I am getting so excited to launch our brand Lil&Izzy & online shop Lil & Izzy Boutique. The past 8 months have been hectic to say the least! I decided to write my first blog post on starting up Lil&Izzy Boutique, from my initial idea to where we are now. I hope you like it!
When I had my first baby Lily nearly four years ago, I wasn’t quite ready for the burst of love that filled my heart every time I looked at her little face. She was such a doll, dainty, petite and full of character! While on maternity leave I had so many business ideas running through my head! I saw many gaps in the market for lots of products and services, from maternity wear to mum & baby events. Sure enough, the first seven months of her little life flew in and I was back to work, adjusting to another new routine, commuting and traveling a lot, and wishing for the weekend where we could spend time as a family where I got to enjoy every second of her. All my ideas were stored in my head, for when I had ‘time’ to think about them again…
Three years later Isabelle came along, all 9.5lbs of her! She is our ‘little squish’ as Lily calls her & she settled right into our family perfectly as if she had always been there. She was such a good baby, never had trouble with wind, slept through the night from 10 weeks old, loves her grub and was just so placid and easy going. The only time she would cry or get upset was when her eczema was really agitated and she would scratch her face, chest and arms so badly they would be bleeding and sore. It was at this point where I started to research further into what we could do to help relieve her symptoms. One thing that helped was switching to organic cotton baby grows, where her skin was allowed to breath and was not exposed to any harmful chemicals or toxins that can be found in synthetic fabrics and regular cotton.
When Isabelle was a few months old I started to get very anxious about returning to work after maternity leave, my husband recently moved jobs and was traveling 2-3 days a week & our previous child-minding arrangement weren’t feasible anymore. I was so stressed thinking about how we were going to juggle it all. That’s when I started to explore setting up my own business… I spoke to my husband about my dreams and ideas, he was unbelievably supportive and told me to go for it! My girls are the inspiration behind the brand so it was only right that it would be called after them… Lil&Izzy Boutique was born!
My ideas came from things that frustrated me as a mum. Like having to cut the toes out of all my lovely baby grows each time baby took a growth spurt! Or having to undo all the poppers on the grow to change a nappy and then marry them all back up again with great difficulty when Izzy was rolling off the changing table! I got my sketch pad out and started to re-engineer the traditional baby grows into something practical & functional, that could be worn by day or night and that could be loved and re-loved again. Once I started there was no stopping me! I love every minute of designing & developing products, the next step was getting my designs sampled up and costed.
Finding a sustainable and transparent supplier was my goal. I wanted to work with an ethical factory, one that has the same ethos and values as the brand I was creating. I am lucky that I have worked in the retail industry for 15 years and have been to hundreds of garment factories all over the world. I know the right questions to ask and what certificates are required to ensure confidence in where my products were being made & by who. We are a small brand with big dreams and I want to start as I mean to go on!
Initial samples were good, but they weren’t perfect, so it took time to get things exactly right. The quality, weight and hand feel of the fabric is so important, how the garment fits on the baby’s body & allows baby to move freely without restrictions. I tried and tested so many samples on Isabelle until we got this absolutely perfect, something I am very proud of.
Once all the products were sampled, tried, tested and approved we were ready to confirm orders and build our brand & online shop. I wanted colors and designs to be simple & sweet, looking around me for inspiration, my girls love unicorns, dinosaurs and elephants so it just seemed to be the perfect place to start!
So here we are, a few weeks away from going live and I’m super excited! I hope you follow our story, become part of our tribe & believe in our brand as much as we do!