Yay ... it's another Wee Bit of Wonderful blogpost today and we are so happy to be able to introduce you to some of our new friends! Stacey and I met the lovely Katie and Caroline from Lala and Bea at Spirit of Christmas when both of us fell ever so slightly in love with their sweatshirt range! We've been chatted and managed to meet up a couple of times since then and shared lots of advice and tips with each other over the last few months so we were delighted to be able to share their story on the blog!
We are Caroline & Katie, two friends and mamas behind Lala & Bea, an ethical family lifestyle brand who design unisex products predominantly made in the UK. We produce lovely things for boys and girls that can be passed down regardless of gender and try to use Organic materials where possible. We feel passionate about supporting British manufacturing and it's great to meet everyone in the process from the people knitting the fabric to the people sewing on the labels. Our range includes an Organic family skincare brand with products that are suitable for use by all the family, including throughout pregnancy, handwoven pure new wool blankets and picnic rugs, organic sweats and tees and a range of colourful and fun patterned merino wool bobble hats. We use traditional British designs and patterns but with a twist, bright colours or a fun slogan print to make something more contemporary.
We met at Winchester School of Art while studying Fashion but even then dreamed of running our own business. It was still only a dream after both moving to London and getting jobs, Caroline worked as a designer starting out at Jack Wills and Katie went into Visual Merchandising for Karen Millan, eventually opening all of their international stores. It wasn't until we both had children of our own, four between us ranging from 5 - 10 years old, that we realised we wanted to do something for ourselves that fitted around our lifestyle so we could be there for our children and working the 9-5 just didn't fit somehow.
We know loads of (mainly) women from our industry that have done the same thing, which has been great because we have a great network of small brands and like minded people who can all help one another out with advise or support. We both work separately from our homes and one thing we were really worried about starting our own business was that we would miss the daily contact with other people in the office, no one to bounce ideas off or talk about rubbish TV shows with but we have been so lucky. We talk a lot on the phone to each other and the other brands we have met along the way on a similar journey.
Our inspiration predominantly comes from our kids and our family. As parents there have been loads of things along the way we have felt were missing or things that we wanted to buy but couldn't find. We love pattern and spend hours looking though old knitting patterns or traditional wall papers. We also love midcentury modern and the simplicity of Scandinavian design so try to bring the essence to our products. Now our kids ask us for things. Some of the new sweats are direct quotes from things the kids have said and the Bear range is from when Katie used to call her mum Mama Bear as a kid and is now Grannie Bear to hers!