In this post, we will be chatting to the founder of a gorgeous, local company, Littlechook. She’s very kindly given us a discount for her Etsy shop, which is at the bottom of this post.
If you have read my other posts, you will have seen the cute aprons I have for Daddy Bear, Archie Bear, Teddy Bear and myself, which are all from Littlechook. Archie Bear has always had a personalised ‘Archie’ t-shirt with a big London bus on, as I met Karin when he was about 6 months old and he got his first Littlechook bus t-shirt from her for his 1st birthday. He loved it so much (and so did everyone else who saw it) that I have kept ordering them for him as he has grown! We have always found the quality of the clothes to be very high, and I love that everything is made, designed and printed in the UK.
I asked founder, Karin, a few questions about herself and her business.
– Tell us about yourself.
Hi, I am Karin and I am the founder and designer of Littlechook. I’m Scottish and trained in Product and Textile Design at the Scottish College of Textiles. I’ve been living in North London for 17 years now with my family. I have two daughters aged 8 and 11 who are both dancers so I spend a fair bit of time doing ballet buns at weekends! I also love gardening and run the school garden project at my daughter’s school as well as making the most of my own small back garden.
– What made you start up your own business?
After moving to London I wanted a change from design work and fell into Human Resources where I worked in various roles for 10 years. I began to get tired of commuting and corporate politics so I took a screen printing course at Morley College in Lambeth and this just kicked off my desire to return to designing. After I had my first daughter I took an extended maternity leave and read as much as I could about running a business and started doing small craft fairs to test my products.
– I’m sure it’s not all been smooth sailing, what have the biggest challenges been about running Littlechook, and what have been your proudest moments?
Biggest challenge has been finding British manufacturers to make my products. I do all the printing in house but need the garments made. I had no experience of pattern making or quality checking so it has been a very steep learning curve.
Proudest moments have included working on a collaboration with Little Dish (healthy toddler meals) where my aprons were sent out to celebrities as part of a baking hamper. I am also really proud of my first year selling on Not On The High Street which coincided with my daughter Sarah’s arrival and there were some tough days but I am proud that I kept going.
– Can you run us through a typical day at Littlechook?
A typical day would involve spending the morning printing the day’s orders and answering any customer enquiries. The afternoon I try to spend working on new designs, printing new product samples and sourcing/talking to suppliers. I am lucky to have an assistant, Kat, who does all the order packing, gift wrapping and stock management. Once my daughters are in bed I will usually spend a couple of hours listing and updating new products on Etsy and Not On The High Street.
– What’s your ideal working space?
I would absolutely love to have a garden studio or a shared space with other designers. I currently work from home and it would be nice to be able to separate home and the business.
– Is there anything or anyone that particularly inspires you?
My favourite designers are Anna Bond from Rifle Paper Co and Johanna Basford.
– What 3 tips would you give to someone thinking of starting up their own business?
Don’t neglect the numbers side of your business. Make sure you accurately cost your product and your time and don’t under-price yourself.
Product photography is so key to online selling. I am rubbish at this so I use a professional photographer and it is worth every penny.
Etsy is a great site to start selling on. There’s loads of useful information on the site itself and the seller community is lovely and helpful.
Karin has very kindly given MummyBearBaker readers a discount in her Etsy shop. Just use the code MUMMYBEAR2017 for 15% off (valid until 31st December 2017).