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Meet Our Brands - Lara & Ollie

Please introduce yourself and your brand…

We’re Anna Wicks & Lesley Newsholme and we live down the road from each other in SE London with our kids Lara & Ollie, Anna’s new addition Charlie and our husbands.

We created and run Lara & Ollie a silicone teething jewellery company. Our primary aim is to help mamas feel stylish every day and dress up an everyday outfit with something fashionable and fun – that also happens to be safe for a baby to chew and fiddle with. We believe our necklaces and bangles are something lovely that mamas can treat themselves to, but they also make perfect gifts for new mums, particularly given that most presents are for the little one!

What inspired you to launch your brand…?

We met through our NCT classes just before we had our kids and launched Lara & Ollie in March 2015 so about 18 months after meeting. 

We both love jewellery and accessories but quickly realised when we became mums that we couldn’t wear it unless we were away from the kids; not only was it potentially pretty dangerous, we didn’t want anything broken.

Having made jewellery for fun a few years back we loved the concept of teething jewellery but couldn’t find much we liked. So we sourced some beads and made a few necklaces and had amazing feedback from friends and mums we were getting to know locally all of whom wanted to know where they could buy them. So we thought why not give it a go and here we are.

How did you get started and can you give our readers a piece of advice for getting an idea off the ground?

We spent months and months researching, researching, researching before doing anything at all. This was particularly important given the nature of the product but also when you start up there is so much to learn and consider - sadly it’s not quite as straightforward as you think when you have the initial idea!

Once we felt comfortable with our product we then developed our brand and moved everything forward from there. Everything we had worked on was encapsulated in a pretty in-depth business plan that kept us on track. It took a long time and whilst at times we felt like we were hitting a brick wall we’d try hard to stay focused and positive and to find solutions to problems.

There is so much we’ve learnt since setting up and as such, so much advice we’d give. However our top 3 tips are probably… make use of people you know - we learnt so much from businesses and mums who had already set up. Get the ‘boring’ but essential processes in place e.g. bookkeeping/accounts etc. it’s so easy to just focus on the fun stuff but if you don’t have basic admin set up you’ll be stuffed in the long run! And trust your instincts when making decisions; you’re usually right!

How do you juggle being a working mum and business owner?

We’ve not had a huge amount of childcare through the process of launching, so we’ve mainly worked when the kids slept. When they were about 18 months and still napped in the day we nailed a co-ordinated nap time and would put one in a travel cot at the other’s house. It was brilliant and we managed to get quite a bit done together. However sadly day time napping is a thing of the past so we work mainly in the evenings. Although both Lara & Ollie now do go to nursery for a few hours a week so we can get together and plough through the to do list, packing orders etc.

There isn’t much routine and sometimes it’s a case of flying by the seat of our pants and we just write a huge to do list, prioritise and simply divide and conquer.

Like so many mums we’ve nailed the art of pushing a buggy whilst emailing/texting/posting! And we’re not going to lie, the TV is quite often turned on so we can chat, email and work through things. The kids think we’re the best!!

And our husbands are fairly understanding and supportive when we forego day to day life admin – piles of washing get ignored and cooking dinner becomes another takeaway!

What’s the proudest moment for your business to date…?

Actually launching the business was a pretty awesome moment after over 6 months in development where we often felt like we were taking one step forward and 10 back! We’d also say being accepted and having a stand at our first Playtime Paris international trade fair and receiving a phenomenal response from buyers felt like a huge achievement. Whilst we’re both fairly modest people, we did feel quite proud that we were there, even though on reflection we weren’t actually prepared or very organised!

Looking to the future, what are your brand dreams and aspirations…?

Now that would be telling ha ha!! We want to build the business but ultimately carry on doing our own thing and doing it to the very best of our ability. We want to carry on working with people and brands we like and who inspire us and meet lots of new people in the process. We’re hoping that soon we’ll have a bit more time to spend working on and really developing the business - this should happen when the kids start school which is really exciting!

And a bit more about what inspires you…

We’ve been really inspired by lots of other mums who have set up businesses and have juggled the reality of full time parenting and launching a business. There are too many to name but lots of these awesome women have given us so much support, encouragement and inspiration and lots have become good friends too.

Who’s your favourite Instagrammer and why?

What a question - there are so so many brilliantly clever, funny Instagrammers as well as feeds that look visually beautiful and are really consistent and coordinated. Some of the beautiful interior feeds who nail this are @chloeuberkid @wilwig and @laurielauriane.

We’re also big fans of the ‘honest tell it how it is bloggers’ like @marybadassmeadows @notsosmugnow and @toomuchmotheringinformation

Another great one for craft ideas and life hacks for busy mamas is @_ladyland_

How do you switch off…?

I think the only time we're truly switched off from the business is when we’re asleep!!! I think that’s the nature of having your own business. Although jokes apart, we try and take holidays as holidays so minimal holiday working. And we try and have Sundays as days off to spend time with our families and although we’re likely to WhatsApp each other, we do try and switch off, pub lunches, long walks, typical family things etc.

What product could you not live without as a parent?

We both bought Stokke Tripp Trapps when we were weaning the kids and whilst they felt like hefty investments, they’ve been and continue to be amazing chairs - and they look pretty good too.

We also love Kokoso Baby coconut oil, Play & Go mats and any book from SmallPrint Books.

We love holidays at Our Kid, can you recommend a brilliant family-friendly destination/hotel or experience?

Anna is from Jersey in the Channel Islands and would definitely recommend it as a great place to go (obviously!). It’s only a short flight - about an hour from most UK airports and whilst the weather isn’t guaranteed there is so much to do with kids from the amazing Wildlife Park, Tamba Dinosaur Park, museums, castles, boats, beaches, cliff path walks etc. The hotels and restaurants are family friendly, it’s no more expensive than anywhere in the UK and it’s absolutely beautiful. Check out the Visit Jersey website: www.jersey.com and if you go, make sure you visit Sumas Restaurant - it’s run by her brother Paul (www.sumasrestaurant.com).

 

May 19, 2017 by Tess Grindle

Our Kid Voted One of Manchester's Most Family Friendly Cafes!

Our Kid Voted One of Manchester's Most Family Friendly Cafes

The Manchester Evening News has released a definitive list of Manchester's most family-friendly cafes and Our Kid is ranked in the top 3!! We're so happy, we're dancing a jig.

Our aim when we launched was to create a shop with a cool space for families to stop-by and enjoy. We've based every detail on stuff we love. So you can expect toddler-appropriate plates and cutlery, simple food that's freshly made (and won't hurt your purse) and toys to play with. It's a bit like being at a friends house. Comfy and intimate. Just right for a meet-up or quiet moment with your little one's.

Since we opened we've gone on to win a prestigious award for Best Independent Newcomer so in addition to the cafe, you will find an abundance of temptation in the form of cool kids clothing, toys and gifts. It really is a treasure trove of treats.

Thank you to all of the parents out there that voted for us. We're in some seriously good company and feel a little road-trip coming on to check out some of the new faces that appear...

Check out the full list here 

April 05, 2017 by Tess Grindle

Scamp & Dude Launches Exclusively at Our Kid in the North West

When beauty-industry executive Jo Tutchener-Sharp survived a brain tumour in 2015, she resolved to put her years of experience with brands such as Tom Ford and Estee Lauder to good use and launch her own children’s range. And within months of her recovery, Scamp & Dude was born. 

Scamp & Dude is a stylish new unisex collection of children’s clothing providing children with an extra sense of security thanks to a team of very special superheroes. Loved by celebrity mums and their offspring on Instagram and spotted on Robbie Williams backstage at the Brits, its hero leopard print and superhero story has become instantly iconic and the Sleep Buddy donation initiative has seen over 400 buddies gifted to children in need. Until recently, it was only available at Liberty of London but all that is about to change.

We are beyond thrilled to announce that Our Kid in Chorlton, Manchester is one of only 3 independent boutiques across the UK to have been selected to stock Scamp & Dude and we will be exclusive stockists in the North West. We love the story behind the brand, we love the unbelievably soft sweatshirts and cutting-edge fashion design including the iconic pink and green leopard print motif.

At the heart of the collection is the Superhero Sleep Buddy. These stylish shaped cushions are available in two adorable superhero characters, a bunny (with more than her fair share of attitude) and a slightly overwhelmed dinosaur. Even though they look super cute, the pair are bursting with special superpowers to watch over the child at night and keep them safe.

Scamp & Dude Superhero Sleep Buddy Available at Our Kid Manchester

The Superhero Sleep Buddy also contains a pocket for photographs of loved ones, to keep them close by. This could be a parent working away on business, a grandparent who lives far away or simply a parent who is in the next bedroom, which can sometimes feel like a galaxy away to a small child.

And now for e really good bit...

The opportunity to be someone else’s hero. For every Superhero Sleep Buddy sold, another is donated to a vulnerable child, offering them a little extra security during a difficult time; this may be a child who’s lost a parent, one whose parent is seriously ill or a child who’s in hospital themselves.

Scamp & Dude is a brand that helps children feel more secure when apart from their loved ones. 

From something dark came something light.

You can view the collection online at Our Kid or stop by to see us in our Chorlton shop at 9a Oswald Road, Manchester M21 9LP.

March 29, 2017 by Tess Grindle

How I Make It Work by Alienor Falconer, Founder of The Bright Company

Buy Calder Sleepsuit by The Bright Company at Our Kid, Manchester

One of the best parts of our job is meeting the amazing designers and creators behind the brands we sell in the shop. From the outset, Alienor Falconer of The Bright Company stood out as a woman to watch. Her award-winning British sleepwear brand has become the go-to for any self-respecting style blogger's offspring and more recently, she expanded the range (literally) to include mum styles. We caught up with her on the eve of her Spring/Summer 2017 collection launch to find out how she juggles business, family and a passion for the great outdoors...

Please introduce yourself and your brand…

Hello! I’m Alienor Falconer, creative director of The Bright Company, we make design led, organic and ethical nightwear products for modern families.

What inspired you to launch your brand…?

After the birth of my first child I returned to work but found the demands of a busy job for a major fashion house was too much to handle with our new family dynamic. I wanted to keep working though and needed the creative outlet that work had provided. I had found a huge amount of amazing kids clothes out on the market whilst on maternity leave but really struggled to find pj's that matched up to the same standards, they either fit really badly or were just awful designs. So I decided to take my wealth of experience of working in a fashion house and use that to start a nightwear brand.

How did you get started and can you give our readers a piece of advice for getting an idea off the ground?

It took me a year to get the brand to a launching point, I had no contacts in the nightwear world so it was a lot of cold calling, being rejected and stumbling blocks before we found a factory that would make our initial collection for us. What helped us is my background working in fashion before as a product developer so getting a product made is what I know inside out. I know some people do start businesses in an area they don’t know anything about but there are enough learning curves with being the boss that I wouldn’t recommend it really. The most successful indi brands I know are all run by people who have worked in fashion previously.

Mother Of Daughters Clemmie Hooper models new season sleepwear by The Bright Company

How do you juggle being a working mum and business owner?

It’s a big juggle, I won’t lie! I go to work in my studio 4 days a week, my mum helps out after school and I have Fridays with my daughter before she starts school in September. I work every week night after the kids are in bed, and quite often I have to do a little work whilst they play after school. It’s not ideal, and I hate working with the kids about as I find I’m distracted from both activities but I do end up emailing from my phone whilst I’m making tea.

What’s been the proudest moment for your business to date…?

Oh gosh, I think it would have to be launching into Liberty this past winter. They are my absolute favorite department store, I actually worked there as a fashion student and dreamed of selling my products to them so I was ecstatic when they approached us last year.

Looking to the future, what are your brand dreams and aspirations…?

We would love to keep working on some more collaborations and make more interiours products, I see TBC as a whole family brand, so watch this space for more of the adult’s range and home products.

And a bit more about what inspires you…

Everything! in the words of my ex boss Sir Paul Smith ‘inspiration is all around you, if you can’t see it look again’. Our shapes and products are inspired by ourselves and the products we get the most use out of and our children, how they wear things, how they like them to fit etc. I love art exhibitions, our SS17 collection is inspired by the work of Alexander Calder, who’s exhibition I saw at the Tate Modern last year.

Who’s your favourite Instagrammer and why?

Oh gosh, so many! I love IG (perhaps a little too much!) to faves, @Paxandhart for her awesome prints and @chloeuberkid for her amazing kids fashion and interiors inspiration

How do you switch off…?

Getting outside with the kids, being Brighton based we like to walk on the south downs or go to the beach, can’t beat fresh air and exercise!

What product could you not live without as a parent?

Snacks? Not sure they count as a product! Essentials for us include decent outdoor gear so we can get out whatever the weather, and a water bottle, you never know when the kids will be thirsty!

We love holidays at Our Kid, can you recommend a brilliant family-friendly destination/hotel or experience?

We went on an incredible holiday last summer to Bermuda. A friend is based out there at the moment and lent us his house (which is how we could afford it!). The sea was insane, so warm, so clear, full of coral reefs, we could jump off the jetty at our house, and the beaches were incredible, so undeveloped, not a single café on them and tourists aren’t allowed cars so we took the busses everywhere. It was such an adventure with the kids, I only want to swim in warm seas from now on, not sure the English Chanel is quite cutting it for me!

Shop The Bright Company at Our Kid

March 10, 2017 by Tess Grindle

Dad's! You've Got HINT Mail...

Dad's shopping event at Our Kid

Calling all Dad's! We'd love to see you at our Latte Pappa shopping morning where we'll be presenting our amazing edit of Mother's Day gifts alongside make&take craft activities by Chaoscoffee to give your little one's the opportunity to create something handmade for mummy's special day.

Be inspired with our new collections that offer something for every stage of mumming, from bestselling books by The Unmumsy Mum, Hurrah For Gin and Clemmie Hooper to the most coveted changing bags in the WORLD by Tiba&Marl. Mummy Milestone cards, Lara&Ollie teething necklaces, handmade organic soy candles and hopefully an awesome mum brand that we have been just desperate to launch...coming soon to Our Kid.

Check out our cool gifts for Mother's Day guide over at Rainy City Kids for more inspiration.

Hot coffee, bloke food and treats for the kids. Not to mention the IMMENSE brownie points you'll earn by gifting the best pressies in Manchester!!

March 07, 2017 by Tess Grindle

Meet Our Sale Superstars

Tobias&theBear sale picks at Our Kid

January...sigh...you are a cruel mistress with your downbeat mood and penny pinching ways. Luckily we've decided to rise above the grey mist and present a selection of our sunniest sale picks that will see our little customers through the season and into brighter times. Read on for our top picks...

Tobias and the Bear is without doubt our most coveted collection and we've got some lovely offers on selected styles including the Batty and Hare trousers pictured above at £12.40 down from £18 and t-shirt £11.20 reduced from £16.

Little Green Radicals Baby Edit in sale at Our Kid. Cool kids clothing Manchester

Babies. So cute. So costly what with all that feeding and growing. Now is the time to invest in the next size up to ensure you get some top quality pieces without breaking the bank. Our Little Green Radicals baby edit is looking strong with organic bodysuits reduce from £16 to £12, sleep suits down from £22 to £17.60 and ultra-comfy jersey dungarees a steal at £18 from £24.

Boys&Girls sale picks at Our Kid

Boys and girls alike will love wearing this colourful two-piece with its bright pops of yellow. The harem style of the bottoms looks laid-back and cool while the tapered cuffs fit easily into welly boots. Get this look with a whopping 30% discount while stocks last.

Mama's Got To Eat January food sale at Our Kid. Family friendly cafe Manchester

And because we are all about the mum's at Our Kid, we'll be extending our sale offers into the cafe because come rain or shine, you'll still be out and hey, Mama's Got To Eat! Our bestselling tea cakes are now £2, cake squares £1.50 and toast £1.50 for those mornings when you just need a carb boost!

Cake Squares on sale at £1.50 during January at Our Kid. Family Friendly cafe Manchester

 

 

 

 

January 10, 2017 by Tess Grindle

Our Kid Wins Top Retail Award

Our Kid Wins Best New Store in CWB Independent Retail Awards

Chorlton based retailer Our Kid has won the CWB Independent Retail Awards’ Best New Store category for 2016.

Hosted by leading industry trade title Childrenswear Buyer (CWB) magazine, which is dedicated exclusively to the childrenswear industry, the national competition celebrates performance, innovation and excellence in the children’s retail sector.

Established in Chorlton in June 2016, by local mum’s Kate Heaton, Laura Day and Tess Grindle, Our Kid went head-to-head with entrants from across the country before being named Best New Store of 2016 by an expert judging panel.

The boutique, which was judged on everything from customer service through to visual merchandising, specialises in branded clothing for children alongside toys, interiors and gifts. It also incorporates a family café serving locally produced coffee, tea, cakes and snacks.

Commenting on the win, Laura Turner, CWB editor and judge of the CWB Independent Retail Awards 2016, says, “Our Kid’s multi-concept, modern approach to shopping and socialising really stands out from the crowd.

“The café/communal space lends a distinct social aspect to the business, which in turn has helped it quickly and successfully integrate into the community. This, combined with a unique brand portfolio and strategic partnerships with other local business, demonstrates a progressive and inspiring independent retail business.”

 Carolyn Joyce, category manager for baby and child at notonthehighstreet.com and a judge on the CWB Independent Retail Awards 2016, adds, “A clear understanding of the importance of parent influencers and social media has helped to create a unique and forward-thinking concept store. It also offers a beautifully minimal website with a fashion forward feel.”

Commenting on Our Kid’s win, store co-owner Laura Day says, “To win a national retail award after only 6 months in operation is a dream come true for our business. The judge’s recognition of our efforts to immerse our brand at the heart of Manchester’s parenting community gives us a clear sign that we are on the right path. This is just the beginning for Our Kid and 2017 will see continued innovation in retail and customer delight armed with the confidence of our award-winning status.”

 - Ends -

For more information, contact Tess Grindle at Our Kid on 07811 400 388 or tess@our-kid.co.uk

January 06, 2017 by Tess Grindle

Festive Friday Offers

Christmas Eve Pyjamas and Hot Chocolate at Our Kid

By now, you might be on the final furlong of your festive shopping. Slightly frazzled and feeling a bit jaded at the thought of wrapping everything! Maybe you still have a few bits to buy but can't face going into town or to a major shopping centre. Whatever your shopping mojo, we have a weekend of finishing touch inspiration to share with lots of treats that will make your Christmas extra special.

The following offers will be applied from 9am on Friday 16th December until 4pm on Saturday 17th December and are valid in our Chorlton shop only.

Offer 1: All sleepwear will come with a complimentary bag of hot chocolate drops so that you can create the perfect hot drink, set the scene for a lovely bedtime and get those little people off to the land of nod before Santa stops by. This gift will also be applied on sales of our beautifully illustrated book A Dot in the Snow by local author Corrinne Averiss which will be featured on CBeebies Bedtime Stories on Saturday 17th December.

Toddler Table Settings featuring Colourful Creatures at Our Kid 

Offer 2: If you're cooking the dinner on Christmas Day and want to make your table settings extra special for the little people in your life, our toddler tableware will be on offer 3 for 2 across our Colourful Creatures and Buddy&Bear collections.

Toddler Table Setting in Monochrome at Our Kid

Offer 3: All hair and jewellery accessories will be half price when you purchase any dress or item of clothing from our seasonal collections. Whether you add a pom pom flourish, a sweet foxy purse or a satin hair bow we have something to make every outfit shine.

Half price accessories at Our Kid

Offer 4: For the babes, we'll be offering a choice of free treat of ice-cream bubbles or mini carton of sweeties with every festive legging or tights purchase.

Festive Leggings and Slipper Socks at Our Kid

We wanted to wind up the shopping season with a bit of finesse and thoughtfulness to say thank you to all of our loyal customers who have supported us since we opened the shop back in June. Please do stop by and choose something lovely with our compliments.

Love Tess, Kate and Laura

December 13, 2016 by Tess Grindle

New Term. New Hours of Business

Our Kid is now open on Mondays 9-4:30pm

We've scared ourselves with how quickly time has passed since last posting on the Our Kid blog!! So much energy has gone into the new shop and building our social media presence that our lovely little bloggy has been neglected and left in the sidelines. Poor old bean. But all that is set to change now that a new term and new era for us has begun!

The exciting news of today is that we've juggled our childcare and enlisted an extra pair of hands to enable us to open on Monday's - huzzah! So our official opening hours are now:

Monday - Friday 9am-4:30pm

Saturday's 10am - 4:30pm

We're working on a very special plan for our outdoor space to enable us to keep you cosy as the winter months approach in addition to fine-tuning our events calendar between now and the end of the year to give you even more reason's to stop by and hang out. There's so much to do, we'd better crack on. Stay tuned for more info!

Our Kid is open Monday - Saturday, don't delay come and hang out today!

 

September 05, 2016 by Tess Grindle
Our Kid To Launch Standalone Store in Chorlton

Our Kid To Launch Standalone Store in Chorlton

Our Kid To Launch Shop and Cafe in Chorlton

Chorlton-based children's clothing and lifestyle brand Our Kid is delighted to announce plans to open a standalone store incorporating a cafe and communal family space in June 2016 at the site of the Cherry Orchard Cafe on Oswald Road.

Founded by 3 local mums, Tess, Kate and Laura, Our Kid started from humble beginnings (a wonky table and borrowed rail) at the Chorlton Bazaar in July 2013 as a pop-up business selling independent British design for children.

Over the years, the trio have immersed themselves in the local community, popping-up at a variety of popular Chorlton locations including the Beech Road Family Day, The Post Box Market and have been based at the Chorlton Art Market Hub since its launch in November 2014 in addition to growing a successful online e-commerce website.

With 6 children under the age of 5 between them, life is busy for Our Kid but demand for their unique mix of modern, contemporary and design-led collections has seen them amass a loyal following on a local and national level.

Our Kid will blend its retail offering of kids clothing, toys and gifts with a family-friendly menu featuring a range of local suppliers to create the ultimate convenience store for busy Chorlton families as Tess explains;

"We've spent 3 years growing our business during naps times and snatched moments but finally with our own store, we can make the leap into becoming employers. Of ourselves!," says Tess. "Our lovely shop has been designed with busy families in mind, based on our own experiences of day to day life with kids. It's not unusual to finish the school run and realise we haven't had a cup of tea or breakfast but still need to fit in a trip to the shops with a baby in tow. Multi-tasking is second nature to parents and we hope with our new store we can deliver a truly convenient, multi-concept experience that will become a much-loved part of their daily Chorlton routine."

Follow @ourkidsocial on their launch journey across all social media channels.

 

May 05, 2016 by Tess Grindle
Tags: Store Launch