We are TWO! And with a little business, you need to take whatever milestone you make and celebrate the heck out of it – which in our case involved a picnic party with 6 kids in tow, champagne, the odd mishap … Continue reading
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.
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 ; )
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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’
There seems to be a troubling theme going on with my posts – a yearning for child-free getaways!
Little darlings that they are, they can certainly be a handful. I think what I need is to find a hobby. That might solve the problem. Something that’s just for me.
The problem of course is going to be fitting it in between everything else that is going on in my life. Already work is squeezed in whenever I have a free hour in between 3 x kids, meals, house stuff and everything else that seems to be in my job description. Sadly exercise is way down the list (and I am acutely aware it shouldn’t be!). I bought a 10 class gym pass 5 weeks ago and have managed to go twice in that time. Sigh. Trying to find some “me time” is a going to be a big ask.
If by some small miracle, I could find this precious time, then the question is what “hobby” would I choose. I’d have to have a good think about that, because I’m not actually sure what that would be. I’m thinking something creative, something to do with art or something that would be fun to do – craft, sewing of some sort? Although who am I kidding, my sewing is abysmal, and not sure I want it to be any better because then I would feel obliged to actually use that skill every now and again. I’m not the scrapbooking, card making type either. Maybe a bookclub? I’d also love to go to art shows every now and again, although would find it hard to come home without purchasing whatever masterpiece I fell in love with.
My other problem is my husband is away from anywhere between 1-3 nights a week for work, so I can never rely on him to be home to look after the kiddies on any one night. Hmmm, all sounds in the too hard basket, but also a very appealing idea! Then again, I really probably need to get in some exercise as a priority first. Still have 3 babies worth of chubby left over –and lets be honest, I was never a slim jim to start with to there is some serious work to be done.
Small steps is what I need. Right at this moment, think I will take advantage of my parents in-law visiting and nip to the supermarket on my own – bliss! (and yet so sad).
NB. With thanks to ‘Everything I need to know I learned from a little Golden Book (Diane Muldrow). So true.
www.andthelittleonesaid.com.au is an online store that offers beautifully made, quality children’s clothing, accessories, toys and home decor. Because everyone needs a little style.
We’re off to our first market this weekend – woohoo! Partly to try out how And the little one said will fare in a market setting and partly (probably leaning towards this one more…) because we wanted to get away for the weekend on our own! Read sans family! Two girls, Thelma and Louise style. Yay!
My sister and I are realizing that running a business from home with little kids around us all day is actually not that easy! So any excuse to run away is grabbed with both hands! It is business of course, but hopefully we can squeeze in some leisure time. Five hours in a car not having to listen to the Lion King DVD, constant requests for food, or fighting over some random toy sounds like bliss to me! I’m actually even looking forward to the long drive through the Blue Mountains and lovely Australian countryside to get to the market.
Hubbies are on duty for the weekend and we’re trying to figure out ways and means to leave as early as we can – surely we can leave Friday night instead of Saturday morning can’t we??
We’re heading to Orange – some 5 hours west of Sydney. We’ve been told there are some lovely shops to browse through and some wineries and wine bars to visit. These are on our list The White Place, The Union Bank Wine Bar, A Slice of Orange, the Belgravia Vineyard and i’m sure there are a lot more!
Sadly, we need to be at the market from 5am on Sunday morning, so not sure that the wine bars will be visited for long (or maybe we just pay for it later?)
If you’re over that way, come and see us at the Millthorpe Markets near Orange. Very excited!
P.S. Please don’t rain!
And the little one said – Offers beautifully made, quality children’s clothing, accessories, toys and home décor. Please come visit us to check it out.