The Curious Mummy Meets… Anna Crowther of The Little Style House
The Curious Mummy Meets, Mum Boss Anna Crowther from The Little Style House. Anna was inspired to start her own clothing line after she found there was a gap in the market for gender neutral children’s clothes. Anna shares with us her inspirations for her designs, some cracking business tips and who she would have over for the ultimate dinner party. Enjoy!
Anna, welcome to The Curious Mummy Meets, tell us a bit about yourself?
Thirty something mum of two (one in college, one in nursery!) with a tendency to be a bit over ambitious and take on a bit too much. Recently discovered the taste of Gin (after years of being a vodka lover)
Tell us about The Little Style House and what gave you the idea to start?
The Little Style House was inspired by my daughter, Amber, who I can only describe as my sunshine with a little sprinkling of hurricane – she is a striking little girl! At the age of 2 she wasn’t your typical girly girl, as she didn’t crave sparkly pinks or yearn for princess outfits. In that respect, she was adorably anarchic; she saw items of clothing which she loved and their gender affiliation was irrelevant. As a result of this, I wanted to find a gender neutral brand but struggled to find anything on the high street. This led me to find independent labels who I acted as a retailer for. However, my desire to design was further fueled and 12 months ago I finalised my first TLSH own brand collection. To my surprise… it was a massive hit!
TLSH was the perfect creative outlet for me, after 10 yrs in local government and 7 yrs working in Law, I was desperate for a change. Life is too short to just exist, I wanted to use my passion for fashion to reignite my career. I wanted to feel a spark again! With amber as my inspiration, I was determined to combine style and anarchic attitudes that challenged gender expectations.
Describe your typical day?
It is mayhem from AM! As any busy mum knows, 7-8.30 am is the most manic part of the day! So it’s a quick breakfast for all, a mad rush getting ready and out of the house for pre-school drop off. Back home, I’ll go straight up to the office with a large black coffee (the first of many) to answer emails, package up orders and spend some time on social media. [ I love how social media has completely opened up the gates for small business like The Little Style House to really engage with our customers and get instant feedback on new styles] Being a one-woman team, every day is different; one day I could be working on a marketing strategy or web designing and another day I could be designing or trying to get that perfect shot for Instagram.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Paul Smith said: “You can find inspiration in everything. And if you can’t, look again” this quote really resonates with me – seriously, I never switch off! Inspiration comes from magazines, graffiti, skate parks, even theme parks! I’ll have the seed of an idea or theme in mind and then I’ll look around me, taking inspiration from my surroundings. Plus, my inner ‘geek’ makes me carry a little notebook in my bag, which I scribble the most random things down in. Over time, my ideas grow and then eventually everything will click together and result in a new look or design
What is the best part of your job?
The variety, the fact that I am my own boss and make my own decisions. Having said that, hands down, the best thing is being around for my children. I went back to work when my eldest was 4 months old so to have this time with Amber and Alex is truly amazing. Being present and able to fully immerse myself in daily family life is invaluable. It is truly the best gift!
What do you think it takes to be a Mum boss?
Dedication, determination, ambition, organisation and self- belief are essential! Bronzer, coffee (and gin) are definitely desirable.
What would you say the most important thing is in running an online business? What has been the greatest lesson you have learnt?
I would say, avoid trying to please everyone. Believe in your vision and your niche and stick to it. Compromising can blur your vision and people sense it. Be you. Be bold! Also, seeing is believing so it is absolutely essential to have high quality product photography – bring your vision to life! Do your dream justice.
How do you find a balance between running a successful business, and raising a family?
It is a juggling act but I am blessed to have an extremely supportive husband, who picks up the slack when I have an event or a big launch. We always make sure that Sundays are a family day with no talk of work for all of us. I’m also very lucky to have a close support network of family, friends and social media sisters. For me, a small e-commerce business, social media has enabled me to meet and collaborate with a wonderful web of women who offer support and advice. They keep me sane!
What are your fashion predictions for SS18/AW18
Monochrome is definitely the new black – I love it! Without a doubt, this trend is set to continue! But I think accent muted colours and softer styles will begin to make their entrance during the S/S.
Who are your Mum Boss inspirations?
It may sound like an obvious choice, almost a cliché but Selfish Mother massively inspires me. She is a devoted philanthropist, bodacious business woman and clearly a devoted mother. She blows my mind! I’m also inspired by Jenna Horner, the founder of Cloud and Cuckoo. Her once dreamy sketches are now a reality and I can’t help but be in awe of her. She is one fearless female!
After work, how do you find time to relax?
Gin, pj’s and Netflix.
What are your top five tips for starting a successful fashion brand?
- Start small, even if it’s just one type of style.
- Do lots and lots of local fayres, markets, pop up shops and work out who your target audience is and ideal customer
- Listen to advice and learn from those around you, don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Measure and measure and check and check again before placing any bulk orders for materials
- Finally, trust your gut instinct. When I haven’t, it’s always been a costly mistake.
If you were to host the ultimate dinner party and you could invite anyone in the world, who would be on your guest list?
Adele, Stella McCartney, Richard Branson, Carrie Anne / Mere Soeur, Idris Elba, Jemma Thomas (Mummas Health Hub)
The Little Style House are giving The Curious Mummy readers 15% discount. Please insert curiousmummy at the checkout.