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 fabulous business and a lovely business owner: Jen from Little Pip England.
I had the opportunity this week to ask Jen 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...
Hello!! I’m Jen, I am the designer maker and creator of Little Pip, one of a kind & heirloom children’s wear & accessories made from individually sourced vintage textiles and trims. This is very different from my career prior to becoming a Mummy in 2017 – designing mens knitwear for high street fashion brand Reiss!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
A chocolate rummage during the night whilst warming milk up for my Daughter (yes still doing this with her now age 3 – the chocolate makes it more bearable!)
What makes your business a little different from the rest?
Every single piece I make is entirely unique, even if 2 designs are made from the same fabric each one will be very different. You can choose from a range of designs that I suggest for your chosen fabric or allow me to surprise you!
What TV show could you happily lose a day bingeing on?
I don’t watch a lot of TV really as when the evening comes I usually head out to the studio to cut or sew or I’m sketching/sourcing fabrics & trims! But I do occasionally binge or catch up… Ben Fogle: Lives in the wild, Escape to the chateau or Gardeners World!! I find all of them creatively inspiring, a little bit dream worldly and so relaxing!
What is an absolute non-negotiable in your day?
Totally cliché but coffee to start ALWAYS!!
Tell us one thing about your business that you are most proud of?
I’m really proud that my business is sustainable by nature, that I’m recycling, re-loving, re-purposing and I follow this through to other areas of my business such as my packaging & labelling being 100% recyclable or made from organic cotton and printed with eco friendly dyes. I’m also proud that I’m hopefully rekindling an admiration for handcraft, vintage techniques (embroidery for example) and also saving these beautiful textiles from going to waste!
What topic would you speak about if you were asked to give a TED talk on something outside of your main area of expertise?
Ideas about sustainable and alternative living. Blending living and learning in the wild, being at one with nature as part of a balanced family lifestyle and a way of keeping us grounded in an ever-evolving commercialised world! (A bit of Ben Fogle influence here!)
What’s your favourite ever product that you currently sell or have sold?
My favourite things to make are dresses! And Christmas pieces!
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?
Investing in the conversion of our garage into my studio was by far the most worthwhile! Prior to this working on the dining table was just chaos with a toddler around, never being able to tidy up properly and never having enough space! I now have storage and work space that’s away from the house, my Daughter Olivia still pops in to see what I’m doing if she’s at home with Daddy whilst I’m working, but its much more safe with pins, scissors, sewing machines and an iron around!
What’s been the biggest change to you and your business during this crazy Covid-19 lockdown?
My business has grown immensely over the last couple of months! I’m really blown away by everyone’s support and can’t believe I’m actually living my dream of having a business from home, which I can work around my family. It’s been a steep learning curve managing the workload of hand-making everything whilst home with my Daughter. I would say I’m still learning about that!!
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
My absolute favourite thing and my reason for starting out is being able to work from home and around my family. Going from a career pre-motherhood that allowed very little movement or personal time, my life is very different now!
What do you or would you outsource if you could?
I am now looking to outsource some website & social media maintenance as well as accounting! There’s never enough hours in the day for all the above and the making!
Who or what inspires you?
I’m very inspired by the nostalgia and aesthetic of many eras of vintage! My mum and I believe we’ve been here before! I find so much happiness and wonder in objects from another time, inspired by their beauty and their story! My Mum inspires me hugely with a ‘keep going’ attitude and is probably where this fascination with vintage originally came from!
What’s your favourite podcast or book that’s helped you with an area of your business?
It may seem odd and a bit disjointed from what I do but intrigued by the mindset and strength of the SAS after watching a couple of episodes of ‘SAS who dares wins’ with my Husband, I went on to read Ant Middleton’s first biography ‘First man in’! And although a TOTALLY different scenario, his way of thinking and control has really helped me to push past what I often think are my limits, dream bigger, be more confident, not to shy away but to stand up and just go for it! I really recommend giving it a read! I felt like I could take on the world after the first couple of chapters!!
Do you have a favourite quote or just one you really like? Why do you like it?
‘Do what you can with what you have where you are’ is my favourite quote. Sometimes things do a feel a little out of reach, some days being your own boss leaves you lacking in the team spirit that often spurs you on, but I always live by this quote. A small achievement nearly always leads to bigger ones!
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out with their business or wanting to start, what would it be?
Make sure you ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! Make sure it sets your soul on fire, inspires you, brings you joy, however you want to put it… in my opinion you’ve got to be obsessed with it to have the energy & will power needed to keep working at it, to get it up and running and to keep it going! If you don’t ‘feel’ it enough, it’ll be a challenge that you don’t feel the benefit of!
Do you have any new products that you’re excited to tell people about?
I’m currently closed for orders to catch up before my Autumn fabric collection launch at the end of August, after learning a lot about what appeals to my lovely customers the most over the last couple of months I’m really excited to have started sourcing fabrics and can’t wait to complete the collection and share with everyone!
Details of my Autumn fabric collection will be announced across all social media channels and slots for your very own one of a kind heirloom design will be available to order through my website from the date & time advertised! I’d love to hear your views on my current designs, and fabrics please feel free to comment on any of my previous posts or DM!
So there you have it guys, I really hope you have enjoyed learning more about Jen and her lovely business, if you'd like to find out more, you can visit her online shop at www.littlepipengland.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram @littlepipengland.
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,