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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Where is my mind?

To be fair I wrote this when it had not stopped raining FOR EVER, and I am slowly regaining some brain function woohoo! but I thought you might like to see how brilliantly I was coping at the end of winter.

With colds and weather and sudden crazy annoying insomnia turning me into a zombie, I thought I should write a post regarding a rather embarrassing … problem of mine which is now worse than ever.

I am, to put it mildly, rubbish at finishing a sentence.

Now I will let you stew this over with an example.  I met a new Mum at the play ground and We were discussing the difference between my daughters, “One is pretty shy” I said, “the other is as chatty as a ……..”   That’s right, I stopped.  I made a point to stare hard at something of no importance behind the lady I was talking to, I checked my bag for a loose tic tac and I said nothing more, eyes averted.

I suspect it is because after having 3 kids, I have been interrupted for 99% of my conversations for the past 6 years.  I am so used to being cut off before I finish speaking that the part of my brain that stores witty turns of phrase has been replaced with some other garbage, like kids iceblock stick craft ideas from pinterest.

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Just as likely is the small machine purring away in the back of my mind, largely fuelled by guilt asking 50 questions a minute and often overrulling any other rational thought.  “Did I leave the iron on, of course not I haven’t ironed in weeks, I should really iron more, my poor husband, I wonder if she irons? Where did she get those shoes? does she have that style in other colours? why can’t I find the perfect flats? I haven’t washed my hair, I must look like a junkie, I hope I’m not scaring her off with my junkie attire, where the hell are the kids? should I be concerned? I really shouldn’t have yelled at my oldest for pouring out the cereal, am I too hard? do I need to do more homework with them? Did I feed them lunch? I forgot to pay that bill for that thing, I have got to stop buying coffees…”

On the plus side, My husband and I have started collecting some ridiculous made up words I have come up with, Also, having a quick search on the internet it looks like I’m not alone.

Now without googling too much (NEVER google too much) there are some helpful wee hints that I might have to try to defuzz the brain and retain a little dignity in social situations. This particular list is from a site encouragingly called “Am I losing my mind?” but I will sum it up in an achievable way for a Mum like me who has no time for excessive deprivation or commitment.

Omega 3 – Eat loads of lovely smoked salmon mmm

Sleep – Wear ear plugs.

Drink water – I’m lame enough to need one of those bottles with hourly drinking levels. I particularly like this blog detailing in several photos the clever crafty 12 step process to using a permanent marker on a bottle. see here

Drink Coffee – ok

Tumeric – I am like a child with tumeric, I will eat tumeric so long as someone else hides it in my meal without my knowledge

Laugh often – really, my kids are hilarious.

Manage your vices – My alcohol is beautifully managed thank you

Stay active – Aahh, well. My daughter likes to challenge me to a dance off whenever we argue.  I might have to start taking her up on that. I do have some pretty smooth moves.

collage els dancing

And the little one said is a boutique online children’s clothing, accessories, toys and home decor site run by two sisters with lots of kids between them and a love of all things beautiful.

 

 

A geriatric mother

I had my third bub at the tender age of 43 and now a month off 45 (when did that creep up on me??) I find myself with an extremely active and rambunctious 15 month old little boy running around.  There is a fair bit of “Oh God I’m too old for this!” going on at the moment.

I know I am not the only one.  Of my Mums group with my first child (I was 36 so well above the national average of 29) I fitted somewhere in the middle age wise, and I wasn’t the only one to have a late third.  Some of the Mums I know at school are also well and truly in my age bracket, which is extremely comforting, although I fear by the time my third reaches school I am going to be found out a bit.  Those damn wrinkles.

Loved the medical practice’s attitude towards us oldies.  It’s bad enough that they put the frighteners on with horrible stats around miscarriage, high risk of twins (didn’t know that one!) and numerous chromosomal abnormalities, but to add insult to injury, I was called either a ‘geriatric mother’ or of ‘advanced maternal age’ on all the various forms.  Lovely.  Lots of extra tests are encouraged as you can imagine and it’s all quite a trial.  Makes you feel somewhat in the bad books for having the cheek to have a baby at such an ‘advanced’ age!  Sigh.  It’s not like we need reminding but thanks anyway.

So with my great age, must come wisdom (surely!?) so I thought i’d put together a short list outlining my experiences of being a, God forbid, ‘geriatric mother’.  Let me tell you third time around helps too ; )

Good news:

  • I soooo don’t care about keeping up with the Joneses.
  • I don’t have to worry about wearing any kind of short skirt or skimpy outfit – think mutton dressed as a lamb.  Comfortable (and dare I say somewhat daggy) is just fine by me.
  • Been there, done that.  Kinda of know what to expect third time around.
  • Poop, vomit, mess, general yuckiness does not throw me in the least.
  • There’s no panic if junior doesn’t eat what he’s given.  They’ll eventually eat, promise.
  • Organic?  Sorry, all to hard.  Whatever is in the fridge is just fine.
  • No such thing as a schedule.  He’ll just have to fit in.

Bad news:

  • The knees, hips, shoulders and back hurts where it shouldn’t.
  • Harder to bend down to pick up the numerous toys, containers, pots, pens, remotes etc, etc that get randomly thrown about.
  • COMPLETELY over going to the park.
  • I’m going to look ridiculous at the beach, park, school grounds wherever at 55 trying to play ball with my 10 year old.
  • I fit in at the school ok now, but when Mr 1 year old goes to school at 5 and a bit I am going to look (and lets be fair, I will actually be) ancient.
  • The kids have no appreciation at all for 80’s music and I don’t know any other kind.
  • Despite my general laziness to make any effort to ‘look the part’ I do in fact feel quite bad sometimes that I could do better (that particular term has been written on my report cards from school for as long as I can remember – that’s probably saying something).

Here’s an article in Scary Mommy on being an older Mum.  She’s got it pegged.

And the little one said is a boutique online children’s clothing, accessories, toys and home decor site run by two sisters with lots of kids between them and a love of all things beautiful.