By Nancy and Eileen, founders of Cucumber
Why our start-up was a no sweat, no brainer
People often ask us where the idea for Cucumber Clothing was born – well we can categorically state that it was on a holiday with a group of like-minded forty plus-year-old women. All of us full of energy and part of the fabled ‘sandwich’ generation – tending younger kids and older parents, trying to grow professionally, nurturing a relationship, running a house. While we’re at it let’s throw in a dog and a turtle or two for good measure.
Nancy Zeffman (52) and I (Eileen Willett, 53) were lucky enough to spend a week with brilliant sun, white sand and turquoise sea (and a possible cold beverage or two!) and there ensued an inevitable avalanche of conversation.
Talk meandered over and around many topics, but the menopause and how truly life-changing it could be was a constant. We realized the hormonal storm triggered by the menopause meant so many women were struggling to cope with the debilitating effects of interrupted sleep. We pondered why there were no stylish and effective solutions available.
The result, as you may have guessed, was the seed for Cucumber Clothing. Many months of research later, our first collection appeared in September 2017. We were lucky enough to have Lisa Armstrong, Fashion Director of The Daily Telegraph champion us with a big spread two days after our launch.
Since then, with another collection under our belts, a ton of press (The Times, The Daily Mail, The Sun, BBC London Radio and many more) and what felt like the Matterhorn of learning curves, we believe we have created the beginnings of a market that serves all women. For women who get hot, whether hormonal (menopause, pregnancy), those who live or are travelling to a hot climate or simply women who want something super comfortable and stylish to slip on in those off-duty moments. Our range covers lounging around, out for a casual night, away on holiday or, of course, in bed.
We love the fact that we are part of a new movement of women who feel empowered for the first time to talk about what’s happening with their bodies at every age and stage and are willing to do something about it. With Cucumber we want to create a whole community where women can find styles, ideas and inspiration through our clothes, blogs and vlogs.
Our new fall collections will be coming out soon, look out for new colours in our best-selling jersey, and a very gorgeous moisture-wicking cashmere. We hope you’ll join us on our journey.
Here are Cucumber’s top tips on how to help get a better night’s sleep:
1. Make your bedroom a sleep paradise. Keep your bedroom as cool as possible, about 65C. Turn off all lights and get rid of any electronic buzzing or beeping flashing gadgets. Keep it nice and quiet, closing shutters or curtains, and turning off ticking clocks or any other noise-generating items.
2. Eat early. Try to keep your evening meal as early and as light as possible. Avoid bedtime snacks as acid reflux, heartburn or general digestion can interfere with and delay sleep.
3. Relax. Keep to a regular bedtime routine and try to incorporate a relaxation or meditation practice. This can be as simple as having a soothing bath with delicious sleep inducing oils and a cool compress over the eyes, or a few minutes of quiet chanting or calming yoga stretches. Whatever feels good for you.
4. Mum was right, no smoking or drinking. Keep to healthy practices and ditch the tobacco and alcohol where possible. Tobacco, aside from the obvious nasties, has a stimulant effect. Alcohol may initially help you drift off into a light sleep, but it prevents the body from going into the necessary deep stages of restorative sleep.
5. Cucumber. Keep sweat away from your body. This can be as basic as throwing off the bed sheets, but we recommend wearing Cucumber’s moisture-wicking nightwear. These won’t stop the hot flushes but will wick any sweat up and away from the body at speed, killing off any odour-creating bacteria at the same time. No more pools of sweat or soaking sheets. They are wash and wear. Just hang to dry (very quick – thanks to its moisture-wicking properties). No iron, no fuss.