Designer and mama-of-three Kirsty Hartley launched Wild Things Funky Little Dresses on Etsy three years ago, selling clothes featuring bold colour and imagery to inspire little minds. The beautiful handmade feel, colour palette and quirky detailing makes them popular with children and parents alike and Wild Things now sells through Not on the High Street, Anthropologie and independent children’s retailers worldwide. Kirsty continues to develop the clothing line with more character coats, hats and digital print dresses, plus new children’s products, such as a puppet theatre and DIY doll kits launch for Christmas. Kirsty’s first book will be published by Orion in the Spring.
What’s your worst work habit?
Procrastination. Don’t put off the things you don’t want to do – they won’t disappear!
What are you currently working on?
New fabric print designs and patterns for my book.
Name three of your hero brands.
- Livie & Luca. Their shoes are so soft and wear really well.
- Elfie London. My youngest daughter Lila loves everything they do.
- Zib Textile. They’re a fab Lithuanian brand making funky clothes for kids.
How do you stay creative?
Being hands on in the creative process is what I really love, making and working three dimensionally, and I’m constantly dreaming up new ways to work with colour and pattern.
How do you stay true to your values in a competitive marketplace?
Remaining true to my original goal, to create products which are beautifully handmade in the UK, is the biggest challenge. It’s difficult to offer competitive pricing, but I believe this is the best way for Wild Things to remain creative and react quickly to new ideas, keeping a constant flow of new designs rather than working seasonally.
What are you most proud of?
My children. They have hugely creative minds. In terms of the business, my greatest achievement was being lucky enough to develop my business steadily and surely and having my work recognised by being offered the book contract.
If you were to start over, what would you do differently?
Nothing. Life’s a journey and with a little self belief looking forward to what might be is far more exciting!
What tips would you give to anyone starting out?
Start small. Know your strengths. Ask for help. Believe in yourself and don’t give up. Think outside the box. Consider your work/life balance for it to work for you and your family.
Can you recommend a business or personal development book?
Shape Up Your Business by Sophie Cornish & Holly Tucker and Change Your Mind by Rod Judkins, an insightful collection of ideas on creative thinking.
What’s your alternative dream career?
Children’s book illustrator or baker (at least, so my children tell me!)
Name three people we should all be following.
- Rosie Alyea is a perfect example of online blog success (@Sweetapolita)
- Babble Editors (@BabbleEditors)
- Bambino Goodies (@BambinoGoodies) (of course!)
Tell us something about you we don’t know.
I’m a huge fan of rollerskating and searching for fairies in the woods!
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