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Month: April 2015

Ella Loves Local – Louise from Two Little Ducks

Ella Loves Local – Louise from Two Little Ducks

As the Mother of a girly, little girl it is a no brainer that we love hair clips. Sparkly, bows, bright colours. We have so many of them, and over the last three years have spent a small fortune. I probably need to admit that I have a secret love of them myself, and whilst I don’t normally wear them anymore, you can bet that if you come knocking on my door you may find me with a few bows in my hair after a dress up session with Ella.

That said, bows can be expensive. Really, really expensive. I love Ella wearing gorgeous things but there is a line that I won’t cross in terms of affordability and practicality. That is when I stumbled across Two Little Ducks on Instagram. They have recently launched their new range of gorgeous bows in a range of colours for an amazing $4 each. Yep $4. They also sell other beautiful products – childrenswear and decor. Here are some of our favs…

This beautiful tutu…

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These divine baby blankets from Jolie Petite Chose..

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These colourful and affordable bows..

 

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It was with great delight then, that I met Louise, the Mother hen behind the brand (not that Hens and ducks are related…wink, wink). With a background in childrenswear and buying it was always going to be a sure thing that Louise, also a Mother, was going to do well and connect with her followers.

Louise is one of those people who you want to do well. She is just lovely and genuinely wants to help other Mums purchase affordable clothing for their little ones. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her as you read how she came to start her business….

1. What inspired you to start Two Little Ducks

Starting an online business had been a dream in the making for some time. I love fashion and of course baby and childrenswear. I am a Mum of 2 children, Lucas & Grace, hence the name “two little ducks”.

After the birth of my 2nd baby, I decided that there was no better time than the present to jump in head first! Grace was born in July 2014, and shortly after this I started buying my stock (mostly while she slept!). It took several months to get the website and everything up and running, and by November 2014 Two Little Ducks was live!

I have worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years as a Fashion Buyer and Developer. I wanted to utilise the buying skills I had to source lovely product for Mums, babies and toddlers that were both affordable and not too mainstream. I also wanted to try my hardest to support local, small Australian businesses where I could.

Despite being a relatively new business (only 4 months old), Two Little Ducks has really moved forward, and I have just had to employ my first person to help with the packing and distribution of stock!

2. How do you juggle business and family?

When you have your own business, it is very hard to switch off at times. I do most of my work while my baby sleeps, or at night after the children have gone to bed. My husband is a wonderful help to me as well. It is great to bounce ideas off him and get his opinion. Some days it is crazy though!!

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

My proudest moment was when I received my first order! It was a little doll, and was sent to Canberra. It’s a time I will never forget, as at the time all I could think was “I’ve just spent all the money I saved for my maternity leave, what the HELL am I doing????!”

I also feel really proud when I receive lovely emails and photo’s from customers telling me how happy they are with their Two Little Ducks product and service.

4. What has been your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was trying to get my business up and running, and do everything by myself with a newborn baby, no sleep and a VERY energetic 3 year old boy!

There were definitely some long, stressful days wondering if I had made the right decision. What product would I buy? Would people like it? What if no-one bought anything? What am I going to do with all this stuff?!! I invested most of my maternity leave savings into the business which was exciting, but stressful at the same time!

5. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?

When my business first went live, I was so nervous, wondering how it would go. I remember reading a quote from Emma Watson on one of the days were I was really doubting what I was doing.

She was quoted saying “In my moments of doubt, I’ve told myself firmly: If not me, who? If not now, when?”. It was like it was meant to be! So I made the decision to jump in head first and worry about the rest later!

I think it is important to get out of your comfort zone.

6. Three words that describe Two Little Ducks…

Classic, Unique, Affordable

7. What’s your favourite current product in your line?

I love our leather moccasins which are handmade in Brisbane by a label Mosov. I try where possible to support Australian, local businesses. They are made with the softest, beautiful leather and made entirely by hand.

Our Lulu & Milly collection is also just gorgeous. Lulu & Milly is an Australian small business run by 2 friends, Amanda and Jasmine,. They are based in Melbourne. I hope they do a boys line soon!

I feel really lucky to be one of the stockists of these lovely labels.

8. Pay it forward to another local business. Two Little Ducks loves…

Jolie Petite Chose is a beautiful Melbourne label run by Mum of one, Jodie Baud. We stock their divine baby blankets which are not only soft and snuggly, but perfectly on trend and affordable for those stylish Mums and bubs out there. We can’t keep up the orders, with many people buying them as gifts for new babys, or for baby shower gifts.

Jodie also hand makes beautiful baby mobiles, which are the most amazing keepsake. I was lucky enough to be given one of these mobiles as a gift when Lucas was born, and I hope to pass it down to my grandchildren one day.

As you can see, her passion is palpable. Get on over to her store to buy something for your child, or for a special gift for a loved one. Here is my Ella, loving her navy bow. It looks divine with her gorgeous red hair!

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Remember to #shoplocal and #supportsmallbusiness

kate

Getting out of the box – Family fun in the great outdoors

Getting out of the box – Family fun in the great outdoors

*A Sponsored Post from Zeigler & Brown

Out of the Box Weekend Activities for the Family

As time goes by, Ella is growing up fast, and so is her mind. As each weekend passes by I’m always thinking about getting out and doing things as a family. We are so lucky to live in a country where the beach, the country, the bush, the mountains are at our doorstep. Being from Melbourne, there are so many places that we can go, but lately I’ve been feeling as though we are not making the most of our surroundings. Weekends are precious, and if we stay at home the entire time, we end up doing housework and odd jobs around the house. So it’s my mission over the coming months to make the most of the great outdoors. Here are some great ideas for your family…

Let’s get started!

Family BBQ’s on the road….

If you don’t get to spend much time with extended family, why not reconnect over a weekend? It may take some planning but if everyone chips in and takes it seriously, it will happen! Maybe you could gather at a park or beach for a picnic lunch. If someone has a portable barbecue, that will make things so much easier – they’re indispensable! Try getting a Ziegler & Brown from a place like BBQ Galore. Or why not go on an outing instead? Sports, museums, theme parks, there’s so much you can do with the entire family, plus you might cut down on costs by negotiating group discounts. It’s a win-win!

Get yourself a Zieglar & Brown Portable Grill
Get yourself a Zieglar & Brown Portable Grill

Geocaching…

Something for families with older children, this is an outdoor treasure hunt using a GPS receiver to hide or seek containers (‘geocaches’ or ‘caches’) anywhere in the world. It’s a wonderful way to spend time with family and friends, while enjoying nature and other places you may not otherwise venture into. You’ll also keep fit as a lot of geocaching involves walking, sometimes hiking, and even swimming to find the hidden treasures. The caches usually contain items of little value, but the activity has become a worldwide phenomenon with about 700,000 geocaches registered on websites. It’s played in 100 countries, so you’re certain to find one to participate in locally and maybe even overseas when you’re on vacation! Trust me…google it!

Garage sale with a difference…

You may not have thought of this as a ‘family’ thing, but it can be! This is a perfect time to get the whole family involved in deciding what they would like to give away or sell and a great way to give your kids a lesson in maths and business. Get the kids to decide how much each item should sell for, and when it’s over, get them to count up the earnings and split it up between everyone, or better yet, put it towards other weekend activities.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles…

There are so many places in outer Melbourne that kids would love. Have you ever taken them to watch the planes land near Tullamarine Airport? We used to do it on a Saturday afternoon with my Dad. There is nothing like watching them land, just over your head.

Eltham Miniature Railway and Puffing Billy are two places that I am dying to take the kids. I can just imagine Ella’s legs dangling over the rails as she watches the world go by. As stated earlier, you could throw a portable BBQ in the car and head off for a family picnic to boot. The best part is not having to wait to use the communal BBQ’s in the picnic areas!

And finally, just go for a drive. Whilst my little man currently hates the car, I’m so hoping that this will change. I remember jumping in our family Tarago on the weekend and just heading off for a drive. We’d head to a country town, sample the bakeries and have fun at a new playground. There is nothing like a n unplanned find and sometimes being spontaneous is the best kind of fun!

Family time is really important in bringing up well-rounded children. There’s a plethora of activities you can do as a family on weekends, and not just the ones mentioned here. Weekends are the perfect opportunity to not only kick back, but connect with each other and discover the things you have in common. So, what will you do?

kate

Ella Loves Local : Kate from Postcode Kids

Ella Loves Local : Kate from Postcode Kids

Everyone who follows Happy Ella After knows that I’m passionate about supporting local businesses, many of which are Mums and Dads who have discovered their passions or callings. They have taken a risk, stuck their neck out and tried something new. We should all support them. Supporting local puts food on someone’s table. It puts clothes on someone’s back. It keeps your local economy healthy and happy. Today’s Ella Loves Local profile is a little different. Not only does it support a local business, but it supports a local business, supporting a local community.

Kate from Postcode Kids is the definition of ‘paying it forward’. A question that I ask all of my profilees. Who do they love? Who do they want to support? Well Postcode Kids is different. Not only do they sell kids t-shirts with your chose postcode (very simple, very cute), but a preportion of the sales from those t-shirts goes towards a chosen charity in that postcode. Kate is passionate about developing community. Participation, support and love. Local Kids, Local Communities. We all have heard the phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, and Postcode kids is an example of doing this. Giving something back. I was immediately taken away by her idea, and how passionate she was towards achieving her goal. This is truly one of my most favourite profiles to date.

Here is Ella & Hudson in thier 3182 (St Kilda) Post Code Kids t-shirts. They are soft, they are comfy, they are gorgeous. I’m proud to say that I gave Kate a donation towards the cost of our shirts, and Kate will be donating the proceeds to St Kilda Mums. An amazing local charity that supports underprivilaged families.

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Let’s meet Kate form Postcode Kids…

1. What inspired you to start Postcode Kids?

I have three young children. My son, Harry, is almost 4 and my twin girls, Piper and Grace, are 20 months old. When my girls turned 1 I was ready to incorporate business back into my life. I needed to do it in a flexible way and so I decided to start my own little business and work at my own pace. I believe in working at what you’re passionate about and so I decided to incorporate two of my passions; kids and community.

2. How do you juggle business and family?

I certainly haven’t succeeded in compartmentalising my work and home lives. In a way, it’s one of the things I love about Postcode Kids, that there are aspects of the business that I can involve my kids in. We can spend half an hour constructing a lego postcode together or we can collect flowers for a postcode picture, while we’re in the garden. Don’t get me wrong, when the kids go to bed it’s work work work for me!

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

It was the moment when The Monash Children’s Hospital agreed to become Postcode Kids’ principle charity. My daughter Piper spent time in the hospital when she was born. The doctors, surgeons and nurses were outstanding and I was thrilled to be able to give back with Postcode Kids’ ongoing support.

4. What has been your biggest challenge?

Getting the word out. Postcode Kids is such a new business and our marketing budget is nonexistent. Finding inventive ways to market Postcode Kids is challenging and exciting and is a full time job in itself.

5. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?

Don’t underestimate the work involved, when starting your own business. It can become all consuming because you enjoy what you’re doing. Build in time for yourself. A break clears and refocuses the mind.

6. Three words that describe Postcode Kids…

Kids, Community, Fun

7. What’s your favourite current product in your line?

Our 3186 and 3188 Postcode Kids T-shirts support Brighton South Playhouse. Funds raised will go towards upgrading the community house and making it safe and enjoyable for all. This is such a great example of the spirit of Postcode Kids.

8. Pay it forward to another local business.  Postcode Kids loves…

I’d love to give a shout out to TopKnot Girl (@topknotgirl_), Holly is an inspiration to mums starting their own businesses. Also, Inkibabinki (@inkibabinki) for beautiful, geometric kids clothing and Mavara Edu. (@mavaraedu) for beautiful African community made products. You go girls!

Thanks Kate for your passion, and your beautiful product! You can visit Postcode Kids here. There just couldn’t be a more selfless, giving idea!

#supportlocal #supportsmallbusiness #ellaloveslocal

kate

Ella Loves Local – Natalie from Toucan

Ella Loves Local – Natalie from Toucan

This week we turn to supporting Natalie from Toucan. A treasure trove of kids prints and decor that will have you swooning as soon as you see the range. Along with their classic monochrome range, Toucan has recently released a number of gorgeous products including the prints that feature the on trend pastel palette. Think icecreams, think glitter, think cute, cute, cute. What is even more fabulous is that many of their prints can be personalised to make your child’s little space even more lovely. They also showcase a range of garlands and felt ball rugs to compliment their beautiful prints. Here are some of my absolute favourites…

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So let’s hear from Natalie and a little more about their business…

1. What inspired you to start Toucan?
Our children! Amelia, 3 years old and Levi, 1 year old! And of course our shopping addiction and love of children’s interiors!

2. How do you juggle business and family?
It’s a family business! Everyone helps us out.  It is very hard to find a balance between family and work because it’s not a 9 to 5 job. We are constantly designing, packing and running around in between our families routine, with a lot of late nights, but it’s all worth it!

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?
Having numerous stockists from all over the world.

4. What has been your biggest challenge?
The family and work balance has been the biggest challenge as we are constantly working on bringing out new and different products which takes a lot of time and hard work.

5. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?
Go for it! Always help out other small business’s as we have found it has really helped us.

6. Three words that describe Toucan…
Colorful, contemporary and quality

7. What’s your favourite current product in your line?
Definitely our Freckle felt ball rugs, tempted to keep one in each colour.

8. Pay it forward to another local business.  Toucan loves…
Little S & Co and Zilvi

Ella was lucky enough to get her own slice of Toucan in her bedroom, and she absolutely loves her Paddle Pop and Hello Lovely Prints. Along with the gorgeous felt ball garland, it really does make her room look magical…

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So head to Toucan and check out their gorgeous range. You won’t regret it!

#supportlocal #supportsmallbusines #ellaloveslocal

kate