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?