So this is how it all began. Three friends, a rail and a handmade table cloth. And some lovely independent British design for children. Hanging out in the men's changing rooms at South Manchester Cricket Club for the first ever Our Kid pop-up. We pulled our launch together in 10 days, inspired by the idea of having a hobby business that would give us back a bit of ourselves after having our first children. Little did we know that we would grow and grow and reproduce more children and keep growing to where we find ourselves today. On the cusp of the most amazing adventure into retail with our very own shop.
Our second pop-up in the great outdoors and still one of our favourite Chorlton events, the Beech Road Family Day. We've taken a stall here for the past 3 years and survived scorching sun, tutu frenzy and the one where we lost our gazebo to the rain. So gutted that this community event is no longer a thing but if it ever makes a comeback we'll be there with bells on.
Another Chorlton Bazaar stall, this time a festive foray into the world of boozing and shopping. Always a jolly affair, Tess spent most of the day coveting a vintage sunbeam clock which she duly purchased with all the profits from the day. Repaid in full we might add.
In 2014 we became regular stallholders at the now defunct Postbox market which was a great spot for us and introduced Our Kid to the other end of Chorlton. Particularly noteworthy, is that we were always very well fed and watered on Postbox stall days owing to Chris and his team's yummy bacon sarnies and homemade cake.
As 2014 began to unfold, we thought it was time to bring all the amazing groups and baby happenings in Chorlton together under one roof and so the Our Kid and Friends Family Day was born. Wonderful Chris at The Beech Inn let us takeover his establishment for the day and we invited We Are Adventurers, Pramactive, Owen's Little Music Makers, Morag Dennet author of Ten Tickling Toes alongside ourselves (natch) to host a lovely afternoon of interactive music, storytelling and mud fun! There are no other photos of this event as we were literally overwhelmed with mummies and babies, not surfacing for air until the last buggy was wheeled out and we had a well-deserved wine. Well, it would've been rude not to!
This picture taken in June 2014 captures a defining moment for Our Kid. We are literally sending our website live as you can see from our pointy fingers and so begins the era of e-commerce and many trips to the Post Office! Designed by Kate's husband Luke (to whom we are eternally grateful) we've had loads of lovely compliments about its greatness and it's proven to be a very exciting platform to build our brand. But what it taught us is that our roots are M21 to the core and no matter what is happening in the virtual world, we much prefer to feel our feet on the ground of our home turf. This is where the magic happens. This is the future of Our Kid.
Now this seems like a lifetime ago!! September 2014 a time when we had 3 toddler boys between us and had started to find the whole parenting lark a bit easy. HA! We held our last pre-second-birth pop-up at our favourite pitch, the end of Alan from the Good Bag Company's drive on Beech Road. We like to think of this spot as our drive-through branch. Selling here couldn't have been more convenient for the families pootling along Beech Road on a Saturday. Not going to lie, it was always a bit windy and the rails did occasionally fly away. But we love Beech Road and tried hard to secure a shop down there. Alas it was never meant to be and now we're heading for the dizzy heights of central Chorlton. Who would've thunk it to look at those big tummies.
Fast forward a few months to November 2014 (picture taken in July 2015 we might add!) and we were so proud and delighted to be among the first traders at the Chorlton Art Market Hub in the precinct. This opportunity gave us exposure to the Chorlton masses and enabled us to refine our concept, grow our collections and learn the day to day lessons of managing a physical space.
Determined to turn our hobby into a financially viable business we started to scour Chorlton for a place to call our own. We'd been musing over the idea of combining a shop with cafe to create a convenient stop-off for families. In June 2016 we signed a lease on our own little shop and Our Kid, bricks and mortar, was born. What was once a wonky little cafe has become its own institution and a much-loved stop-off on Manchester's indy retail scene. Read Part 2 of our story to see how we did in our first year...