God’s Plan with LAYPLAN


Talia Betham and Lavinia Ilolahia are the two stylish besties behind LAYPLAN. In their final years of studying fashion design, the duo came to the realisation that creating unique garments for women is their sweet spot. With Talia based in Wellington and Lavinia in Auckland, distance hasn’t stopped them from fulfilling their calling to fashion. HER chats with the sisters in faith.


Talia and Lavinia (Nia) have been best friends for five years and initially met at Massey University in Wellington. Their funky designs have been spotted on the pages of Fashion Quarterly, walked on the catwalks at New Zealand Fashion Week and have been worn by the likes of Parris Goebel.

The girls share that LAYPLAN was conceived in an empty room next to the class they were supposed to be in at University. Proving that some of the best ideas are conceived in the most unexpected places.

“The actual name ‘LAYPLAN’ comes from a part in the construction process where you lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric to best maximise fabric usage and minimise waste. We apply this principle by being intentional with who and what we work with,” the girls explain.

After posting numerous garments on their personal social media pages, they were encouraged by friends and family who would say, “you should sell this” or “make a page!” The duo eventually picked up enough traction to start their own Instagram page @LAYPLAN.

“We love being a bit quirky and playing around with how we post. Eventually things picked up and we started to sell through Instagram. It feels a lot more personal through Instagram as you can directly talk to people and almost form a little relationship with them, as opposed to selling online – we really like that,” both share.


Styling Women

The LAYPLAN style is a mix of Talia’s “quirky and crazy” and Nia’s “classy and cool” designs. 

The girls provide a unique experience for buyers and involve each person in the process. What they love most is helping women get out of their comfort zones with their diverse designs.

“We involve each person in the process so they feel special knowing that we make each garment specifically for them,” they share.

“We love that people trust us to take them out of their comfort zone. We often find that girls are willing to but just need that little push. Our job is to help them through creating something – the outfit is just a bonus!”

Brown gals in business

The fashion pair are proud of their pacific roots. Nia is of Tongan descent (Ha’apai, Kolomoteu’a, Kolonga) and Talia is Samoan (Leauva’a, Alesa). They have the “ultimate hype team” that consists of their supportive families and husbands. In terms of design and production, the girls do it all.

As friendship goes, the girls say their personal relationship was the start of LAYPLAN. Maintaining the balance between friends and business partners is important to them both.

Running a business and studying has been their biggest obstacle to date, however, their faith has enabled them to trust God completely with the direction of LAYPLAN.

“The core foundation of LAYPLAN stands on faith and was founded through it. It seems so illogical to be in business with someone in another city but we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing unless we were called to be doing it.

“Knowing that we’re doing something that is bigger than us; faith gives us purpose. All of the opportunities that have come our way have been a testament of God’s favour over us.”


q&a with lavinia and talia

Name: Lavinia Ilolahia

Age: 25

Tell us about yourself


I was born and raised in Auckland up until I was 16. We then moved to Wellington. My study life is a little all over the show: I studied at Massey University alongside Talia for two years, I then left to Auckland to study theology (Equippers bible college). I am now tying up loose ends at AUT completely my design degree. My family is amazing; I’m in my first year of marriage (yay) and I come from a typical Tongan household, and thankfully one that is whole (2 parents and 4 siblings) - both of my parents are creative and I identify that if it weren’t for being brought up in a creative environment, I wouldn’t have the love and respect for the Arts that I have now.

 Who inspires your work as a fashion designer?

Old people, I love old people because they have such a talent of putting so many different things together and it just works!

 What do you admire about Talia’s work ethic?

I admire Talia’s determination to get things done/perseverance.


Name: Talia Betham

Age: 22


 Tell us about yourself

Grew up in Porirua Wellington, attended Massey University where I graduated with a Degree in Design (First Class Hons) in 2017. I am half Samoan and half European and grew up in an absolutely loving household with my sister Jessanah - writer/up and coming event stylist. My parents have always pushed me to pursue what I loved which was art and design, being amazing creatives themselves. (Blessed). I now work in a collaborative coffee shop in Porirua alongside some amazing entrepreneurs as well as LAYPLAN working alongside my best friend Lavinia. I love all things creation/creative.

 Who inspires your work as a fashion designer?

I jump around a lot I’m always finding new people, places or things to inspire me! But I do love people that live in their styles, I appreciate that a lot. They are the same person/personality/character everywhere they are and they just emit coolness!! (looooove it).

What do you admire about Lavinia’s work ethic?
I admire Nia’s attention to detail and integrity within her work


Instagram: @LAYPLAN

 Thank you Talia and Nia for sharing your story. I am so encouraged by your journey and how God has remained at the centre of it all. I pray that God continues to pour his favour over you both, over LAYPLAN and over your relationship as sisters in Christ. xxx

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…"

Falen Stevenson