Every Saturday I am featuring a different small business, getting to know a little more about the business and the people behind the brands! So I'm really excited to bring you another gorgeous business this week and an incredible business owner: Cristina from Wish & Wonder
I had the opportunity this week to ask Cristina some questions so you can get to know more about her and her fabulous business. I hope that by reading this interview you may find another small business to support or if you're interested in maybe starting your own business, you may find some inspiration here too...
My name is Cristina & I am the Founder & Creative Director of Wish + Wonder. We are a premium Girlswear brand that specialises in contemporary heirloom pieces catering from 6 months to 6 years.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I have a sweet tooth so anything milk chocolate, praline or sea salt and caramel flavour.
What makes your business a little different from the rest?
All the collections are ‘Limited Edition’ and I scour the globe to find the most luxurious prints, embroideries, laces and trims. Each piece is designed exclusively in house with comfortability and femininity in mind. I have spent a long time working on fit solution garments during my 24 year career in Womenswear so it was natural for me to create pieces that are designed to be adjustable allowing the garment to grow when the little ones grow. As you know children grow up so fast, so the more times they can wear that garment, the more memories they can make. It’s for this reason I decided to focus on making my quality is second to none so they last and can be passed down from generation to generation.
What TV show could you happily lose a day bingeing on?
My husband and I are currently watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine. As they are only 20 minutes long, you end up watching about 4 or 5 in a row, which is dangerous, but they are so hilarious and there have been many nights we are crying with laughter.
We also recently watched ‘The Last Dance’ was incredible to watch and learn about Michael Jordan’s drive, skill and determination. He was an unbelievable athlete and such an icon. It also brought back a lot of memories of me as a teenager watching NBA games on Channel 4 at 3am back in the 90’s as the games would be playing live from America.
What is an absolute non-negotiable in your day?
My daughter comes first. Doesn’t matter what is happening with the business that day, if she needs me; I drop everything. Once everything has been sorted I normally then work late into the evening and early hours to finish all my work.
Tell us one thing about your business that you are most proud of?
We were featured in British Vogue magazine last November in their ‘Forever Young’ edit. That was a real pinch me moment as I have been an avid collector of Vogue since a young girl. I think my earliest edition I still have in my collection is from 1991.
What topic would you speak about if you were asked to give a TED talk on something outside of your main area of expertise?
I love cooking and cuisine from all around the world. If I have to specialise further then I would talk specifically on Greek Cypriot dishes. I have grown up learning from my grandmother, mother and aunties who are/were the most talented and knowledgeable chefs.
What’s your favourite ever product that you currently sell or have sold?
Our Delphine pleated tutu dress. It was the most complex to design and make, as the whole garment is fancy pleated. The light and buttery tulle dances underneath the sewing machine so you need to take extra care when gathering the pleats! It also was very reminiscent of Parisienne 50’s dresses with the polka dots, bows and a cinched waist.
What is the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve made? Could be an investment of money, time, energy, or other re-source. How did you decide to make the investment?
By far it has to be the quality of the fabrics. Some of the laces and embroideries are super expensive and luxurious as they are from the same places the couturiers purchase theirs. They make up into the most stunning dresses though so are definitely worthwhile. Our Agatha lace dress was one of our best sellers and flew out when we launched.
What’s been the biggest change to you and your business during this crazy Covid-19 lockdown?
Having to cram an 8 hour working day during my daughter’s 2 hour lunch nap. It has been a bit of a struggle to juggle running the business and being a full time mother. She is also a very inquisitive and energetic two year old who keeps me on my toes! I was lucky before Lockdown to have my Mother-in Law and husband help me. She had also just started nursery three weeks prior to the pandemic, which she loved, but sadly we had to stop. Hopefully soon we can all go back to some kind of routine and normality.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
The fact that I have the freedom to design things I am passionate about and be creative with each collection.
What do you or would you outsource if you could?
Social media is a whole job in itself. I do really enjoy building the brand and having a presence. You do really need to be consistent and create original content regularly to try and stay current.
Who or what inspires you?
It could be anything from nature, in particular flowers or a couturier fashion exhibition I’ve been waiting for. My favourite thing that inspires me above all is when I am travelling.
I’ve been so lucky in my past career to travel around the globe. I love exploring markets or cobbled streets watching the locals in far away places. My favourite market is the Bohemian fashion market in Santa Eularia, Ibiza. I’ve picked up so many textiles, clothing and trinkets over the years that still inspire me today.
What’s your favourite podcast or book that’s helped you with an area of your business?
I’ll be honest, I don’t listen to podcasts and I much rather prefer to speak to friends I have made over the years who are experts in their craft. I’m fortunate to have met some really inspiring people in fashion over the past two decades. So having a conversation over coffee or a good old chat on the phone really helps me focus and re evaluate every time I need some support. I value their opinions and it’s also nice to hear their thoughts on the business so I can keep growing and learning. My old university tutor once said to me ‘once you stop learning, you might as well just stop. There’s always things you can learn to do better.’
Do you have a favourite quote or just one you really like? Why do you like it?
‘If you are going to do something, do it properly or don’t do it at all.’
I’m an all or nothing kind of person, I find it hard to just do something half heartedly… probably explains why I’m so exhausted all of the time!
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out with their business or wanting to start, what would it be?
It is very rewarding, however it’s not an easy ride. You have to have a lot of determination and drive to make it work. Planning is also key as you really need to be clear who your customer is and how you will stand out from the rest.
Do you have any new products that you’re excited to tell people about?
We’ve just launched two new floral prints and one of them is in our first ever, wide leg jumpsuit. I’m excited to add another piece to the collection. Up till now, we’ve focused on making ourselves the perfect dress destination.
So there you have it guys, I really hope you have enjoyed learning more about Cristina and her gorgeous business, if you'd like to find out more, you can visit her online shop at www.wishandwonder.co.uk and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest at @wishandwonderlondon.
Cristina attends pop up shops, markets and events around London and the surrounding counties and announce the dates on their website & social media so you can go and visit their mini boutique for the day.
Lastly, they also attend Wholesale tradeshows like INDX Kidswear, for anyone interested in carrying Wish + Wonder and becoming an official stockist.
If you run a small business and would like to be featured here on another Shop Small Saturday Guest Blog, please get in touch.
Happy Saturday and thank you for supporting small businesses,