We made it this far – phew!

Well, this is us, Toni and Gail. We are sisters, originally from the land of the long white cloud (that’s NZ for those of you not in the know), now happily living in Sydney’s Inner West and owners of andthelittleonesaid.com.au – a little website that recently turned one!

We thought we’d take a moment out to celebrate our little milestone, and relive some of what went on in the uphill learning fest that was the past year.

So here goes, how we got started – let’s just say we threw ourselves in head first so ‘learning on the job’ as the old saying goes, was always how it was going to be.  We knew we wanted to work from home to be near our kids (6 count em, 3 each) and we knew we wanted to do something vaguely creative and clever.

While we started out looking to buy an established site, we felt that between us we could set up something that was more our style both in terms of design and what we stocked.  We also wanted (everything of course!) flexibility, ease of use, for us (especially for us!) and the customer, and we wanted it to be fun.

Gail, the younger, skinnier (not fair) one with slightly more patience had been having and minding babies for the past 5 years and the old wheels were a bit rusty, nothing like jumping in the deep end and creating a website – yay!  Toni, the older, slightly grumpier one, had been in the corporate world of marketing, but not enjoying the pressure or the hours and a new (surprise!) baby meant staying nearer to home was much more appealing – especially since both our husbands, bless them, travelled frequently with their jobs.  So our ‘team’ now involved two enthusiastic but clueless Mums and 6 naughty children – it was going to be an interesting year.

There were plenty of hurdles and hiccups but right from the get go we knew we were going to enjoy ourselves.  I’m sure we wouldn’t have been able to do this had we not met so many great suppliers.  They have been so helpful and supportive and it’s lovely to work in an industry that totally ‘gets’ how tough it is to work from home with kids.  We are in awe of every one of those creative and clever folk.

Our goal was for And the little one said to “offer beautifully made, and classically designed, quality products on a website that is engaging and easy to use”.  We are proud that most of our products are sourced locally from Australia and New Zealand and we are still dreaming big, regardless of how little we are.

Our ‘Offices’ – along with big dreams for the site, we have big dreams for our ‘offices’.  Gail currently share a little room with a spare bed and 4 containers of stock.  There’s a selection of Christmas presents sitting precariously on top of the drawers, and half a dozen invoices now have various rainbows and ballerinas drawn on them but at least there is a room.  The three girls all happily share their room but I’m not sure how much longer they will tolerate such close quarters.

Toni on the other hand has the dining room table, which also includes rainbow and ballerina drawings along with the occassional dropped cup of milk and a smooshed kiwifruit.

Successes – hmmm, still talking to each other after a year?  Still managing to hang in there despite not knowing what we are doing and of course our children have never looked so nice in their pretty clothes.

Fails – we have had a few, hindsight being a wonderful thing.  Some standouts are:

  • presuming online meant online.  The appeal of online was immense, largely due to our tendency to be awkward and shy in social situations. The gift of the gab is not something we possess and tend to apologise more than necessary.  Unfortunately establishing a following online takes time so markets and home based sales were necessary.  Sigh.  Born sales people we are not.  What we ARE is passionate about our products. We stock the things we love because we know we couldn’t bring ourselves to sell anything less. We are also passionate about customer service as we  cannot bear to think that there are customers in the world  thinking ill of me. (like the Pride and Prejudice ref… huh … huh)
  • underestimating Social Media.  Wow, there is so much to learn and again, with our awesome social awkwardness, we would be mortified if we felt we were becoming annoying or repetitive.  Social Media takes up a huge part of our workload and we are constantly looking for ways to improve it.  Please be patient, we want to bring you quality, and we want to do it honestly.  We don’t buy followers and we don’t pay someone to post things set to a particular demographic.  It’s all us, and sometimes we get it wrong, but it’s two Mums who are working from home with kids.   You get us on grumpy days and happy days, when everything has gone wrong, and hopefully when we celebrate 🙂  We do also not count ourselves as “the younger generation” and our 6 & 8 year olds know their way around an iPad better than us, so this Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, BLOG thing is still a little new to us.
  • professionally trained models we do not have…. or photographers for that matter.  Please look at some of our fantastic photo shoots of the past.  Bare in mind that all of these are held in the 20 minute window that was either before sleep and before too cranky, before food and covered in something sticky, before having to rush to school pickup, whilst child was asleep so as not to have a little interrupter, before husbands called time because they had been wrangling other 4 children and dogs in park and all hell had broken lose.

Where we want to go from here – we’ll continue to work out the kinks and work on further establishing ourselves, but one of our ultimate goals, partly inspired by so many of our wonderful suppliers, is to start designing and launching our own products.  We both have a yearning to do some of the creating!  And whether that be clothing or decor or something new entirely … you will have to wait and see!!

Thank you for all your awesome support and giving us a crack.  We love to hear your stories, we love to hear what you think and we would love the opportunity to try and get you what you want.

Lots of Love, Toni & Gail

 

We asked our Mum if she could send us some photos of the two of us.  Classic.  They are in short supply.  Sadly our parents obviously did not excel at photography and it seems every photo of the two of us is either out of focus, inappropriate (a tank Mum?) or just plain bad.  It’s a laugh anyway – here we are!  On the plus side, our children and animals are very cute.

 

 

And the little one said is a boutique online website that offers beautiful, stylish and quality made children’s clothing, accessories, toys & home decor.  Mainly smaller Australian and New Zealand designers and stockists – all carefully handpicked by us.  Because everyone needs a little style.

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Thank God for Grandparents!

We have had no regrets moving to Australia, but of course there are a couple of things that we miss from home like old friends and family and silly things like Twisties, Bluff oysters, onion dip, Tui’s (the bird, not the beer, although the beer is pretty good come to think of it…), that sort of thing. The bit we miss the most though is definitely not having grandparents just around the corner!

 

Luckily, our Mum and Dad have just come over from New Zealand to stay in Australia for 3 months – YIPPEEEEE!!

They have six grandchildren here, so more than enough kids to keep them very busy!  They’re all young and full of beans and want nothing more than to bounce or climb all over Grandma and have Grandad chase them down the hall. It must be exhausting! They don’t complain though. I think they know they can give them back at the end of the day, and it’s for a finite time so it will soon go back to the twice a year visits.

For my sister and I it is EXTREMELY helpful and a bit of a godsend to have them here. How do people cope without Grandma and Grandad around to help out every now and again? Makes a world of difference to how much you can get done having the kids off your hands – in good hands, and you know they are having fun. Even if it is for a few hours, it’s brilliant!

The kids all LOVE them to death of course, and would much rather hang out with fun grandparents than yelly parents any day.

When they have to go home again, the kids, and more to the point, we are going to be DEVASTATED! It’s ages away and already we’re dreading it! Sigh.

We need a teleport machine thingy.

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And the little one said has a love of good design, beautifully made, quality children’s clothing, toys, accessories and home décor – in fact, all manner of stylish things for your little one. The range has been carefully selected from Australian and New Zealand designers and go from newborn up to size 10.

And the little one said –‘ because everyone needs a little style’

 

 

 

 

Morning Mama

This morning my beautiful 2 year old woke me very early by gently stroking my arm and quietly, sweetly saying “morning Mama”

I picked her up, gave her a cuddle and pulled her into bed with me  3…2…1…
AAAARRRGGHH!!! MY BLANKIE!!! GET IT!!! WHERE IS IT!!!!!!!
This lasted some time, and through some excellent negotiation (fog horn in the ear) I got up to get it for her.  It wasn’t until I returned that I noticed my husband had been awake for the entire episode reading highlights from last nights cricket – that is of course presuming he slept at all having gone to bed doing the same thing.
I muttered something rather unbecoming and promptly took myself to the beach
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We leave Christchurch today, just me and our 3 girls while my husband stays behind for a further week catching up with friends and heading to his annual boys weekend which may have something to do with why he was greeted with the bird from me this morning
Not much compares to a stroll on the beach, to fill the senses, clear the head and get a short sharp reality check, no one can deny Sydney’s beaches are utterly stunning, but I have always missed Christchurch’s beaches, despite the grey sand, cold water and rather persistent, rather chilly coastal breeze, you are allowed to take your dog there and throw a stick for hours, that has to be the greatest leveller I know.
That and riding a miniature horse
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We have been pretty spoilt on this trip so far. The food has been amazing and we have been so lucky with the weather.  The wedding we attended was flawless with possibly the kindest, warmest bunch of people I have ever met… and the prettiest little flower girl in the land.
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Off to Wellington now for lots of coffees, fishing with Granddad and some bush trekking (these kids need to be hiked up and down a few mountains)
Speaking of coffee, the cafe I am in has this poster..
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It’s still pretty tough in Christchurch, they are all such heroes for just getting on with it after the earthquakes, and making sure the people around you are ‘all right’ is high on the agenda..
All the tags have been taken except one, it reads “you’re awesome at ………….”
I’m pretty sure I will remember something my cricket mad husband with selective hearing is awesome at by the time I finish this coffee.