Monday's mean sharing inspiring Mama-Made businesses and brands here on Tattooed Tealady, and this week I am handing the reigns over to a pretty amazing mama. Not only does Victoria create some beautiful pieces for your little ones, but this particular mama-made business is one with a truly incredible story. Introducing, Fred & Olive.
My name’s Victoria and I am the mama behind Fred & Olive. I make personalised baby and toddler clothes and accessories using gorgeous Liberty fabrics. Our tee’s, bodysuits, dribble bibs, blankets and towels can all be personalised with a letter, number or name of your choice.
I’ve always loved sewing, ever since I took my first home economics class at school. Since then I’ve dabbled in lots of crafts (my girl friends and I even started our own Craft & Cocktail Club, although to be fair, there was probably more focus on the cocktails than the crafts!), but sewing was always a firm favourite. I’ve been customising garments as gifts for a long time, using Liberty fabrics, but also lots of other bold and beautiful prints that I happened to have in my sewing box.
In April 2015 I had my daughter Olivia, and for a while sewing (along with everything else in my life!) took a back seat. I returned to work nine months later and realised that I desperately missed having a creative outlet in my life, so decided to do what my friends and family had been telling me to do for years, and set up Fred & Olive.
Fred & Olive is named after my first two baby loves – my childhood teddy bear ‘Freddy Teddy’ (which I still have!) and my daughter Olivia. I wanted a name that reflected the quality and history of the great British brand Liberty and thought that this would fit the bill. Since I am based in Britain and use a fantastic British brand to customise my items, I also wanted to make sure that this flowed through everything I did, so I ensure that all my base garments and accessories are sourced from British suppliers.
Another reason for starting Fred & Olive is to promote awareness and generate funds for the Williams Syndrome Foundation. Olivia was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome when she was about a year old. It’s a very rare genetic condition that affects 1 in 20,000 babies. It’s a completely random occurrence and isn’t inherited, but because it’s so rare, very few GPs have ever seen anyone with Williams, which makes it very hard to diagnose.
Olivia had a low birth weight, had issues feeding, was extremely colicky for the first 8 months, and was generally very much in the ‘failure to thrive’ zone. She was also diagnosed with a very rare heart condition which led to the diagnosis of Williams. As a 15 month old, she’s still yet to crawl and isn’t weaned. She’ll catch up with her crawling, walking, eating and talking eventually, but she will have learning difficulties and will probably won’t be able to live fully independently when she’s older. However, she will most likely have a real infinity for music and is blessed with the happiest, most loving and wonderful personality you’ll ever meet. She is literally genetically programmed to be smiley and happy, not a bad trade-off I don’t think!
The Williams Syndrome Foundation are an amazing source of support for parents of Williams Syndrome children (and people with WS), so I decided to donate 10% of all Fred & Olive profits to them. In addition I also bang on about it as much as possible whenever the opportunity arises (just like this one – thanks Sophia!). So please, head over to the Williams Syndrome Foundation website and have a quick read up about the condition. You never know, you may meet one of our smiley little ones one day, and you’ll be able to say ‘oh yes, I’ve heard of Williams Syndrome’ and see their parents gawp in amazement as this just never happens!
So a bit more about what Fred & Olive offer! We have a range of personalised tee’s in white and navy from size 0-3 months all the way up to 5-6 years. We also have long and short sleeved bodysuits in all ages up to 18-24 months, as well as hooded towels, blankets, dribble bibs and cute little hair clips. All can be customised with your choice of 12 different Liberty print fabrics. We also offer custom designs, so if there’s a shape or name you’d like on an item just get in touch.
I am an avid Instagram user over at @Fred.and.Olive and use this as my main point of interaction with fellow mamas. It’s fantastic making something by hand, wrapping it up beautifully and then seeing a cute little person on Instagram running around wearing it. It’s a great buzz and definitely has filled the creativity gap that was previously following me. The online community of mama’s on Instagram is just fantastic.
There are so many amazing women out there, forging their own little business and building a wonderfully creative and nurturing community online. If you’re thinking about starting a web-based business, just give it a go! Its takes hard work and dedication, but the results are definitely worth it.