I was recently searching for Liberty print children and baby items and stumbled upon this incredible brand on Instagram. The charm of the designs instantly had me hooked and when I investigated further on their Etsy shop I discovered that the brand had been set up by a first time Mum on maternity leave.
After giving up work and trying to set up a little business on my own I am constantly in awe of any mother who has made the leap into the unknown and started up their dream whilst also managing to keep a little human alive. Let alone making a huge success of it!
I am beyond thrilled to introduce you to Emily, the inspirational mother behind Emily & Heath who has so kindly shared her secrets with us…
Frilly Pretty Things – “Have you always been interested in sewing and design?”
Emily & Heath – “Yes, since I was very young. I’ve always loved making and creating. My Mum is trained in dressmaking and pattern cutting, and she’s passed those skilled onto me over the years. I still go to her if I get stuck with something! I have fond memories of her appliqueing Liberty print creatures onto my clothes as a child, which gave me the idea for many of my designs.”
Frilly Pretty Things – “What did you do before you started up Emily & Heath and was it hard to make the decision not to go back to work?”
Emily & Heath – “I used to run my own clothes shop from 2006-2009, so being self-employed isn’t completely new to me. I found that with having a shop, the overheads were too high for such a small business, and I was very young, so I called it a day after three years. I’ve certainly learnt a lot from that!
I’ve worked in retail for most of my adult life, but for the last few years before starting Emily & Heath, I worked in a bank. In some ways it was a difficult decision to leave; it certainly didn’t seem like the sensible option to give up a secure, relatively well payed job to begin something from scratch. On the other hand though, I wasn’t happy and I felt stifled – I was desperate to do something more creative. Then there was Heath! I simply couldn’t imagine leaving him and going out to work. I hated the idea packing him off to nursery each day, and missing his first words, or first steps. Working from home was an easy decision in that respect.”
Frilly Pretty Things – “How long has Emily & Heath been up and running?”
Emily & Heath – “I opened the Etsy shop in June of this year. I wanted to get it up and running before my maternity leave ended, that way I could have an idea of whether or not I could viably quit my job.”
Frilly Pretty Things – “How did you get started with Emily & Heath? (I absolutely love the name!)”
Emily & Heath – “It’s been an idea of mine for quite a while, but it really got started after I had my son Heath in Novemebr 2014. I began making clothes and bibs for him, and I received so many lovely compliments. It certainly helps to have my own little guy to model and test my designs for quality and fit. Also, I found that children’s clothes on the high street can be so limited – especially for little boys. It’s quite difficult to find something a little more individual without it costing the earth. In terms of the name, Emily & Heath was the obvious choice – we’re a two-man band! I like that it’s personal to us, and I hope that when he grows up he can proud that he’s a part of it.”
Frilly Pretty Things – “What was your goal when you started up?”
Emily & Heath – “Looking back, it’s hard to remember what I expected from Emily & Heath. What I wanted was quite simple; to be able to work from home, and make enough to keep us in food and nappies…and Liberty fabric! Etsy is the perfect platform for that, and I’m still so excited whenever I get a new follower, or when someone ‘favourites’ an item. Now I’ve got going, I realize there is so much potential, and the further I go with it, the further I want to get. Back in June I never imagined doing an interview for a blog, for example. And last month I was in fits of giggles when a local lifestyle store Armstrong Ward got in touch with me to stock my bibs – seeing Emily & Heath in their window display gave me a real confidence boost!”
Frilly Pretty Things – “There is so much competition in the childrens clothing and accessories market, how are you making Emily & Heath stand out and get noticed”
Emily & Heath – “I agree, there’s a great deal of competition around, and the use of Liberty print fabric in children’s clothing is certainly not unique to Emily & Heath, but for me it’s the only fabric I’d want to use! I do think it is hard to stand out, especially being so new to the market, but I try to keep Emily and Heath products at an affordable price, and I always use only the highest quality fabrics. I’ve collected a lot of Liberty fabric over years, so I have quite a range – I think that helps, I think people like choice, and appreciate having something no one else has. I’ve worked hard to create a solid brand, utilizing tools like Instagram and Facebook – that also gives people more of an insight into who we are. From the feedback I’ve received, I‘ve learnt that people love the personal touch and they really appreciate the care that has gone into designing and making my products. I think in recent years there has been a bit of a shift in the way people buy; people really seem to appreciate one-off pieces created by small, independent business.”
Frilly Pretty Things – “Do you have plans to launch more designs?”
Emily & Heath – “I’m always thinking about new designs, and now I feel like I’ve got a good range of children’s, I have plans to make more products for adults. In the pipeline I have sleep masks, toiletry bags and hair accessories…all made from Liberty of course!” *Emily has informed me that she’ll be adding children’s long sleeved tees and sweatshirts to the range very soon ready for the colder months. Yippee!
Frilly Pretty Things – “How do you manage work with looking after Heath?”
Emily & Heath – “It can be a bit of a juggling act! A lot of my work does get done at nap-times, but I’m very lucky to have both sets of grandparents close by, so they also help me with the odd day a week so that I can catch up. My husband recently made me a little studio in a corner of his workshop, so that’s really helpful to have – it means I can get out of the house and spend some real time making, rather than constantly breaking off to go and empty the washing machine or do the hoovering.”
Frilly Pretty Things – “What advice would you give to fellow mothers who are considering starting up on their own?”
Emily & Heath – “I think the only thing I would say is to just try it out first! It’s risky and stressful to just quit your job and hope for the best, so being on maternity leave and having that time to test the water was a brilliant way to ease into it. If I hadn’t become pregnant with Heath I would probably still be working at my old job, I would’ve been too wary to just leave and start something new. It also helps being able to live quite frugally whilst everything gets going – but honestly, it’s one of the best decisions I ever made!”
Here’s what Poppy and I think…
The choice of designs, fit and price are so spot on. The t-shirts wash so well and are made from a ribbed cotton that allows for a bit of much needed give when wrestling with a small person to get them dressed.
We are in love with the personalised body suit and dribble bib gift sets. So perfect for a newborn gift.
We chose the bunny in purple ‘Betsy’ and whale in blue ‘Betsy’.
*Caveat* I know Pops looks like a total scruff bag with crazy hair and mud smeared across her face in these pics but that seems to how she rolls for 99% of the day at the moment (I promise I do wash her and brush her hair!). The other 1% is when I have literally just got her dressed which means it’s nigh on impossible to get a ‘nice’ photo and definitely impossible to get one where she’s doing what I actually want. Add into the mix a reluctance to go any speed other than turbo and you will understand why these pics look like they do.
Emily & Heath Liberty Appliqué whale t-shirt – £11
Boden Bloomers – Bought at the very end of the sale for £10. They now have these cord versions in stock.
Mothercare Frilly socks – £5 for a pack of 3
See what I mean? That hair was brushed and neat before we left the house!
And this t-shirt was tucked in!
Emily & Heath Liberty Appliqué bunny t-shirt – £11
John Lewis short bloomers – I bought these at the beginning of the year in the winter sale in preparation for Poppy growing into them. These shorts are a similar design and currently in the sale at £5 (I love John Lewis sales!).
Mothercare Frilly socks – £5 for a pack of 3
Jojo Maman Bebe Ditsy floral leggings (seen below) – £15 for a pack of two
The only place where she will sit still for longer than a second – the boot of the car!
Oh wait, she’s sitting still! Grab the camera!
Aaaaaand she’s off.