One of the perks of our jobs is getting to know the amazing women behind the brands that we work with. Our featured brand this week is no exception!
Annie and Islabean is an online children's boutique store that sells children's fashion and accessories. They go "halfies" on shipping as they hate shipping as much as the next guy.
Let's get to know the brand's director Karen Mapperson.
When did you start your business and how did it come about?
We only recently launched last August 2017. I am a mum of 2 little girls, Annie and Isla. The girls are growing up, they are 5 and 3, so it was time for a new adventure.
I have always loved fashion and dressing up. But since having the girls, I have traded in my heels for some Converse and you rarely see me in a dress. The girls have become my muse and these days, I spend more time dressing them than myself.
I used to be an accountant before transitioning to be a full-time mummy (the second was so much more rewarding). But I have always dreamed of having my own little shop full of pretty things. It is not a special talent but it is a dream. Annie dreams of being an artist when she grows up and Isla, a ballerina. I am already grown up, so I guess it is time I start working on mine.
What is your most favourite thing about your business?
My favourite thing about owning a children's store is ordering and receiving all the beautiful clothes. And contrary to what my husband believes of it being an elaborate plan to buy the girls more clothes, I do love selling them too. I get to work with all these amazing mummas who have followed their dreams and started their own fashion label. So much love and dedication go into each collection. Being an accountant and not artistic at all, I find the whole designing process magical. Where do they find their ideas?? And who makes them? It is magic, right?
What is the hardest thing about balancing family with business?
Oh, it is the guilt. The mother's guilt. Little Miss Isla is still at home with me. I just don't want to miss a moment of seeing her grow up. She will attend full-time kinder at Annie's school soon so these are the last few months I have with her. Since she isn't doing any childcare, it means working very late at night, early in the mornings and on weekends. Annie goes to school all week and then I work all weekend. Now I feel like I never see her. I am sure this is nothing new, and something all mums struggle with.
What are your goals for the future?
We are searching for a suitable lease to open the "little shop with all the pretty things". In the meantime, we are working on signing up a few more Australian children's labels and even a few from overseas. We are passionate about sourcing and selling organic labels. We admire them for their beliefs and the impact they have on our planet. I believe that if we all made little changes and supported organic labels, there would be less textile waste and fairer working conditions.
Why do you love Instagram to market your products?
Instagram is a wonderful way to collaborate with other mummas. Who doesn't love seeing pics of cute babies and young fashionistas? People tend to be positive and kind in their comments. It has a community feel to it.
Bonus for SKA readers: Get 25% off for all SKA readers including already reduced items and free shipping over $100 with the code STYLISHKIDS.
You can follow Annie and Islabean on Instagram here: @annieandislabean
And head to their website here: https://www.annieandislabean.com.au