2020. I am obsessed with this hammock made from seat belt material called the TING SLING…. https://www.tinglondon.com/ting-sling-home
Gudrun: There are so many awesome road trips around the Los Angeles area. Recently my family headed to Joshua Tree for a family adventure. We stopped off at Joshua Tree National Park. https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm. And rested our heads at 29 Palms Inn made up of cool one of a kind bungalows. https://29palmsinn.com/. We really loved Crossroads Cafe for a yummy start to our days. https://crossroadscafejtree.com/ Birthday celebrations in Heidi’s family always include a meal at the Ivy or Ivy by the Shore to enjoy fried chicken followed by their famous red velvet cake. Delish. http://theivyrestaurants.com/. There are so many awesome things to do and see in LA. We can’t wait until things go back to normal.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We would like to give a shout out to the two boys in our life! They had no idea what they were getting into when we started this line. They were thrown in front of the camera and modeled for us with only a few complaints here and there. They waited patiently for their mothers as we talked shop. They have helped us with design ideas. These two almost ten year olds have been supportive of us as we jump the hurdles of running a small business. Thank you Ben and Oskar.