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Local Legends: Emma from Happy Hands Happy Heart

Local Legends: Emma from Happy Hands Happy Heart

It’s been a while since I’ve done a feature on a local business I love. I used to weekly post about a local gem in my series – Ella Loves Local. Since then, my blog and print business has evolved and grown to become something more than I ever imagined. My own, local, small business has thrived. Through word of mouth. Through local interest. So it’s time to give back and reignite one of my passions, that is supporting small local businesses. Businesses that evoke passion and joy. Business that experience mayhem, milestones and magic to inspire us all. In my new series ‘Local Legends‘, I will be sharing the love of small businesses. Businesses like Happy Hands Happy Heart. If you are a Mum who loves to browse social media then chances are you’ve come across the brilliant idea, passion, brain child and subsequent business of Emma from Kangaroo Flat.

Happy Hands Happy Heart

Happy Hands Happy Heart creates natural, scented play dough. Play dough that you want to touch, smell and actually….eat. It’s not meant for eating, but if you do…then that’s fine! A Mum at heart, Emma saw the need to create a product for her children that ‘encourages creative and sensory play’. ‘It is perfect for fine motor skill development, and is created using plant based dyes to mimic flavours found in nature and scents that encourage general wellbeing and calm’.  Some of her ‘flavours’ include:

Happy Hands Happy Heart

  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemon
  • Mandarin
  • Blood Orange (my favourite)
  • Pink Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Spearmint…and
  • Liquorice!

She also has a special Christmas range including:

  • Raphie Reindeer: Plum Pudding
  • Crystak the Christmas Tree: Peppermint

I also love Emma’s range of accessories including: playdough boards, letter and number stamps and cutters. Honestly it is one of those products that you not only fall in love with, but love sharing with others.

Happy Hands Happy Heart screenshot-2016-12-04-13-34-20

So we caught up with Emma in the lead up to Christmas to find out a little more…

1. Tell us a bit about your business, your dream, your story

When my hands are happy, my heart is happy.  That’s what started it all.  I realised with some help, that for my health and well being, I needed to find time to make and create.  But I needed a creative activity that could involve my little ones as well.  So I started playing with playdough a lot.  My product ideas blossomed, and my little business grew.  I dreamed of making a product that made people happy, helped them find some calm, encouraged them to create and play, and was environmentally and socially responsible…. and my little biz was born.

2. Magic: What is the most magical thing that has happened to you as a small business owner?

The most magical thing about having a small biz for me, is having my little people so heavily and enthusiastically involved with my work.   They create some special type of magic in our little biz, that inspires a lot of what goes on, and it wouldn’t be the same, or half as much fun without my three little business partners.

3. Mayhem: What has been your greatest challenge, moment of mayhem?

Little ones running wild in the studio, drawing on the walls, or work spread across the loungeroom floor..they are typical scenes at HHHH HQ.  There are a lot of moments of mayhem in my little biz.  Its a challenge finding a balance, but that is also what I love most about running my biz.  Nothing ever goes quite to plan, or plans have to change regularly, especially when working from home with little ones, but flexibility is key. Its challenging, but wonderful. 

4. Milestone: What has been your greatest achievement, milestone?

On our 2nd Birthday in October, I tallied up all of the financial donations we had made over the previous year to charities and community organisations.  Realising that our donations had reached over $1700 was something I was so super proud of, just from donating $1 from every jar of our playdough sold from our website or market/ event appearances. Totally Chuffed!

5. Pay it Forward: Who do you love? What small business are you lusting over right now?

I have the biggest love for @seriously_milestones  These are the best baby gifts ever….you don’t ever have to go shopping for a baby gift again, these are it, stock up your cupboard.  So so funny, so so relatable, environmentally and socially responsible and their creator Issy is one of my most favourite humans on the planet. 

Happy Hands Happy Heart



So if you are after a last minute gift for your little ones, or for another little heart….head to Happy Hands Happy Heart. You will fall in love instantly! PLEASE NOTE Christmas orders close December 10th!


For more information, head to the website above, or read on below….


Ella Loves Local: Natalie and Verity from Nightie Night Lane

Ella Loves Local: Natalie and Verity from Nightie Night Lane

Christmas Morning. Squeals of delight, festive cheer, presents, carols, family fun. This was the inspiration behind Nightie Night Lane being created, to design and make beautiful nighties for girls, and pj’s for boys to wear on Christmas morning. To wake up and feel like Christmas in every way. When I heard about this I thought that it was the most beautiful basis to design night wear. There is something different and special about Christmas morning, and this sentiment is held in my heart as my own children move towards this special time of year in 2015. When I had the chance to give Ella one of their beautiful nighties, my heart melted. Made in Australia, their range is exquisite, beautiful and divine. Here is Ella in her own gorgeous ‘night time poem’ nightie… can’t wipe the smile off her face…

Ella Loves Local Nightie Night Lane Happy Ella After

Ella Loves Local Nightie Night Lane Happy Ella After

So let’s hear from the girls themselves….

1. What inspired you to start Nightie Night Lane?

Natalie:  I had been trying to find a white, pure cotton nightie for my daughter to wear on Christmas eve that would look beautiful on Christmas morning. I couldn’t find anything! I had been making pyjama pants for my kids and Verity had been making nighties, so together we pulled out the trusty sewing machines, sought advise from a clever friend and a mother-in-law and Nightie Night Lane was born!

2. How do you juggle business and family?

Verity: One must have stamina! You must be at the computer screen with all your tabs open at once. All the time. Forget quiet time and be mindful that the kids don’t know what’s going on in your head, so the amazing acorn they found at school today IS just as important as the expensive shipment of organic fabric, that took you three weeks to secure, in such small quantities seems to have gone missing in the post!

Natalie: You have to be really organised with your weekly routine if you want it to work! Every second needs to be used as productively as possible and plan every day. We have been getting our children involved in the business from the very first stages and they have been as excited as us to see it grow. They have put up with mummy’s testing every pattern style on them, coming to suppliers, sitting through phone meetings in the car and photo shoots in public places in their pyjamas! Grandma’s are very handy for posting deliveries. Oh, and a slow cooker! You really need a slow cooker!

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

Hearing feedback from customers about how much their children love their nightwear. We love it when customers send photos of our products from all around the world. It’s a lovely feeling to know that we are involved in such special times for families, adventurous holidays, birthday and Christmas mornings.

4. What has been your biggest challenge?

Verity: Fabric supply… arrrrgh!!!!

Natalie: No child is a standard size! Every pattern in every size has to be tested on every child we know for prefect fit and comfort before anything ever makes it to production.

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

Verity: If you can multi task (and I dare say all mum’s can) have a go. It is however all absorbing so expect to be stretched further than you ever thought you could be. What have you got to lose, except your sanity? Who needs that.

6. Three words that describe Nightie Night Lane?

Pure, classic, loved

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

Verity: For me it is elements of the product that have worked well. A certain trim, a fabric, the way a strap sits that will sit well on all sorts of little bodies which are so different and change rapidly.

Natalie: I love “milk before bed”. It is timeless and loved by big and little girls alike. We are changing this slightly this season, making it even more luxurious.

8. Pay it forward to another local business. Nightie Night Lane loves…

Graphic design from Little Blue House Creative
The lovely Kath designed our logo and can help you with the design of anything!
So if you want your children to have divine nightwear this coming summer, head to Nightie Night Lane today.
Our readers have a very special chance to purchase something with a special discount…simply enter the code ELLA in checkout for 15% off your order! Thanks girls!
Ella Loves Local: Meg from Little Scooch

Ella Loves Local: Meg from Little Scooch

Two things I love right now….personalised products and cool tees. I recently shared the Mooluu love with you, and this week I’m adding to the list of awesomely cool customised kidswear. Another of my Insta faves, Little Scooch have taken cuteness to another level. A range of very clever designs that not only include your child’s name, but also add a cheeky flare with the image and catchphrase. Meg is the brainchild behind the business and lovingly hand screen prints each and every one from her own home. Each tee is unique and individual. Here are my cheeky monkeys rocking their own…


Little Scooch Happy Ella After Ella Loves Local


Little Scooch Happy Ella After Ella Loves Local Little Scooch Happy Ella After Ella Loves Local

There are lots of other cute designs too, but I think you’ll agree, these ones rock! It was great to meet Meg and hear her story about how Little Scooch came to be…

  1. What inspired you to start Little Scooch?

Pregnancy and pelvic instability rendered me a bit ‘hobbyless’ (previously I have been a very active person into hockey, hiking, running, camping, snowboarding, bad dancing etc). I went along to a screenprinting course with a friend, and a few people wanted one of my designs for their kids. I loved the feeling of creating something that made people happy, so it inspired me to dream up more. The new creative outlet came at a time when I was also feeling frustratingly stalled in my corporate career, through my own decision to prioritise being home with my kids. So Little Scooch is a new skill and challenge for me.

  1. How do you juggle business and family?

Sadly at the moment by lack of sleep. I am a mum of 2 littles, and I work part time in the corporate world, so – apart from the rare ninja-mum moments where I get both kids down for a nap at the same time – Little Scooch is a night time gig for me (as much as I love printing with the ‘help’ of a 3 year old and 1 year old during the day….). I am pretty sure I constantly look knackered and friends are just politely pretending not to notice the huge dark bags hanging off my face like a zombie. But I feel energised and motivated so that kind of offsets it all somehow .  My goal is to grow Little Scooch so I can pause my corporate career and be home with my kids more whilst they are little, and maybe I’ll still be a zombie anyway cos let’s be honest, little kids can do that.

  1. What has been your proudest moment so far?

As this is quite a new venture, it’s a bit of a daggy one, but the first time I printed my logo on the back of a teeshirt I got a real buzz out of it and was a bit like ‘woah shit just got real’.   Either that, or the first time a stranger placed an order. I was so excited that a person with absolutely no incentive to pump up my tyres wanted to part with their hard-earned for something that I created.

  1. What has been your biggest challenge?

Coming from a non-fashion, non-design, non-arts background, I don’t really know anyone in the design community and I would love to find a mentor to really challenge me, guide and inspire me. I have found having mentors invaluable in the corporate world and really believe in the power of collaboration for people to lift each other up and bring out the best in each other. At the moment I wouldn’t know where to start with reaching out without seeming like a creepy despo, but I’m doing a couple of markets over the next few months so hopefully getting involved in events and marketing with other talented children’s designers is a good start.

  1. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?
  • Fail fast. Have the balls to identify what’s not working, pause, regroup and re-set direction.
  • Remember that Behind Every Great Woman, is herself.
  1. Three words that describe Little Scooch?

Little scooch designs are like the crazy love child of 3 things:

  • street art,
  • a kinder picture and
  • a daggy dad joke. (no wonder only children are willing to wear them! (haha)

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

It’s hard to choose a favourite child but probably The Rockabye because it’s unisex, a little retro, looks rad on every colour and is such a sweet blessing to give a bub and their parents – who doesn’t want a soundly sleeping baby little having groovy dreams? It’s fair to say that everyone else loves the personalised Batman. I am doing SO many batman orders.

  1. Pay it forward to another local business.  Little Scooch loves…

Mr. Willo – this team are the real deal creating thoughtfully designed shirts in Kensington for little hipster misters . I was drooling over everything in their stall at Swagger Market last week.

So if you want your little ones to rock their own cool designs, head to Little Scooch and order your own. Or they would make a gorgeous present for someone little who is very special!



Ella Loves Local: Annette from Cutee as a Button

Ella Loves Local: Annette from Cutee as a Button

I love nothing more than supporting a start up business. What makes this ‘Ella Loves Local’ feature even more wonderful is that the super cool Mum behind this business is a fellow Primary School Teacher, who has put her talents to good use. Lucky or all of us! Annette’s love for the humble button has seen her launch a beautiful business – Cutee as a Button – creating personalised, bespoke canvas artworks for childrens’ spaces. Using buttons to add detail to her work, she hand crafts each piece with love and attention. Simple shapes, cute ideas and bright colours make her pieces stand out from the rest. Here are some of my favourites so far…

Photo 27-08-2015 9 56 30 am Photo 27-08-2015 9 56 34 am Photo 27-08-2015 9 56 39 am Photo 27-08-2015 9 56 44 am Photo 27-08-2015 9 56 48 am Photo 27-08-2015 9 57 04 am Photo 27-08-2015 9 57 09 am

1. What inspired you to start Cuteee_as _a_button_?

As a child, I would frequently visit my grandmother. There were never many toys we could play with and so I was drawn to colour sorting buttons. To this day, I am not sure what it was, but I loved playing with them and could do so for hours! It wasn’t up until a few months ago, where I decided to collect as many buttons as I could to potentially create art pieces.

  1. How do you juggle business and family?

I must admit, it is very hard at times, but the best time that I can focus on creating art pieces is when my daughter has her daytime naps. I take this opportunity to really embrace and hone in on what I love to do and that is creating button art pieces.

3.. What has been your proudest moment so far?

My proudest moment so far is receiving feedback, whether it is through a verbal conversation face-to-face, or comments written on social media. It really has boosted my confidence, especially knowing somewhere someone admires what I am making and wants it displayed in their children’s nursery/kids room.

  1. What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge is finding the time to balance everything. I work part time as a primary school teacher, therefore I do a lot of correcting year 4 tasks at home, there is housewife duties and of course being the best mother I can possibly be for my daughter.

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

Have passion for what you intend to do and embrace the journey that lies ahead.

  1. Three words that describe cuteee_as a_button?

unique. creative. handcrafted.

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

My favourite product would be the parrot and toucan button art pieces. Combined, they look amazing.

  1. Pay it forward to another local business. Cuteee_as a_button loves…

Charlie and Jae- creative wall hooks that are handmade

Annette’s creations are just divine! To see her latest creations and order, email her directly via and check her out via Instagram @cutee_as_a_button


Ella Loves Local : Jesse from Crayon Rocks Australia

Ella Loves Local : Jesse from Crayon Rocks Australia

I don’t know if it’s the teacher in me, or just the little girl who has never gotten over her love of colouring in, but when I came across Crayon Rocks, I fell in love. There is nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than drawing with your children. Letting your imagination run wild as you explore colours and shapes. When Jesse from Crayon Rocks Australia let me and Ella try some of their products we were hooked. They are so unique and different, these crayons are like nothing you’ve seen or tried. The best part of all is that they are shaped like little rocks, ingeniously angled so there is no way to hold them, except with perfect pencil grip. Teaching kids to hold a pencil, without actually holding one! Gold!!!!
1. ​What inspired you to start Crayon Rocks?
​We originally started our journey with Crayon Rocks as our daughter was having trouble with her pencil grip. We had tried everything we could possibly try to fix it. Every night was a huge drama with homework, as she complained that her hand was getting tired and sore. Eventually this began to affect her confidence in learning at school and although the teacher did her best to assist, this wasn’t something she had a lot of time to spend working on, as she had a whole class to teach.
We brought Crayon Rocks and within a few weeks her pencil grip was corrected. The transition was so easy as the unique design automatically guides a childs hand into the correct position for the tripod grip and the childs hand muscles will gradually strengthen through use.

 We became so passionate about Crayon Rocks and the benefits they offered children that we began selling them in our little online store and they just took off.

​We we’re inundated with interest from parents, schools and other retailers that we asked the creator of Crayon Rocks, Barbara, for the Australian and New Zealand Distributorship.

2. How do you juggle business and family?

 ​We’re a family based business, so business is family. Crayon Rocks is run by myself (Jessie), my sister Sarah and mother Debbie.  This obviously has it’s ups and downs at times as its impossible to separate. We work well as a team under pressure and being family, as hard as things get there is always a lot of love and care underneath it all, which provides a really solid foundation for what we do.

​Our children are very much involved in the business also. We’ve taught them about profit and loss, important of customer service and why we do what we do.​

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

 ​We’ve just celebrated our first year in business at the end of June which is amazing. It’s the little things that push us to move forward every day. I remember when we first started selling Crayon Rocks, I received a call from one of our customers in tears one day. I thought something terrible had happened but she started to explain to me that her son who suffers from a motor dissability, had just drawn a dog and looked up at her and said something along the lines of “I’ve been waiting my whole life to draw this dog and it’s finally here.”​

Creative expression for children is SO important. Our mission is to help as many kids as we can to share their story.

4. What has been your biggest challenge?

​ Oh, there are MANY challenges we have faced. We have had to write all our business systems from scratch and just had to learn as we went along. Every time something wasn’t working we’d have to re-write another system or process, source another supplier or find a new way of doing something. It sounds simple in theory, but the process of finding your ‘flow’ as a start up is very expensive and time consuming.

 The past four weeks for our business have been absolutely huge. We have done 32% of last financial years entire trade in July alone. This sounds exciting to have such a huge level of growth but it’s stretched every single resource we’ve had and we’ve been up until all hours of the night. We’ve had to do a big ‘rush’ order of stock to meet the demand. We seem to have everything running in a nice flow over the last week which has been awesome.

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

 You need to love what you do. ​The WHY behind what you do has to be bigger than anything else, even the financial rewards. You have to love what you do every single day and wake up knowing what you do is making a difference.

You need to be prepared to get something wrong. You need to be prepared to get rejected. Following this, you need to be prepared to keep learning from your mistakes and refining until you get it right.

 Do one thing every day that will make a difference to what you do, no matter how small it may seem. Small ripples create a tidal wave.

6. Three words that describe Crayon Rocks?

​Making learning fun. ​

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

We only have one product, that’s Crayon Rocks. We do have 16 colours so I guess my favourite would have to be the purple. It’s a vibrant, strong colour and reminds me of the hydrangea flowers in my ​Grandparents garden when I was little.

8. Pay it forward to another local business. Crayon Rocks loves…
PS. Made with Love!!!! Ps. Made with Love is run by Liv and she creates some of the most amazing custom designed paperie for events and business I have ever seen. She is a mother of two and has such a full heart for everyone around her. Best of all she LOVES what she does with a passion that is contagious.

Thanks for sharing Jesse, and for making and sharing these wonderful products with us and our children!


Ella Loves Local: Karen from Moonlit Sleep

Ella Loves Local: Karen from Moonlit Sleep

One of the questions I get asked the most is recommendations for kids’ linen and manchester. There is nothing more beautiful than divine, soft sheets for cots and children’s beds. Both for the look in the room, and most importantly, comfort for your child. Gone are the days of plain colours, and whilst I do love white, I’m also partial to funky designs for my kids! It was with pure delight then, when Karen from Moonlit Sleep contacted me to share her new business, and I’m thrilled to have been able to preview her range myself. Hudson has recently had the pleasure of sleeping (mostly soundly…i wish) on a gorgeous safari set in light blue and dark blue colours. What I love most is the generous size, for those of you with Boori Cots….it fits!!! Easy to wash, the vibrancy of the colours remain. Organic soft cotton, the set comes complete with pillow covers for those of you with babies who are transitioning to toddler pillows. Whilst Hudson still has a way to go before he gets his own pillows, I’m thrilled to know in advance that his set will be matching (the things that excite me!)

Here are some more previews of my favs from their range….

Dolls Picnic…


Fairy Garden…


and Hudson’s favourite….Safari



  1. What inspired you to start Moonlit Sleep?

My first born! Well, it was actually before she was born… I was looking for organic cotton cot sheets, and I just couldn’t find any in a design I liked. There were gorgeous baby clothes, but gorgeous contemporary baby bedding was seriously scarce! Finding organic cotton was important to me, as it’s such a beautiful fiber to sleep in. It doesn’t irritate even the most sensitive baby skin and it’s eco-friendly too! I actually studied Fashion and Textile design and had been working in the fashion industry for 15 years, so I was also ready for a change…. A bed sheet or quilt cover felt so exciting to design for, as it’s basically a huge canvas begging for a great print!!

2.     How do you juggle business and family?

We are a family business, so for us, family and business are very intertwined and I really LOVE it that way! My husband is amazing and very supportive. He built our warehouse space from re-claimed stage flooring that was being thrown out. My eldest is very interested and also my toughest critic… When I received the first Doll Picnic samples, the pillowslip had a white cuff on it like the flat sheet. She said to me, “ Mummy, that white bit looks funny on the pillowslip, like funny wrong”…. I must say, I agreed with her and it was promptly removed!!

In regards to the juggling, it is quite literally juggling! But, having Moonlit Sleep does allow me to work around the kid’s schedules and also my hubby’s odd work hours. I have two child-free days a week where I work like crazy. I also utilise nap time and get lots of work done at night after the kids are snuggled up in bed!

  1. What has been your proudest moment so far?

Oh goodness, we’ve had a few! Having our first orders come through from people we didn’t know was a massive moment for us. That was the moment when someone actually chose us over the established mass-market brands, and I was so thrilled and proud. There is still so much excitement in our household when orders come through!

The thing I’m most proud of though, is that all our sheets and quilt cover sets are certified organic to the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) standard. This means that it’s not just the cotton that has been grown organically, but the whole making process is free from nasty chemicals and produced according to strict global standards, both environmentally and socially.

I’m also really proud that, we’re selling our organic sheets and quilt cover sets at comparable prices to the non-organic brands of similar quality. I think it’s so important that people are able to make a choice affordably. It really frustrates me when organic options are either so much more expensive, or really “beige” looking! I wanted to make our organic bed linen really gorgeous, and affordable at the same time!

  1.      What has been your biggest challenge?

Finding the right factory to work with! It took over a year and a lot of work to find one that truly shared our beliefs and ethos. The factory we are working with is just amazing, they are a family business too and I feel so blessed to have found them. They have a really strong focus on quality and they specialise and have a personal LOVE of organics too. They also donate to a local charity in their area that provides shelter, food and education to local orphans and street kids. It makes me so happy and proud that by working with this particular factory, we inadvertently help kids who are so much less fortunate than our own. I can’t wait for Moonlit Sleep to be in a position where we can start our own giving back program!

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

Be brave, be organised and be confident in your own abilities and strengths! For areas where you are less experienced or less confident, seek out a mentor for advice. Go for It and Good Luck!

  1.    3 Words that describe Moonlit Sleep….

Organic, Gorgeous, Quality.

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

Our Fairy Garden Floral Sheet Sets. I LOVE them so much as they were inspired by my Nanna’s super retro, floral sheets that I slept in at her house as a child…. So many happy childhood memories! They made such an impression on me even back then. I always loved that her sheets were a real feature in the room! I LOVE gorgeous printed sheets with a blanket once the weather warms up a little!

  1.    Pay it forward to another local business. Moonlit Sleep loves…..

Zoe Loves Ava, Patrycja makes the most gorgeous hand made woven wall hangings!

Available in single and cot sizes, their range is divine. Best of all, if you purchase you will be supporting a local family….living their dream!

Thanks to Karen for giving us an insight into her divine business!


Ella Loves Local: Melanie & Lesley from Mr Willo

Ella Loves Local: Melanie & Lesley from Mr Willo

Screenshot 2015-06-18 10.16.07I don’t know about you, but after having a boy I was pretty shocked to see the lack of range for boyswear when you walk into the clothing departments in several kidswear stores. After having Ella, the range seems endless, however unfortunately for boys it’s been really limited. That said, if you turn to local businesses like Mr Willo, who have clearly found a gap in the market, you will find the most divine, funky, hip and cool shirts for little dudes that you ever did see. Like most of my finds, I stumbled across Melanie from Mr Willo on Instagram. A fellow Primary teachers who was also on maternity leave, I was captured by their unique designs and cool edge. Who says that boys shoudln’t have all the fun? I’m thrilled to share their range and story with you today and I’m sure you will fall in love with their amazingly cool shirts, just like I have…..

Their signature GUTHRIE shirts…

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A little bit about Mr Willo:

Mr Willo is a Melbourne label, made up of Melanie, and her mother-in-law Lesley. She is a primary school teacher on maternity leave and has always had an interest in colour, pattern, fashion and design but without any training in the fashion industry she never dreamed of finding herself in the world of fashion and design let alone in children’s wear!

Lesley always thought fashion was a field she belonged in. She has forever loved it. Throughout school she sought out creative subjects and studied textile design, pattern adaptation and pattern making. With life’s twists and turns she was tugged in other directions, pursuing many others things. The sewing machine has been a constant throughout- making, altering and repairing clothes but it was with the arrival of her first grandchild, Mr A, that she has come full circle and ended up using the skills she had such a thirst for earlier in life to set her on the path that is Mr Willo.

Mr Willo is a lot about who they are and their passions. From the beginning they decided to name each range after a musician as music is a constant and something they both have strong ties to. Each of Lesley’s children are musos in their own right and they wanted to bring Mr A up surrounded by music. Their debut Guthrie range was named as a cheeky nod to him. The incorporation of the flannelette they love into our Guthrie range was due to the strong connection to the fabric through their dads and CJ, Lesley’s son and Melanie’s partner, Mr A’s papa. Family is important and this is a small family owned and run label.

Together they design and create super cool handmade threads for littles with big style. They strive to challenge the babywear norm. To design clothes that are eye-catching, fashion-forward and meet the needs of the little wearer. Clothes that reflect the personality of the little person and their parents. Mr Willo aims to inspire fun. In life. In fashion.

1. What inspired you to start Mr Willo?

We formed Mr Willo to challenge the lack of inspired, quality boyswear choices for little misters. As a new mother, I struggled to find a dapper yet practical outfit for my 2 week old son (Mr A) to wear to a wedding. Discouraged, my complaints to my very talented mother-in-law Lesley about available options turned into an excited discussion over breakfast burritos at a local café and ultimately led to the decision to go ahead and start a new label. Our objective is to create high quality, unique items with our shared ideas of aesthetic and practicality in mind.
2. How do you juggle business and family?

Like most mumma’s running a small business from home, I work when Mr A naps. Thankfully he’s a pretty great sleeper. I can noisily hammer away in the next room applying press-studs to our shirts and he’ll continue to sleep. When he is going through a change in routine or is unsettled and I’m unable to get anything done during the day I am fortunate that I have a wonderful support in my partner CJ (AKA Papa Mr Willo). He’ll take over with Mr A and allow me the time and space I need to get things done.

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

Definitely seeing photos of little people wearing Mr Willo! We love that our customers adore their Mr Willo pieces and feel honoured that they share photos on social media of their gorgeous children enjoying their threads. The feedback we have received so far has been incredible. It’s great to know that children are chasing adventure, making memories and reaching milestones wearing Mr Willo.
4. What has been your biggest challenge?

Time. Managing it, longing for more and realising that building and growing our label is going to take time. We get so excited sometimes and want things to happen instantly. We can’t help but want to speed up the time from idea to conception and having the finished garment in our hands, or our piece in a magazine, or our next range to be realised and released. We need to be patient and let it evolve.

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

Take the leap. Just do it. Learn as you go. Find a supportive creative community, join it, build relationships, make friends, ask questions. Enjoy yourself. Celebrate your achievements. Be humble. Get excited. Have fun!

6. Three words that describe Mr Willo…

Distinctive. Considered. Evolving.

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

Our signature ◆ G U T H R I E ◆ shirt is our absolute favourite! Each and every one is unique; you will not find another just like it. It was our first item and it grew from our love of flannelette shirts. Both Lesley and I have a connection to flannelette through memories of our dad’s wearing it. The first ◆ G U T H R I E ◆ was made especially for Mr A. We include many small design features to ensure complete comfort and practicality. Flannelette is great to work with. It’s hipster, it’s cowboy, it’s city, it’s country, it’s just cool. It suits everyone and can be styled in so many ways. The fabric is so perfect for little people. It’s soft, cosy and easy to care for. It actually gets better with wash and wear. Precisely what is needed in children’s clothing.

 8. Pay it forward to another local business. Mr Willo loves…

Grandy and Baa (, sweet little friends full of whimsy and imagination. These quirky softies are lovingly handmade in Melbourne out of the most stunning textiles, think wool, linen, velvet, cotton, corduroy and cashmere, some even screenprinted by the very creative maker herself.  Each one bursting with personality. Once you start browsing the store you won’t want to leave with your shopping cart empty. Choosing the perfect friend out of this gang is quite the challenge. I dare you to adopt just one. They make a perfect gift for a new baby, a small child’s birthday or that grown up friend that appreciates beautifully handcrafted items. Be sure to follow on Instagram (@grandyandbaa) to be privy to some pretty interesting conversations between these unique characters and their talented maker Rachael.

So head over to MR Willo and grab your little man his own little GUTHRIE!

#ellaloveslocal – #supportsmallbusiness – #shoplocal

























Mr Willo

#mrwillo #welovetoplay



Instagram: @mr.willo

Facebook: /youngmrwillo


◆ G U T H R I E ◆ shirt

long sleeve RRP $65


◆ G U T H R I E ◆ shirt

short sleeve RRP $60