Category Archives: Boutique Focus

Boutique Focus: The Little Bear Cub Company

We caught up with the super-talented Charlie from The Little Bear Cub Co who told us about the importance of supporting small businesses and letting kids be kids, rather than gender stereotypes. 

SM: How did the Little Bear Cub Co come about? 

Charlie: The Little BearCub Co. was born from restlessness. I had been working in the fashion industry for almost 10 years and had always wanted my own business, but I got to a point where I felt more than ready to dive in the deep end, so I quit my job and a week later The Little BearCub Co. journey began!

SM:  We’re besotted with Bunny, Bearcub and Foxcub – how tricky was it to create truly gender-neutral characters? 

Charlie: I wouldn’t say it was tricky, as such. I’m a very attentive person and notice small things, and this combined with my knowledge in fashion and textiles made the journey much easier. I was picking up passing comments and feedback from customers, friends and family about the lack of gender-neutral options for children on the high street and wanted to see where I could go with it. I think speaking to the people that do or may use your product is so important, they guided me to the choices I made and avoiding age-old clichés also helped, plus use of colour, which I think is so vital to creating gender-neutral designs.

SM: What other considerations go into your designs?

Charlie: Everything I design is considered, right down to the thread. Being a small business, you really have a huge amount of competition to deal with, so I make sure what I put out there has been well thought out, beautifully crafted and considered for my market. The most important things I consider are colour, fabric, end use, design and our slow fashion ethic.

SM:  Where are your products manufactured?

Charlie: All of our products are currently manufactured in the Kent countryside, which goes hand in hand with our slow fashion ethos. I think it’s so important to keep production within the UK, it enables me to keep an eye on everything but also helps revive our dying fashion industry by getting local artisans, within the community, involved with what we do.

SM: We know how important it is to shop small, but what does doing this mean for you and your business?

Charlie: Anyone that shops small is fueling a dream, a passion and a talent! As with any small business, there is huge competition from mass manufacturers producing cheap items, designs being taken without permission and the list goes on but when you purchase something from a small business your showing that you care, you become part of a wonderful community and I think that’s the magical thing about shopping small. You get to speak directly with the person or team that created that product and I think in this day and age, it’s incredibly important to create those connections, to get to know your local and social communities because that’s how we survive, as small businesses, and that’s how we can make a real difference.

SM:  Your Instagram feed is a great ‘shop window’. Did you get advice on making it so engaging?

Charlie: To be honest, I haven’t. It’s been a huge learning curve and still is, I think with social media, there is no magic strategy. One thing that works for one person may not work for you, so you just have to go with the flow a bit and constantly challenge yourself to be better. I look to other small businesses and bloggers for inspiration and how I can improve our imagery and creativity in a way that engages the online community and our customers.

SM:  What’s are your 2018 goals for the business? 

Charlie: 2018 is going to be a huge year for us! We’ve got a lot lined up and we’re definitely going bigger and better this year but the first big goal of the year is to launch our Spring/Summer collection which will be a larger collection than our current one and is heading in a slightly different direction but one that I’m really excited about.

SM:  And what’s on your mood board right now? 

Charlie: Lots of Spring/Summer imagery, playful colours, bold prints and over-sized silhouettes.

SM: Where can we shop for Little Bear Cub Co products?

Charlie: You can shop our collection both on the website and our Etsy store!

Boutique Focus: Me & Buddy

Me & Buddy is a boutique full of such gorgeously chic childrenswear and parenting products it’s like having a stylist pull together your nursery. We caught up with founder Madeline Walsh and found out how William Morris inspired her and why she loves Ewan the Dream Sheep.

SM: How did Me & Buddy come about?

Madeline Walsh: My daughter Darcy is five and my son Cillian is 20 months. Over the years I have been constantly searching for useful yet beautiful baby and toddler products which fit into my lifestyle and the modern aesthetic of my home. I knew other parents were doing the same and that they would love to be able to find these wonderful products all under one roof. So I left my career in finance and set up to bring the best in baby and toddler gear together in one place.
SM: How did you go about deciding what to stock?

Madeline Walsh: Everything in the store has been hand-picked and our offering is highly curated, so when someone is shopping at Me & Buddy they are delighted with what they have found. When choosing which items to stock I started with the products I had found for my own children and which I knew other experienced parents also swore by, e.g. aden + anais swaddles, Storksak changing bags, BabyBjorn baby carriers and bouncers. From there I just did a lot of research into new, innovative yet beautiful products and sought out small brands who were producing wonderful things that most customers were unlikely to have seen before.
SM: Why is it important to have great looking baby/toddler products?

Madeline Walsh: I’ve always loved the quote from English textile designer William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” as I think it’s a great approach to buying for your home. But once you have kids it becomes increasingly difficult to live like this and you can easily find yourself swamped by baby gear which is not particularly useful and far from beautiful. From personal experience, great looking baby gear makes me feel more content in my surroundings and I’m sure it has a calming effect on the children too.
SM: Which items do your own kids like the best?

Madeline Walsh: They’re very fond of lots of the products but, if I had to pick a few, it would be the musical cloud nightlights from Mellipou, Ewan the Dream Sheep, the Noodoll soft toys, the natural wooden toys from Pinch Toys and the Swedish moccasins from Moccis. They also love the board books.
SM: What advice would you give to new parents on nursery design?

Madeline Walsh: I’d recommend starting off with a neutral palette of whites and greys because it creates a calm environment for the baby. After that, adding unique items that both you and the baby will love to look at and play with. A theme of clouds or stars always looks lovely and I’d advise not to go overboard on one accent colour as it’s great to leave plenty of scope for adding other unique items as time goes by.

Also to bear in mind that you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in the nursery in those early months – feeding, changing your baby, hushing them to sleep – so make sure it’s comfortable for you too and is a space you’re very fond of.
SM: Who designed Buddy the Bunny?

Madeline Walsh: Buddy the Bunny was designed by a friend of a friend, Evgenia Golubeva, who is an award-winning illustrator of short films and books for children. We worked together on the design, and I had very specific directions on how he should look, even down to the pockets on his rucksack and the height of his shoes!
SM: And finally, we love your new baby checklist. What baby items do you think are totally over-rated?

Madeline Walsh: That’s great, I’m so pleased you love the new baby checklist. I feel that new parents get so much conflicting advice on what they need for a baby and, from personal experience, it’s easy to end up surrounded by a lot of clutter that serves little purpose. Top of my overrated list has got to be the top-and-tail bowl. I used mine once then switched to Water Wipes and never looked back! I also think wipes warmers are hilarious, if only for the impracticality of training your baby to only be happy with warm wipes – what happens when you’re out and about?

On the other hand, sleep aids like Ewan the Dream Sheep are totally underrated – I’d advise new parents to buy at least one before their baby is born. The Walsh Family is never without Ewan!

Shop online at

Boutique Focus: The Stripy Company

GemmaHarperHeadShotAaah stripes: from deck chairs to zebras, we love them all. And so we were delighted to discover The Stripy Company; makers of beautiful, luxe, striped blankets, childrenswear and nursery decor.

Gemma Harper told us why they are rising stars of the stripy world.

SM: How did the Stripy Company come about?

Gemma Harper: It’s the familiar story of trying to find a job that fits around childrearing and realising that an employed job that is flexible and fulfilling is rare. Creating an opportunity to work for myself was the solution! 
SM: What is the wonderful attraction of stripes?

Gemma Harper: Who doesn’t love a stripe? From Awning to Breton, Pin Stripe to Candy Stripes, there is a stripe for everyone… the pattern is so versatile and always adds a touch of sophistication where ever it goes. You just can’t go wrong with a stripe.
SM: Which are your bestselling items?

Gemma Harper: Our cotton baby blankets are our best sellers. They are a great size, fantastic quality and presented in our gift box they make such a gorgeous gift to welcome a new baby. We have recently introduced the option to personalise our blankets with an embroidered name, it’s been really popular with our customers.  

SM: And which do your own family like best?

Gemma Harper: My daughter has one of our large lilac toddler blankets that she snuggles under on the sofa and we just love the ‘Big One’ which has been with us on plenty of picnics and living room den building adventures!
SM: Where are your products made?

Gemma Harper: In a lovely, friendly mill over in sunny Portugal.
SM:  What considerations go into the manufacture of baby items?

Gemma Harper: Safety is obviously key when manufacturing any baby item, we have had our blankets tested to make sure they are made with 100% pure cotton and are free of toxic nasties such as Azo dyes.
SM:  Any tips for someone planning a striped nursery?

Gemma Harper: I would say less is more, you don’t want to go overboard dressing everything you can in stripes. Pick some key elements to stand out. I do like striped wall paper but for me personally, I think stripes work best in the soft elements of the nursery; the nursing chair, cot blanket, scatter curtains and rug. Offset against plain colours and don’t be scared to add in a chevron to mix it up!
SM: What’s next for the business?

Gemma Harper: We are looking at expanding the range, experimenting with some new designs and bringing in some new products, mainly home accessories such as scented candles. We will be focusing a lot this year on continuing to introduce our core range of blankets in to gorgeous independent boutiques up and down the UK.

Order online from

Boutique Focus: Vibrant Home

Stockists of delightfully cheerful homeware, you can be sure there’s never a dull moment at Vibrant Home. Owner Sarah filled us in on all things bright and beautiful…

SM: How did Vibrant Home come about?

Sarah: As our children grew up, friends often commented on how bright and ‘vibrant’ our kitchen was and asked where we bought it all. Based on this, two years ago we set up Vibrant Home, to share all the lovely colourful things that we use every day. Our focus started with Rice melamine, as this has, and continues to be, used by us every day (and still looks as good as new years on). Our aim was to provide a very wide range of colours and styles across the Rice range as I find I get frustrated when I can’t purchase everything from one place.

SM: Which are your best selling items?

Sarah: Has to be the colourful Rice melamine cups and the beautiful raffia baskets, they are so gorgeous. As coffee lovers, my husband and I have also tried out every ‘travelling coffee cup’ we can find and discovered the JoCo cup and these are now very popular…

SM: And which do your own family like best?

Sarah: We all love the colourful melamine, especially the small melamine bowls as they have so many uses from breakfast yogurt to Strawberries and Cream.

It is interesting that whoever comes to our house, everyone (adults and children alike) automatically pick the bright melamine plates or cups rather than the classic white china (and my girlfriends are always checking my cupboards for the latest collection additions).

SM: What are your biggest challenges, running the business?

Sarah: Trying to juggle a growing business and family life, two dogs and a cat. My technology skills have grown considerably as I’ve learnt to run an online business! My husband helps a lot (he designed and configured the web site) and has even learnt how to wrap a parcel nicely.

SM: How do you source products/brands?

Sarah: We add brands and products from things that we see when out and about and my daughter is always full of suggestions – she drives the Happy Jackson brand and the stationery (what is it with teenage girls and their addiction to pencil cases?). We are always looking for British made or British designed products or those that are ethically sourced (check out the Muggi’s and the handmade colourful shoe laces as unusual examples)

SM: What tips would you have for adding colour to one’s home?

Sarah: Add the colours that you love, a few bits of colourful melamine can change the whole look of a table or your kitchen without having to spend a fortune. Add a raffia storage basket to any room, perfect place to store magazines or a few toys, but brings a touch of instant colour. The kitchen range from CKS Zeal is durable and really useful and compliments the Rice Melamine or other colourful accessories.

Vibrant Home picnic rice dk

Be a bit daring and ‘Live Life in Colour’.

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Boutique Focus: Mini Me and Moi

Mini Me and Moi is a label with a lot of attitude.

Creating a range of original mother and daughter coordinating outfits and helping women’s charity Refuge at the same time. We caught up with founder Flavilla Fongang to find out more…


SM: How did the brand come about?
Flavilla Fongang:
Flavilla Fongang, the founder of Mini Me & Moi, has been a fashion stylist for over 15 years. She was inspired by her mother; a single mum who raised her five children with a complete unconditional love. She realised that there was no brand in the dedicated to mums and
children fashion. Flavilla decided to create collections that
showcase this love bond and also wanted her fashion line to be
stylish and comfortable for everyday wear. She wanted her fashion
collections to be complimentary instead of overly matching. Because
this brand is based on the unconditional love of a mum for a child,
she wanted this brand to good to the world by supporting mothers in
today-day-off - me neither
SM: Which are the best-selling items?
Flavilla Fongang: The top 3 best selling items are
Red lips & cheeky face, ‘I’m not working today/Me neither’ (sweatshirt and tshirt above), ‘I got attitude – I got it from my mama’ (pictured)

I got attitude - I got it from my mama

SM: Tell us about the charities the brand supports? 

Flavilla Fongang: We are giving 10% of our profit to charities and social projects. This year, we have chosen to support Refuge. We are launching our own social project to support girl entrepreneurship in Cameroon. We want to support young girls see their business ideas become reality

SM: What considerations go into creating the garments?
Flavilla Fongang: When creating the garments we take into consideration the following elements: it must be comfortable, fun and stylish. Each style can be worn for casual days or for a casual chic look in the city.

SM: What’s on the moodboard right now…?
Flavilla Fongang: On our moodboard we can find an infusion of summer colours, catchy phrases, floral prints and tribal prints. We keep a close eye on what our customers want. So we create collections that fit with
their needs. We have the most effective supply chain which means
that we can release new styles within a week.

SM: Which celeb mother and daughters would Flavilla love to see wearing the brand?
Flavilla Fongang:  Flavilla would love to see her collections on casual chic celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Kate Hudson, Kate
Moss, Beyonce or Miranda Kerr.

image: Bauer Griffin

Shop the collection at

Boutique Focus: Oh Arthur

Oh Arthur are a talented trio (Stephanie North, Emma Murray and Cheryl Samantha Ellis) whose cheeky monochrome fashion statements are swiftly winning them a cult following. We caught up with Emma from the team who told us why everything is rosy in their black and white world.

Stephanie North, Branding and Design Director and Teddy
Stephanie North, Branding and Design Director and Teddy
Cheryl Samantha Ellis, Production Director and Bentley
Cheryl Samantha Ellis, Production Director and Bentley

SM: Which are your bestselling items?

Emma: Our personalised tee and handmade leggings are our best sellers. Our customers like the personal touch and as each item is made to order so they know they are getting something unique.

SM: And which do your own children like best?

Emma: Our little ones are currently only 10 months so they let Mummy know best for now but our ‘Happy until HANGRY’ tee was inspired by our Branding & Design Director – Steph’s son Teddy – for sure, he loves his food every 3 hours without fail…

Emma Murray ,PR and Marketing Director and Arthur
Emma Murray ,PR and Marketing Director and Arthur

SM: Where does your design inspiration come from?

Emma: We all discuss as a team and decide on a theme to fit the time of year and often collate inspirational images and quotes all year round. Steph then works her magic and we all pick together. We are very lucky as we all have the same tastes and normally agree on the same ones – we are very lucky to have such a great team.

SM: What considerations go into the garment creation?

Emma: We always pick soft, organic material that we know washes well, prevents fading and lasts. All our products are given the official
‘Mum test’ before releasing any products to market which includes numerous wear and tear by our little ones at nursery, crawling, washing, ironing – you name it. It’s important for parents to know that they are usable on a daily basis. Once approved our Production Director Cheryl gets to work and spends numerous hours hand-making everything from leggings, skirts, personalised dolls etc…

SM: What are the biggest challenges for you, running the business? 

Emma: Juggling everyday life, being Mums, plus all our personal commitments is always the biggest challenge – isn’t it for everyone?!  But we love it and wouldn’t have it any other way…

SM: And your proudest moment?

Emma: Being accepted by Not On The High Street and selling our items internationally due to demand is definitely one of our proudest moments for sure. We still pinch ourselves daily that we are doing this and people like our clothing – It’s such an amazing feeling and we are so humbled.

SM: Which celeb kids would you like to see wearing Oh Arthur?

image: xposure

Emma: Fearne Cotton’s little ones would be cool but hand on heart all the Mums and Dads who send pictures of their children to us daily wearing our clothing are little celebs in their own right. Children from all over the world are wearing Oh Arthur – there’s no better feeling than that – they make our brand without a doubt…

SM: And finally (we had to ask) in your world, is everything black and white…?

Emma: Haha not everything, we would if we could. Don’t get us wrong, we love a splash of colour, but there is something about Monochrome, plus is goes with everything. But no, our homes are not just black and white, but we are working on it…

image: Louth Leader

Shop online at Oh Arthur.

Boutique Focus: Sarah K

SARAHK create beautiful linens for dining, bedroom and nursery – including delightful prints, embroidery and monogramming. We caught up with Sarah Kostoris and found out a bit more about her crisp, high thread count world…

SM: How did the company come about?

Sarah Kostoris: My husband (boyfriend at the time) was offered a job in Mumbai, India in 2008 and I decided to take the plunge and follow him. I worked for a luxury travel company before the move, specialising in South America – but have always loved fabrics and textiles. During our two years in India I spent my time sourcing hand crafted products and built up a network of craftsmen and women, a lot of whom I still work with today. I started out designing coats and jackets which I had made in wonderful Indian fabrics in a small workshop in Mumbai. I then migrated to sourcing scarves and shawls before finding my current supplier of hand embroidered linens – a family run business in West Bengal just north of Calcutta. We moved back to London in 2010 and since then the business has developed and expanded to include hand woven and hand block printed products, most recently the printed Little Ones collection of quilts and play mats. 

SM: Which are your best selling items?

Sarah Kostoris: We must have one of the largest selections of baby pillowcases in the UK, and these are extremely popular. We recently introduced a monogramming/personalising service which makes these a lovely new baby present which will last forever. Our new hand blocked printed range of children’s play mats and quilts are also among our best selling items.
SM: Which do your own family like the best?

Sarah Kostoris: My husband’s favourite is the peacock feather bedlinen, but he loves sleeping so he would choose that! My 2 year old daughter loves the yellow duck quilt, and insists on being wrapped in it when we put her to bed.

SM: What’s on your moodboard right now? 

Sarah Kostoris: Some lovely pastel coloured linen for new table linen and hand towels, and a fun new sailing boat print design for quilts. I also have some new embroidery designs that I’m working up.
SM: What considerations go into items in the Little Ones collection?

Sarah Kostoris: All of the Little Ones collection has to be machine washable, and as soft as possible. The quilts are made using lovely soft cotton voile.
SM: What are the biggest challenges, running the business?

Sarah Kostoris: Working with rural craftsmen and manufacturing on a small scale in India and more recently Vietnam, is always tricky – production can sometimes be delayed due to religious festivals or the monsoon weather which can be frustrating. Whilst most of my suppliers do speak English (and I have a few words of Hindi in an emergency!), there are inevitably misunderstandings! Outside of that, I suppose the challenges are similar to most small businesses – a never ending to do list and not enough time to do it in, so prioritising it important.  
SM: And your proudest moment?

Sarah Kostoris: It’s not really one moment but the step by step development of the business that I’m most proud of – from starting out with a micro budget, through to becoming a mother and balancing the demands of raising a child and running a business, an
d recently taking on my first employees.

Editor’s pick: we’re loving the pretty range of scarves, perfect for Spring cover-up…

Shop online here.

Images: Sarah K

Boutique Focus: Florrie and Max

We’ve coveted the deliciousness of Florrie & Max frillies for a long time now and we love the fab unisex tees and leggings too – so were delighted when founder Claire took time to tell us all about the business she now runs full time after being made redundant whilst pregnant (if you didn’t say ‘up yours!’ to your former employers Claire, we are saying it for you!)


SM: How did Florrie & Max come about?
Claire: Florrie & Max started life in July 2013 under its former name of Itsy Bits Children’s Boutique. I was on maternity leave from my job as an accountant at the time and, after scouring the high street and the internet, I spotted a gap in the market for affordable, brightly coloured frilly pants to cover nappies. The business started on a bit of a whim (probably not advisable!) with a wholesale order of 100 pairs of ‘frillies’ which sold out within 4 days of me launching the website. Since then we have expanded into tutus, tights and our collaboration with The Princess & The Frock.

SM: Which are your bestselling items?
Claire: Best sellers vary from week to week and season to season but ever popular are the frillies and our handmade leggings by The Princess & The Frock.

SM: And which items does Elsa like best?
Claire: Elsa loves the new range of handmade dresses which will be launching at the end of February. She always enjoys it when we work with Claire from The Princess & The Frock as I let her look into new fabrics with me. Even at just 3 years old she likes to be involved! Also despite not being a girly girl she does love a tutu!

SM: What are the biggest challenges, running the business?

Claire: I now run Florrie & Max ‘full time’ after being made redundant whilst pregnant with 10 month Ted. So time is probably the biggest challenge at the moment. My ‘to do’ list is ever growing and my plans to grow Florrie & Max often suffer because I don’t have the time to invest. However, I wouldn’t change anything; despite working until the early hours several times a week I get to spend all day with my children. 
SM: And your proudest moment…?

Claire: That’s really quite tricky as I am proud of so much I have achieved in the last two and a half years. I think what’s made me proudest is that I have managed to take a whim of an idea and turn it into my full time job. Hopefully we will continue to grow and grow and I will be able to continue to be with my children through the day and spend the evenings working on Florrie & Max.

SM: Where did the name come from?

Claire: After launching as Itsy Bits Children’s Boutique in 2013 I was never entirely happy with the name. It wasn’t really me and was something I pondered changing several times. After having Ted in April 2015 I decided that it was time to make the change and Florrie & Max was born. Named after my very own Elsa Florence and Ted Maxwell.
SM:  What made you decide to offer free postage on all items?

Claire: As a regular internet shopper there is nothing more frustrating that having to search a website top to bottom to find out how much the shipping charge is going to be. I have abandoned many a shopping cart due to extortionate shipping charges at checkout. So I felt quite strongly that the price you see is the price you will pay, no sneaky extras, no shocks when you come to payment.

SM: What’s next for the business?

Claire: We have the Spring collaboration with The Princess & The Frock launching at the end of February which is very exciting. Despite not being able to sew a stitch this collaboration allows me to be creative as I select all the fabrics and work on styles and designs with an expert in The Princess & The Frock.

I am also in talks about stocking a few other small, independent brands and I am always looking to develop unisex and boys ranges to counter the ‘girliness’ of all the frills!

Shop online at Florrie and Max

Boutique Focus: Sand and Seagulls

Go ahead and accuse us of California dreamin… Well, browsing holiday sites at any rate! Somewhere along the line we discovered the charming jewellery boutique Sand and Seagulls and we were enchanted.

We caught up with Zoe Payne (who runs the company with partner Ash) for a chat about chips, beach weddings and being beside the seaside…


SM: How did Sand and Seagulls come about?

Zoe: Sand and Seagulls was formed in July 2013 by Zoe and Ash Payne. We have lived by the seaside all our lives and so have a real love of the beach. So much so, in August 2010 when we got married we had a seaside themed wedding with all things beachy from a VW camper to a fish & chips evening buffet!

When Rudy, our eldest son, came along in December 2012 this gave Zoe the opportunity and idea (in-between naps and nappy changes!) to get creative again. In the evenings after work Ash learnt how to make a website, so we put our new found skills together and created Sand and Seagulls. Why Sand and Seagulls? – Because they’re the things we love about the seaside, and Rudy shares this too as he loves to watch the seagulls!

Now on maternity leave again with the latest addition to our family, Felix, who knows what the future may hold.

SM: Which are your bestselling items?

Zoe: My most popular necklaces are my Sandcastle necklace and my Silver Star necklace .

My Anchors Away cufflinks (below right) are also proving to be very popular at the moment…

SM: And which do your own family like the best?

Zoe: Most of my female family members have my Just Beachy Bracelet  (below) and I especially like this one too as it was one of my first Sand and Seagulls pieces. 

SM: What have been your biggest challenges, running a family and a business?

Zoe: Time!! I want to give my children all of me and the best of me but sometimes I have to stay behind at home while Daddy takes them out for an afternoon of fun or try and finish an order or two while CBeebies is on!! It’s all about the bigger picture though and I wouldn’t change a thing. 
SM: And what has been your proudest moment?

Zoe: In Summer 2015 I was approached to make some bespoke necklaces for a lady’s three bridesmaids. I was nervous and excited at the same time and they turned out perfectly! I was so proud when a few weeks after the wedding I was sent a wedding photograph of the bridesmaids wearing my necklaces; felt to proud and honoured.
SM: What’s on your moodboard right now?

Zoe: Ideas, Ideas and more ideas! I want to take Sand and Seagulls to the next level in 2016 so I’m throwing lots of different ideas out there… All seaside themed of course!
SM: And finally… what’s your favourite thing about the seaside? 

Zoe: I love the roar and the crash of the waves; I could sit and watch them for hours!

Editor’s pick: we love the Summer Life rings in heavenly green Amazonite…

Perfect for a Boho-beach outfit (just add flip flops and a long kaftan.)

Browse the collection at Sand and Seagulls.

Images courtesy of Sand and Seagulls.

Boutique Focus: Fine Young Things

Andy and Eleni set up childrenswear boutique Fine Young Things as they wanted to create a retail hub for luxury items that would last – and still be loved as hand me downs. They also realised how difficult trawling a shopping mall can be with little ones in tow (and they should know, as they have three of their own!)

We caught up with them to find out more about Fine Young Things and the challenges they have overcome.

SM: Tell us what makes Fine Young Things special?

Andy and Eleni: As parents to three growing boys we have over the years struggled to find quality clothing on the UK high street. With family from all over Europe we soon discovered that the choice for kids-wear is formidable abroad. You can find that “something a bit different” and that’s what we aim to do. Best of all, the quality is so good that clothes our 8 year old wore are now worn by our 3 year old. Everyone loves a “hand me down”.  To facilitate the shopping experience we’ve developed our very own look-book idea to help visualise outfits and how items can be mixed and matched.

SM: How do you choose which labels to stock?

Andy and Eleni: First and foremost we are looking for high quality and great style and unusual designs. As a first step we’ve spent time selecting some trendy fashion labels from all over the globe for boys & girls, ages 0 to 12 years. There’s recognisable labels such as Billieblush, Billybandit & Garcia Kids but we’ve also introduced some fabulous brands relatively new to the UK market such as Sticky-Fudge from South Africa & Carrement Beau from France.
SM: Which are your bestselling items?

Andy and Eleni: That really varies from week to week. At the moment party wear for boys and girls is going strong. So faux fur coats, party dresses as well as hats, coats and scarves.
SM: And which items do your own children love most?

Andy and Eleni: I must say they have acquired quite a few pieces that they’ve taken a fancy to! They each have their own style.  My eldest likes a smarter, more formal style with jeans and a funky checked shirt whereas the other two love to be casual and mostly go for the fun tees and soft hoodies.
SM: What are your biggest challenges as a business?

Andy and Eleni: Juggling our jobs and the new business and our three boys. But it’s a challenge we are embracing. We talked about doing this for so many years and now we’re loving sourcing new products and labels and getting great customer feedback which is just brilliant.
SM: And what has been your proudest moment?

Andy and Eleni: It is early days as we only launched this summer – on the date of our tenth anniversary as we wanted to make the date extra special! Our boys loved getting involved on photo-shoots and have made lovely models and our family have been incredibly supportive. We’re just very proud of them and our achievements so far.
SM:  What’s next for Fine Young Things?

Andy and Eleni: We will be bringing more beautiful children’s wear brands online such as DOT Portugal and some exclusive made to order ceremony pieces from Greece, so watch this space!

Editor’s pick: we’ve fallen for this dandy blue boy’s blazer, perfect for Xmas parties …

Order online from Fine Young Things

Images: FYT