#mumpreneurstories is a series of interviews by mumpreneurs who share their journey to inspire and encourage others mums to live their dream. There is a lot we can learn from each other :) #mumpreneursquad
1. Tell us a bit about your family
I am married to my bestfriend and number one supporter. We have a crazy adventurous little boy - Gunner James. We are currently trying to give Gunner a little sister or brother.
2. Your brand is called Littlest Sidekick. What's the concept behind the brand?
I started the Littlest Sidekick because I had a need to want to work with my hands and create designs for my little man that I couldn't find anywhere else. I wanted simple concepts that are created to mimic his vision of the outdoor world. Having him has sparked a sense of creativity within myself. To see the outdoors and nature through a child's eyes is humbling. From different leaves on the ground to the dandelion flowers that grow in the backyard. Everything is pure gold to him. I wanted to capture that essence and make it wearable.
The brand name came from him as well. My husband and I called him the littlest peanut from day one. He was so tiny. And then as he integrated into our lifestyle, he went everywhere with us. He's my little sidekick.
3. Was it always a dream of yours to create a fashion brand or did the inspiration come with giving birth to your son?
I had hints of the desire when I was beginning college but it always seemed to far out of reach and other things took over - projects, assignments, jobs, being young. HA HA HA. After having him, that desire not only came back but had purpose now. Part of it was me wanting to step away from the computer and actually create something with my hands. (I hand print all the clothing myself.) The other part was wanting to make my illustrations that Gunner could wear. Also, I think it would be cool to share that skill set with him when he gets older.
4. Did you start off straight away with having three lines, one for babies, one for toddlers and one for adults?
No, it only started with babies - because that's what he was wearing at the time. It then morphed into toddlers because I had family members and friends that had kids that they wanted to buy for. It's slowly switching over to the adult line because I wanted to match with him. I thought it would be cool to have adult options to match with your little sidekick but with an adult twist. So your child can wear the shirt with Finley the Foxes face on the front and tail on the back and then you as the adult can wear a shirt with the small Finley Fox in the upper left hand corner of the shirt. Gunner is at the age now where he's becoming familiar with Finley the Fox. So I will ask him wear his Finley the Fox is on his shirt and then where is mama's and he gets a kick out of it. It's a lot of fun.
5. How do you do the product photography? Do you go to a professional photography studio?
I actually do all the photography myself. As far as the clothing shots on the digital storefront, I utilize Photoshop and my personal photographs.
6. What is your best selling product and why?
It would have to be Finley the Fox with the tail for kids. Everyone loves that little tail on the back. Others would be the Little Explorer and the Explore The North illustrations.
7. What do you think is the best marketing strategy to get your products out there? Which channels (website, marketplace, social media, etc) are the most effective?
The best source for getting the designs out to the public would be Facebook and Instagram. Sharing! Sharing! Sharing! It's a constant task everyday, to stay in the front lines. I have a Facebook page dedicated to the Littlest Sidekick as well as a Facebook group that is a fun place for parents to share their photos of their kids having fun, exploring and playing outside! We hold contests in the group and I ask their opinions on which illustrations to launch next. I love that the parents fall in love with the designs and then the kids enjoy wearing them too. I was told my niece asks her mom to wear "the fox shirt". It makes my heart sing to hear that!
8. What do you like most about being a mumpreneur?
I like creating something that someone else wants to wear. For a parent to want to spend their hard earned money on my designs and products is the best! Then to have their child actually pick that shirt to wear for the day. AMAZING!!!
9. Do you have any regrets of starting your own business?
Nope. I really enjoy the whole process. My favorite is the actual screen printing the design onto the shirt. I feel connected to the person that purchased the item of clothing. It wasn't massed produced in a factory by a machine. I actually was able to make sure the ink goes on perfectly, the design lines up with the shirt, the steps it takes of printing multiple designs on one shirt. It's an art and a skill set I enjoy doing for someone. Even the mailing process. Packaging it ever so perfect and each package comes with something fun for the little one! (Stickers, temporary tattoos, a Finley, Lucy or Remy card.)
10. Thank you so much for your insights! Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to share how the Littlest Sidekick came to be! Yes! We're actually in the middle of adding a new portion to our brand. It's still in the staging process but we're working on creating a little kit that comes with or could be added to the order for child and parent! Something that gets you both outside, learning, exploring, scavenger hunts, using your imagination, finding bugs and flowers, etc.
We also want to give back to the outdoors! For every garment purchased we send a $1 to plant a tree through the http://onetreeplanted.org/.