Confession time. Love It Love It Love It is a sham. Six years ago, when ideas of starting a business began forming in my mind, they were all around designing & manufacturing a range of clothes for babies and kids. Initial research soon showed me that doing this would require technical knowledge and capital that I didn't have. So, plan B came in to action; open a store selling the kind of things I'd want in my own range in order to build up the necessary knowledge and capital, and develop the range once my then baby daughter started school.
Well, that baby is now coming up to Year 2 at school, and the store has been so busy, my good intentions have hardly had a look in. Back in January, I confided all of this to one of my very favourite suppliers, Kate Pietrasik of Tootsa MacGinty, and she very kindly offered to let me accompany her on her Portuguese factory visits to check on sample development for their Spring/Summer 2015 range - a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the design, development and manufacture process and make valuable contacts.
Not only was it a great business trip, with (I hope) both of us learning from each other, it was just a great trip. There was time for shopping, drinking, bacalhau and putting the world to rights.
When Kate first launched Tootsa MacGinty a couple of years ago, I was both delighted and insanely jealous. She was doing just what I wanted to do - a colourful, unisex, ethically produced range of good quality kids clothes, and damn her, she was doing it really, really well! It was so generous of her to let me see the nuts & bolts of her business knowing all of that. I'll be eternally grateful for that.
Not only did I see first hand that you're in for a real treat with Tootsa's SS15 collection, but also that it's made by talented, creative people working in conditions that any of us would be pleased with. How's this for a view from a factory window?
The trip has left me in a spin, to be honest. It was hugely inspiring, and taught me at once that developing a clothing range is both way simpler and way more complex than I ever imagined, but by coming out of the closet, I can't go back in. It will take a while, but watch this space.....