Since I became part of this whole motherhood thing I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of brilliant mama makers and kid-centric brands. A new (for me) undiscovered variety of positive, supportive people who ‘get’ what this new story brings and want to do their best to make it easier/say ‘me too’. Which, to be frank, really really helps.
Instagram has been my friend through night feed scrolls and daily cat lols. But it has also been the way I’ve discovered so many of these great new mama world folk. So I wanted to highlight a few of my new faves I’ve discovered via Instagram. To share the joy of the products along with the background story about what has inspired them and how they found their way into the mama merch world.
The first design mama profile is on Lucy Marsden-Rogers and her knitted jewellery brand Golly Gumdrops – which launched just this year and is already popping up all over my feed (mama’s been busy!).
She creates original designs of very wearable knitted accessories made from wool and recycled fabrics from her home in Hackney. Her designs include chunky, eco and teething friendly knitted jewellery and incredibly cute baby bonnets (one of which is the latest essential addition to Max’s wardrobe).
Read on to find out about Lucy’s thoughts on launching a creative brand, juggling running a business while running around after a two year old, avoiding the pitfalls of throwaway fashion and sharing her top tip for a day out with a little’un.
Lucy Marsden-Rogers pictured wearing a Golly Gumdrops necklace in a silver colourway
How she does it:
I work from home, mostly during nap times and after my two year old (Sonny) has gone to bed. He isn’t very impressed if I can’t give him my full attention at all times! I tend to work in front of Netflix or listening to music.
The juggle struggle is real! My two years old has just started part time nursery which I am hoping will give me a bit more time on my business and allow me to return to my old day job two days a week.
How it all began:
Before I had Sonny I was an Early Years practitioner. I had been working for the same school in Nottinghill for 10 years, so I was more than I little disappointed when they told me I had to return full time or resign. I miss it hugely, I was so invested in the school and its lovely children and parents.
The building of my business was fairly organic, not so much a eureka moment, more of a “oh, people like my work and want to buy it!” moment. My first sale was one of my original design baby bonnets in soft grey and dusky pink for a friend of a friend.
My ex’s Mum taught me to knit when I was 18, I’ve always been quite crafty and I love learning new skills. I studied set design and make-artistry when I was at college, I hoped to go into theatre work but I soon realised I don’t have a competitive enough streak for theatre land. I have lots of crafty skills up my sleeves but I tend to save them for personal projects and classroom activities.
Finding a USP:
I wanted to make teething and baby wearing jewellery originally, I bought some teething beads but they are just not my style and I really missed wearing accessories. I researched lots of options but they all seemed to come back to the classic teething beads that the market is saturated with, so I thought about what my son would chew on in the carrier and I realised it was usually my t shirt.
The environmental impact of today’s “throwaway” fashion is very important to me and I wanted to create something that would be sustainable, so I started experimenting with recycled jersey yarn and the first necklace was born! The pieces are so tactile and now my son is out of the teething/fiddling stage he like to wear his own necklace.
The first necklace
Where she sources her materials:
If I tell you that I will have to kill you 😂
My favourite knitting needles are rosewood ones from wool and the gang and I use Fred Aldous for all my sundries such as scissors and rotary cutters. I get my packaging from several different eco packaging companies and to keep costs down, I hand stamp my logo on to it.
Future plans for Golly Gumdrops:
At the moment I only sell online (here) I’m doing two night markets and two school fairs in the lead up to Christmas. But I’m looking to get stocked in a handful on independent shops next year. I’ve just started making ‘Mama & Me’ hat sets and I’m looking forward to doing a super special Mother’s Day Box in 2018.
Lucy’s top three mama makers:
I have got so much love for Betty Ratbag (@bettyratbag) and her wonderful breastfeeding supportive merchandise, as well as her woman positive products.
I absolutely adore Rosie Girl (rosiegirl_kids) and her beautiful handmade dolls. I particularly love her Frida Kahlo and Coco Channel dolls, why give a generic dolly when you can give a role model dolly
I’m really loving Milk and Moon (@milkandmoonuk) pins at the moment, especially the women supporting women one 💪
Best day out for little’uns The massive slide by Here East on the Olympic site is good fun and the Atherton Leisure Centre in Newham has a soft play room that is usually nice and quiet.