Small Business Love for Little Pip
Little Pip designs and makes vintage childrenswear and accessories using reclaimed textiles. Read on to find out more and show them some small business love!
This week I'm handing my blog post over to the wonderful Little Pip as part of my Small Business Love series.
Little Pip, founded by Jennifer a former knitwear designer for Reiss, makes some of the most beautiful clothes and accessories I've ever seen. And the best thing? Little Pip uses vintage fabrics to give them another lease of life, while looking after our planet at the same time!
Do get to know Little Pip by reading Jennifer's story. Small businesses certainly need our love more than ever during these uncertain times.
Welcome, Little Pip!
Small Business Love for Little Pip
Tell us your business' name and what it's all about...
My business is called Little Pip which designs and makes one-of-a-kind childrenswear and accessories using reclaimed vintage textiles and trimmings. What's the story behind Little Pip?
Before having my daughter Olivia (now nearly 3), I was a knitwear designer for Reiss, a high-end high street fashion brand. I loved my career and I’m very lucky that I got to travel to many design offices, shows and factories in Europe and Asia where I was inspired and could bring my design visions to life!
However, when I became a mum in 2017, my career and all that came with it - the long hours in London, the commute, and the work trips - just didn’t sit right with me. It was in many ways one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make leaving a career I'd known for so many years. But, on the other hand I saw no way of it working for my family, especially as working part-time was not an option. So, with a couple of ideas for my own project and having the opportunity to teach on the fashion courses at my old university, I took a leap of faith and handed in my resignation!
Slowly during the months that flew by and after my daughter's 1st birthday my ideas for Little Pip started to cement in my mind. It wasn’t until June 2019 that I finally launched my first ready-to-wear collection (RTW) and now the business has found a new path in the bespoke/custom made world!
How do you juggle managing your own business around a family?
The year of 2019 was a huge learning curve for me. There were ups and downs, elations and doubts, along with a lot of messy juggling! However, so far 2020 has been better for me with the work and family juggle. I have a routine in place which gives me a more focused work pattern and I use my evenings for paperwork and other non-sewing related business tasks. I would say I need to work on my down-time alongside all of the above, but the most important things are feeling fairly settled.
Tell us what it's like launching a business in the UK. Any tips?
When starting out I found it quite overwhelming looking at the legal necessities compared to the suggested necessities. Producing clothes and other items for children means there are a lot of safety standards to be met and finding the relevant legislation's isn't as easy as you'd think. It has meant I've probably spent money on things I don't really need. I did also wonder if my business idea would ever get off the ground!
Trading standards were a huge help and helped me come to an educated decision on my choices. I also found speaking to other small childrenswear businesses through Instagram helped. The community there is mostly willing to offer advice once they realise that’s genuinely what you’re asking for - advice. It’s invaluable getting information from people who have been there and done it, so I would say don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they’re a bit simple or a tad ridiculous. I know I'm more than willing to pay forward the help I’ve received over the last couple of years through Instagram!
What’s been your most valuable business investment?
I would say my website, as a ‘project’ in itself. Designing my website really forced me to sit and think about my brand, my reason and my vision. It helped to guide me to what my absolutes were, and although ever evolving, it has given me a strength of certainty in what I am doing and why.
What advice would you offer people who want to launch their own business?
Get to know your brand inside out: Why are you doing it? Who is it for? What is your unique selling point? What is it all about? If you’re not absolutely certain on all of these things you will lose purpose and confidence in what you’re doing. And before anything else, I think you NEED to be able to talk about all the above with certainty and it all needs to set your soul on fire!
Launching and running a business takes a lot of energy and emotions. If you’re not 100% in love with what you're doing and there isn’t a spark that keeps igniting a flame week in week out, things will prove difficult. Love what you do without a doubt in your mind!
What small business would you like to show some love to?
Gosh, there are so many! But, I’m going to shout out to my amazingly supportive friend Sophie of SJ PA Solutions. I met her at a baby group when our little ones were tiny and we’ve often talked about our hopes and dreams together. Finally we're both putting things into motion and she's a constant help to Little Pip with her virtual PA business and undying enthusiasm and love for small businesses. Watch this space for a project we’re working on together launching this summer!
Where can we find out more about you?
Would you like to Guest Blog for Popsy and Mama? If yes, check out the guidelines here. I look forward to hearing from you!
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