My name is Olivia Wilson, I live in Kettering, United Kingdom and I make Animal & Unicorn Headbands for Kids, Babies and Adults. I am a self-employed ‘mompreneur’. I have two little girls and left a career of teaching, early this year to pursue my dream of making and selling hand crafted items that I adore making.
My style is very whimsical. I am heavily influenced by my two daughters who are definitely my muses. I love their imaginative world where anything is possible and fairies and unicorns do exist; I cannot help but try and make a least part of that a reality with my crafting.
I started my business a year ago whilst on maternity leave. My children became my world and I wanted to give them unique good quality toys and accessories that looked extraordinary but didn’t break the bank.
I’m a firm believer that imagination is an amazing learning tool that we as adults sometimes forget to use.
I wanted something that would spark my girls’ imagination, encourage role play through make-believe characters and encourage social skills whilst maintaining the fun element that every child should enjoy every day; and what child doesn’t like dressing up?
After getting my degree in fashion and then teaching Textiles for 10 years in secondary schools I decided to finally follow my heart and do what I love.
I learnt that I could make money from it and decided to take a big risk and start up Little Lapins. ‘Lapins’ is French for rabbit and the two little rabbits on my logo are an illustration I did of my two girls who are ‘my little lapins’ and are the reason behind my business.
Giving birth to my eldest Amelie reignited the passion I had for making things out of fabric, it was like a light had been switched on again and I haven’t stopped making ever since. I also want to be a strong role model for my girls, how can I tell them to follow their dreams and take risks if I never did myself?
I like to try lots of different mediums. I love drawing and painting and I adore sewing.
I started off making patchwork quilts, then went on to making appliqued cushions. From then I moved to hair clips, which subsequently lead to headbands. Felt has always been a favourite fabric or mine to work with as it is so easy to use and manipulate, you can also get it in any colour you can think of and even make yourself easily.
I would really like to see my business grow and offer a wider variety of whimsical items. I would love to have a workshop full of young talented designers and makers who are all working for the brand; an ultimate goal would be to sell to boutiques around the world.
It’s important not only from a personal perspective – this is a business that I’ve put my heart into and that has been shaped by my family and my interests – but also because it represents one mums desire to break away from the traditional part-professional, part-parent lifestyle and actually become my own boss and literally craft my own future.
A lot of my creativity comes from being around my girls, we like to go for walks in the woods and countryside which is very relaxing and I often get ideas for colours or characters from the things we see around us whilst out walking.
The seasons play an important role in everything I make: it is reflected in the shapes and colours I use.
I have a studio at home where I can store and display all my fabrics and designs. It is at the top of the house so it is out of the way and quiet. I love to put my music on and get lost in whatever I am making. My studio is always a mess with fabric and thread all over the place.
Find some time away from the real world and just have a go. A lot of the skills I have are self-taught and can be researched online in tutorials or blogs.
If I like the look of something I look into how I could make it and have a go. If it fails I will try again until I get it right, or at least until I am happy with it. Obviously it isn’t always that easy and I have to create a way to make the things I want… this can be both frustrating (when it goes wrong) and exciting (when I finally master a skill or design I’ve been practicing for a while).
Get back to nature, go outside, go for a walk and if that doesn’t work spend a few hours on Pinterest!
Old German children’s books – the characters and stories told are great. I can’t read German but I love to make up my own version of the story from the illustrations.
I also love folk music and the storytelling within that music is incredibly engaging and emotional.
I am currently inspired by Frida Kahlo and the colours she used – she’s such a good role model to follow and my daughters love the art she produced too.
Take risks and believe in yourself
Thank you Olivia for this interview, it was such an inspiration to find out more about being a mompreneur. Good luck on all your future endeavours!
// Stina – Craft Space