Following on from last weeks profile of Lil’ Cubs, this week it’s the turn of Hackney based childrenswear brand Sweetpea & the Chestnut Tree.
Launched in 2016 by mum-of-one, Kitty, Sweetpea & the Chestnut Tree create beautifully co-ordinating dresses, unisex trousers, dungarees and sun hats for 0-2 year olds. Made from 100% cotton, all of Kittys garments are meticulously home sewn from her base in Hackney.
Oh, and did I mention that Kitty and I go way waaaaay back, having met when we were 12! I’m not going to embarrass either of us by including any photographic evidence, but I will include a picture of the Little One looking exceptionally happy to be wearing a Sweetpea creation for her first birthday back in July.
What I love most about Sweetpea & the Chestnut Tree is the use of whimsical and botanical prints throughout the range which have the feel of being lifted straight out of the English countryside. Fabric selection and comfort is extremely important to Kitty which is why her dungarees are made using the softest needlecord around, and all of her trousers feature a roll down cuff that can be adjusted as your baby grows.
I could go on, but instead I’ll pass over to Kitty to tell you more about her brand…
What was the inspiration behind Sweetpea & The Chestnut Tree?
When my daughter Betty came along I couldn’t find what I wanted for her on the high street. There are lots of beautiful clothes of course, but I wanted simple shapes in whimsical printed cottons, and not pink! As a dressmaker and textile fanatic I already had an archive of gorgeous printed fabrics, and then I discovered the wonderful design house Lewis & Irene, who are producing very lovely, slightly retro style prints but still very modern. I use a lot of their fabrics.
What’s your personal favourite item from the range?
The Rabbits & Hares dress is my personal favourite. Rabbits are my spirit animal, and it was the first dress I made for my daughter, Betty. I already had the fabric, which is from renowned textile house Makower, and Betty’s Nana sewed it for me. Whenever Betty wore it she would get lots of compliments and it planted the seed which later became Sweetpea & the Chestnut Tree.
What’s the best part of your job?
Developing new styles, sourcing new prints, getting a fabric delivery, that sort of thing! I often use a contrast lining as a feature, or a print and a plain together, so I love seeing the finished article and how the fabrics work together. But the very best thing is receiving a photo of a baby wearing Sweetpea & the Chestnut Tree – so cute!
In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge of being your own boss?
For me the challenge is to fit what I want to achieve around my other commitments. I still work in fashion, I’m a singer/songwriter, I’m a mum…it can be difficult to shut those things out when you want to focus on your own business, which needs a lot of nurturing in order to grow. It’s a lot of work in the evenings and weekends, and nap times of course.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to start their own business?
Haha, ask me again in a few years’ time!
What has been the brands (and your) biggest achievement to date?
We had a really positive launch to the brand, with lots of custom orders placed in the run up to Christmas. Being stocked on Peps & Pooks was a highlight too!
What does 2017 hold for Sweetpea & The Chestnut Tree?
We hope to make a lot of new friends this year. A few new shapes will be coming in Summer 2017, and I’m taking a short course in textile design, because ultimately I would like to include my own print designs in the range. You can keep an eye on what we’re up to on Instagram @sweetpea_and_the_chestnut_tree
Sweetpea & The Chestnut Tree are RELOCATING to New Zealand this Spring so we’ll no longer be stocking their beautiful creations, however you can keep in touch with them via their Instagram page: @sweetpea_and_the_chestnut_tree. Good Luck guys, missing you already! Xx