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How to…set up a business with a friend, by Louise and Gussy of little leggies

LOVELEGGIE_121copy2Ever dreamed of setting up your own business with a friend? Well, Louise and Gussy, the founders of hip new childrens’ brand, little leggies have done just that. They let us into their secrets – and their gorgeous new collection.

Take two experienced nannies (these girls know what makes kids happy). Add one bright idea and a lot of hard work. And you have little leggies a collection of children’s clothes so bright and stylish that everyone will be happy. (And yes, some of it does come in our size. I have my eye on this and this for me and my little girl. I’m not sure which of us would be more excited by the idea of matching pom poms…)

Tell us about little leggies – what inspired it?

Little leggies has been our little work in progress since we became firm friends at university and we both feel like it is our baby! So far it’s taken us on a real journey and has involved blood, sweat and literal tears! However after about 2 years of ‘finding our feet’ we now feel we have a kids brand we are incredibly proud of and a collection which is constantly growing. Our main focus is on little ones with our range starting at newborn and going up to 12 years, and last year we expanded our collection to incorporate a small range for mummy’s too!


What’s different about little leggies?

We like to think all our designs are FUN and also just that little bit extra special compared to what you find on the high street. We 100% back colour all the way and are great fans of neons and bright prints and trims. When designing our collections we both think back to what we wished we had in our wardrobe when we were growing up. Neon skinny jeans and metallic pocket tees definitely sprung to mind! We put so much time and effort into each piece and hope that our attention to detail can be noticed and easily recognised as little leggies.

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We’ve noticed some children have very distinct sartorial ideas. For instance, Alex’s, eldest wore shorts for the whole of one winter as “that’s what footballers wear”…

We have definitely both witnessed first hand the tantrums that can occur when getting dressed in the morning, and they are not pretty! Despite this we think its great that kids at such young ages have such strong opinions about what they want to wear, it really shows their individuality. However of course there are times when the school run doesn’t allow such freedom of choice… We have always been really lucky, as kids are always drawn to our clothes and stand (if exhibiting at a show). We love colour and so do the kids, so the mere fact that most of our pieces are bright is the first part of the battle won. Almost all little girls that see our collection wont take their eyes off the neon pink pieces. Its very sweet to see their faces light up, and also gives us a great sense of achievement, since achieving the perfect ‘neon’ is certainly not easy and has taken us years! We have also been quite careful about not desiging anything ‘too girly’ or ‘too typically tom boy ish’. Lots of our pieces are in fact unisex and I think that’s appealing for lots of little ones who don’t necessarily want to be forced into a pastel-coloured smock dress that their granny still loves! And our last little tip would probably be the pocket. Pockets feature on lots of our designs and not only do they look super sweet, kids love them! The little boy Gussy looks after won’t go to nursery without his little leggies pocket tee as that’s where he keeps his lego ‘guys’ safe!

How hard was it to move from great idea to getting your business off the ground? What do you wish you’d known then that you know now?

SO hard! As both of us started this journey together fresh out of university with no real previous experience in either business of children’s fashion we weren’t exactly well equipped! Finding decent and reliable manufacturers was the longest and hardest battle we have faced so far, and with this comes constant disappointment and endless times of being let down. However coming out the other end of this was and is hugely satisfying and rewarding. Its certainly still not easy and we both still have part time jobs, so maybe in hindsight we would of benefited from someone explaining the financial implications at the start, basically saying you will be skint to begin with!

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What do you really need to know about setting up a business? I think everyone thinks a. they could do it and b. it would be perfect to do it with a friend – but what’s the reality?

  1. Make sure you give each other space. Working together is intense and like any job there are good days and bad days. So its important to be able to read each other well enough to know when a healthy breather Is required!
  2. Trust that the friend you choose to go into business with is going to stick around, and you are truly in it together. There are some gritty stages which will inevitably make you feel like ‘what the hell are we doing?!’, and friends will be moving up their career ladders, which is scary and depressing. BUT it’s so important to believe in your brand and work through the tough times together. No quitters!
  3. Remember you are friends as well as business partners. It’s important the business doesn’t become all consuming and you are able to put the laptops away and crack open a bottle of wine and gossip just like any other friends do. A healthy balance is key.
  4. Make sure you share a love for biscuits; our favourite time is teatime!


What are you plans for Little Leggies for the next 6 months/year/3 years?

To grow as much as we can! We’ve just done our first big show at Olympia (The spirit of Summer). Although this was scary as it costs a lot to show there, it was a great leap for us and it was so nice to get our stuff out there to lots of people and get such great feedback.

Over the next year we hope to have more of a presence both online and hopefully in selected shops too, and look forward to keeping out collection growing.

We really want to spread the little leggies love and get people seeing and talking about our brand so please spread the word everyone!

 

 

 

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