Every Saturday I am featuring a different small business, getting to know a little more about the business and the people behind the brands! This week I interview the lovely Emma from Small But Mighty Clothing.
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...
Hello! I’m Emma the designer and maker behind Small But Mighty Clothing. I handmake children’s wear from 0-3m up to 3-4yrs specialising in Bloomers, Rompers, Bonnets and Hair Accessories. I only work with the best 100% Cotton or Linen and design our clothes to be hard wearing and grow with your child.
I started the business two years ago after my making some clothes for my niece. I had trained as a professional costume maker and worked in Theatre and the West End but I was getting restless in my Wardrobe role and was feeling the urge to be more creative independently. So after a lot of faffing and nerves I took the plunge and concentrated my energy into building Small But Mighty.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
It has got to be cake. Pretty much any cake, I can’t resist!
What makes your business a little different from the rest?
I would say it’s because everything is designed and handmade by me. All my garments and accessories are handmade from patterns I designed and drafted so they are completely original. I’m very fussy with fabrics, and they need to be the very best quality. Similarly the finish is so important to me, an item should be as beautiful on the inside as the outside. I also enjoy creating unisex designs to give a wide range of choice but also allows for clothes to be handed down and reused from sibling to sibling. To me quality, style and finish is key.
What TV show could you happily lose a day bingeing on?
For something in the back ground it’s got to be Friends, I’ve seen them so many times I can quote most episodes. But for a day on the sofa… probably Mad Men. I chose to study Costume at University so any costume drama and I’m there. I can just get lost in all the clothes!
What is an absolute non-negotiable in your day?
Tea. Honestly without a cup of tea I’m no use to anyone.
Tell us one thing about your business that you are most proud of?
Probably that it’s still going. When I first started I remember daydreaming of how amazing it would be to be where I am now, thinking it was just a dream and it would probably run its course before even hitting 2K followers. But the hard work is paying off. I put everything into this business, I still work full time and continue to juggle Small But Mighty with my home life and I can honestly say I’ve never been busier or happier.
What topic would you speak about if you were asked to give a TED talk on something outside of your main area of expertise?
Oh I don’t know… tea, cake, tea and cake? I love exploring sleepy towns and little restaurants so maybe that?
What’s your favourite ever product that you currently sell or have sold?
Probably my Rompers. I was asked to make a pair of dungarees for a custom first birthday outfit a year or so ago and having always wanted to make rompers I drafted a pattern and just fell in love with the style. I love how versatile they are and how much my customers love them. I’d have to say the Leopard Print are my favourites.
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?
I’d have to say my packaging. From the very beginning I refused to post in plastic packaging. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s good value for money, easy to use etc and often the best option for a small business. But after seeing how much plastic is used and wasted in packaging during my costume career I made a promise to myself that my packaging would be recyclable. My packaging tape was a big investment as it had to be purchased in bulk, so I told myself I wasn’t allowed to give up on the business after ordering it or all Christmas presents would be wrapped with it for the next 10 years!
What’s been the biggest change to you and your business during this crazy Covid-19 lockdown?
Having to leave my studio. My studio is at my mum's house and when lockdown came in I had to relocate to my little box room at home and have been living in there the last 4 months. It’s certainly cosy, being less than half the size of my usual studio and I can reach everything without even moving from my chair. But whilst I have been moved out the studio has finally been redecorated and kitted out with a new cutting table and storage so when I move back in it will be even better than before.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
The choice. I love having the choice of what to design, and create. What to release, when to release it. Also, I love a happy dance!
What do you or would you outsource if you could?
I’d love an accountant. I’ve got much better at dedicating time regularly to it, but I’d always rather be sewing or designing something new.
Who or what inspires you?
Other Small businesses. I love seeing other brands strive and put their creativity out into the world. I love the small business community and the way we all support and encourage each other. It inspires me to keep pushing myself to take risks and explore ideas.
What’s your favourite podcast or book that’s helped you with an area of your business?
I read a book a while back that spoke about deciding what really mattered in life and realising what didn’t matter as much. It helped me to see what things are worth my energy and what aren’t. Where I should dedicate my time and where I shouldn’t. I find it really hard to say no as I never want to disappoint anyone but I’m starting to understand that sometimes, other things and putting yourself first are more important.
Do you have a favourite quote or just one you really like? Why do you like it?
It’s got to be ‘Though she be but little, she is fierce’ – Shakespeare. It’s a little bit of me.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out with their business or wanting to start, what would it be?
Go for it. I’d say take some time, do your research. But most importantly make sure you absolutely love what you do. If you are passionate about it, it can be so rewarding. Not everyone will like what you do but understand that that’s ok and not to take it to heart.
Do you have any new products that you’re excited to tell people about?
I recently launched my new bubble romper which has been so popular for all this sunny weather. I love this unisex garment as it’s so versatile. Team it with a long sleeve top and socks or tights to get the wear out of it all year round. I’ve also been working on my new AW20 range and plan to release in the next month or so.
So there you have it guys, I really hope you have enjoyed learning more about Emma and her awesome business, if you'd like to find out more, you can visit her Etsy shop here and follow her on Instagram @smallbutmightyclothing
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,