$32 - hunkydoryhome.co.uk
$13 - hunkydoryhome.co.uk
$22 - hunkydoryhome.co.uk
After 4 years working at home, it’s starting to grate. At first it was great. Totally flexible around the kids and my screwed up sleep schedule, cosy and cheap. Now, the same four walls, only the Homes Under the Hammer presenters to keep me company and the constant siren call of my comfy bed are too much. I need to get out. I need to separate home and work and find some space to concentrate.
So, in the past few weeks I’ve been looking at offices. The ideal place needs to be about 200-250sqft, fairly close to home, have a nice atmosphere with a bit of community and be flexible to accommodate a growing business. Having looked at all the suitable available options, none are 100% perfect and each has different pros & cons. I’d really appreciate your opinions in choosing the right location for Love It HQ!
Confession time. Love It Love It Love It is a sham. Six years ago, when ideas of starting a business began forming in my mind, they were all around designing & manufacturing a range of clothes for babies and kids. Initial research soon showed me that doing this would require technical knowledge and capital that I didn’t have. So, plan B came in to action; open a store selling the kind of things I’d want in my own range in order to build up the necessary knowledge and capital, and develop the range once my then baby daughter started school.
Well, that baby is now coming up to Year 2 at school, and the store has been so busy, my good intentions have hardly had a look in. Back in January, I confided all of this to one of my very favourite suppliers, Kate Pietrasik of Tootsa MacGinty, and she very kindly offered to let me accompany her on her Portuguese factory visits to check on sample development for their Spring/Summer 2015 range – a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the design, development and manufacture process and make valuable contacts.
Not only was it a great business trip, with (I hope) both of us learning from each other, it was just a great trip. There was time for shopping, drinking, bacalhau and putting the world to rights.
When Kate first launched Tootsa MacGinty a couple of years ago, I was both delighted and insanely jealous. She was doing just what I wanted to do – a colourful, unisex, ethically produced range of good quality kids clothes, and damn her, she was doing it really, really well! It was so generous of her to let me see the nuts & bolts of her business knowing all of that. I’ll be eternally grateful for that.
Not only did I see first hand that you’re in for a real treat with Tootsa’s SS15 collection, but also that it’s made by talented, creative people working in conditions that any of us would be pleased with. How’s this for a view from a factory window?
The trip has left me in a spin, to be honest. It was hugely inspiring, and taught me at once that developing a clothing range is both way simpler and way more complex than I ever imagined, but by coming out of the closet, I can’t go back in. It will take a while, but watch this space…..
It was great, but I did feel like a bit of a fraud, not having blogged for 3 months and probably having knocked out fewer than two dozen posts in 10 years of blogging.
Anyway, the conference inspired me to do a hack of a lot more of this sort of thing, and jotting down some of this weekend’s high points seemed like an ideal way to kickstart a new habit.
Joy Cho of Oh Joy kicked the whole shebang off with her keynote speech on Friday evening. Oh Joy is a recognisable brand way beyond the world of blogging. She is the most followed person on Pinterest globally and has her finger in more pies than you can shake a stick at. It’s an impressive measure of the Kats’ credibility, passion and persuasiveness for them to land such a speaker for their very first conference.
The next day saw Anne Ditmeyer speaking about how she earns a living from blogging. She mentioned Skillshare almost in passing, but discovering this online learning site may be the most useful thing I take away from the whole weekend. There are a host of classes I want to take to make the next, exciting step in my business, and all for just $9.95 a month. I can’t wait to get started!
I missed a large part of Isa Seminega’s design session, which was a shame as Isa was extremely knowledgeable, charming and generous with her expertise. There were several other sessions I’d love to have attended, including Yvonne Eijkenduijn’s talk, Xanthe Berkley’s photo walk and Ellie Tennant’s styling session I’ll definitely be catching up on all four via the virtual conference*.
Mini Moderns‘ talk on branding also struck a chord, being directly relevant to my business. They are two talented men. Again, very generous with their time and expertise. This was a noticeable theme of the event – creative people just fizzing over with knowledge and ideas they love to share, surrounded by other creative people just lapping it up. It made for a really nice atmosphere.
Finally, Natalie Lue closed the conference with her keynote. For a woman who claimed to be physically ill with nerves, she kicked arse. If you know Nat and her work, you’ll know she is sickeningly wise and sorted out, and as expected, she dosed out some very sound advice, my absolute favourite being:
(Photo courtesy of Heather at Growing Spaces)
Overall, I’m massively proud of and pleased for the Kats. They pulled off an impressive event, and generated a real sense of community despite a number of setbacks. Their tenacity, creativity and vision have paid off big style. Here’s to Blogtacular 2015!
*If you missed Blogtacular itself, but would like to see any of the sessions, then you really need to sign up to their mailing list because you may just get the chance……
Last weekend saw kidswear designers preview their collections for Autumn/Winter 2014 to stores at two trade shows; Playtime Paris and Bubble London. Even fairly large brands minimise risk by only manufacturing what is ordered at, or shortly after such shows, so the fashion commentators who round up these shows by identifying trends and themes common across the hundreds of exhibitors. I only stock what I like, and what I like is colour, so trend reports can go and boil their heads. However, it was very clear that one theme will be everywhere this Autumn; weather.
4funkyflavours red t-shirt £24 down to £12
***CONTAINS SPOILERS*** (But seriously, if you’re going to get pissy about being spoiled for a Disney film, you shouldn’t be out alone on the internet. Get back to the cbeebies website.)
I hate Disney. It all stems from when I was 2, and my mum was in hospital having my brother. As a treat, my dad took me to see Bambi. Piecing the clues together, it became obvious that my father was trying to gently convey to me that mum had been killed by hunters and a forest fire. A fit of hysterics ensued that could only be quelled by a Crunchie bar. AND IT WASN’T EVEN SWEETIE DAY.
As time went on, the mistrust engendered by this formative experience was compounded by a dislike for the blatant, clunky emotional manipulation contained in each film and the tedious, grinding sexism of the Princess myth that they inflict on kids.
So, after 30 years of successfully avoiding all things Disney, I had sprogs and have since had to see some of their films, under extreme, vocal, sufferance. And of course, they’re still shit. They’re still emotionally manipulative tut about tedious, impossibly proportioned, submissive women living in a world devoid of diversity* while they wait for some monosyllabic chump to fulfil their life’s purpose by marrying them. (*Talking animals are more common than people of colour in Disney’s world, for crying out loud. Disney is, after all almost an anagram of Aryan, except for most of the letters.)
Except…in the last few films, you can see they’re trying, a bit, to offer kids a bit more to think about. Rapunzel in Tangled is reasonably feisty. She still follows the tried & tested Princess formula, but at least she has interests other than Princes and tidying up. She’s a talented artist and she does eventually behave like a proper teenager, secretly shinning down the turret to head down the pub.
Brave takes it several steps further. This tale of one girl’s search for her fate (or ‘feet’ as my youngest thought, which really screwed with her overall understanding of the story; “why can’t she find her feet? They’re THERE”.) There isn’t a Prince. A few are paraded in front of Merida but she’s not vaguely interested. She’s free spirited, multi-talented, rebels against what society expects of her as a Princess and woman, and singlehandedly saves her family without needing to be rescued by anyone else. Unfortunately, the means by which she saves them is embroidery. Oh well.
And now Frozen. At first, this seems a step backwards. Two Princess sisters hang about, growing up, waiting to fall in love. In a development obvious from the first scene, the elder sister Elsa, who has magical icy powers, accidentally freezes her sister Anna’s heart. This will surely kill her unless – no! surely not! – an act of true love can save her life. It’s a reasonable assumption that one of the two main male characters will provide said act of love, the sisters will shack up with them and rule in trilly-singing voiced happy ever afterness. Instead, for the first time since the appalling violence of Bambi, Disney truly shocked me. As the film inched towards its obvious conclusion, it began to seem that Elsa would be Anna’s saviour. Wrong again. Anna, with her dying breath, saves Elsa’s life. In effect, that she performs the act of love to save herself and it’s sisterly, not romantic love that does it. As the film concludes, the male characters are given passing mention, but it’s the reconciliation and happiness of the sisters that is the focus.
That, to me, does say something important to kids about priorities and love. Of course, it’s only a small step, and it’ll be a long time before a Disney Princess doesn’t literally have eyes bigger than her belly and the whole thing isn’t a cloying pile of shite, but at least Frozen didn’t actually make me weep for the 90 minutes and £10 I’ll never get back.