Jemima and Ali Herbert
Co-Founders, LAY London
Tell us about LAY London.
LAY London is the city’s first tablescape rental service, delivering curated settings to your door. Whether entertaining friends at home or celebrating special occasions, LAY transforms events to make hosting more fun, less hassle.
What was your motivation to start LAY?Living in London, we were struck by the increasing demand for smaller events with wow-factor table settings. We loved the idea of creating a hassle-free service that could provide beautiful, curated settings that are easy to rent and exciting to use.
What efforts have you made to be more sustainable?We don’t use single-use plastics in our LAY tableware or in our packaging: everything has been created to last. One of the reasons we started LAY was to offer a solution to table décor that avoided waste. Birthdays, hen parties, baby showers – there’s a slight culture of buying cheap or disposable décor, to use once and then discard.
What does sustainability mean to you?
It’s about breaking bad habits and forging a sustainable way of living that works long term. There’s a reason that the rental industry is booming – you can rent clothes, furniture, cars… tableware! Renting offers choice and variety, helping us avoid hoarding or buying of cheap or disposable goods. With LAY, you can rent a colourful table setting for a party and enjoy it once, guilt-free.
Favourite part of having your own company?
Being able to follow your gut! We’ve been able to evolve LAY along our journey to launch, so we feel confident it’s the best version that feels right. And working together as sisters is something that was always kind of inevitable!
Advice to someone wanting to start their own company?
Think about the long game – we’ve come up with a few business ideas along the way that would have been great fun to start, but very difficult to maintain. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help – we can’t be experts in everything and you’ll be surprised how many people are happy help you.
Are you a fan of vintage and antique pieces?
Yes! With clothes, it’s always fun to wear something that feels like yours only, and not something you’ll see walking past ten times that day! We’re loving wearing some of our granny’s old coats this winter.
Do you have a favourite vintage piece?
A leather Gucci belt – it’s a bit beaten up, but a classic!
Do any of your tablescapes have vintage or antique pieces?We’d love to have a vintage collection one day, but currently no. Our tableware has been sourced or designed from scratch so that it lasts and we can be sure the quality is perfect for dining.
Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery antique or new?
We both have crucifix pendants that we found in Greece. They are warming gold and remind us of walking the winding Mykonos streets in the sun – a brief distraction from freezing London!
Which of our PI London pieces is your favourite and why?
We love the ruby and diamond gypsy ring. The stones are set in stars and look extra twinkly!
What do you antiques mean to you?
Antiques feel precious, no matter the value. Finding them is as exciting as owning them!