Since its launch this summer, Atelier/Child has become the go-to knitwear brand for fashion loving parents and gift buyers alike, offering high-fashion modern classics, from beautiful statement knits to super luxe baby blankets.
Here at The Mini Edit HQ we’re head over heels with the brand and its uber glam founders, ex-Vogue Australia deputy editor and founder of The Grace Tales, Georgie Abay, and communications consultant Jessica Baird Walsh.
After taking over their Insta feed back in September to give their many fans a sneak peak behind the scenes here at The Mini Edit HQ, we sat down with team Atelier/Child to get the inside scoop on how they came to build what is fast becoming the coolest knitwear brand in kids’ fashion.
What did you both do before starting Atelier/Child?
Jessica: I worked in a variety of communications roles within large media organisations for years, and then spent three years doing public affairs for Amnesty International. My experience spans everything from writing and producing shoots, to tour and events management, to publicity and issues advocacy. I’ve always wanted to have my own business, and am now finding that each of my previous roles has prepared me in its own way for the many hats you have to wear in the early stages of a new business. Georgie worked in magazines for over a decade, most recently as the deputy editor of VOGUE Australia. She also edits a website targeted at stylish mothers called The Grace Tales. Atelier/Child is a new direction for both of us – it’s exciting that motherhood inspires a new life direction.
How did the idea for Atelier/Child come about?
Georgie: Jessica and I had talked about launching a business together for years. We have very similar taste and would often discuss different ideas. But life got in the way and between us we now have five children (Jessica just had a beautiful baby girl Paloma May!). About a year ago, we decided to finally make it happen. It’s kind of crazy that we launched Atelier/Child when we did. I don’t think I’ve ever been so sleep deprived or time poor in my life, but I do think motherhood gives you super human energy and determination. I’ve never felt so motivated or inspired in my life – it’s hard work juggling work with motherhood but a wonderful life stage.
Jessica: We wanted to create a brand that combined statement luxury with the wearability that children demand. We have sourced the finest natural yarns to create beautiful heirloom quality knits that mothers will love to own, and children will love to wear. Our baby blankets which are stocked at The Mini Edit make the ultimate gift for a new baby and are a perfect eye-catching piece for every new mother’s nursery or stroller.
How did you guys take it from an idea to a real business?
Jessica: We worked on the product development and debut Fall/Winter 15-16 range for months and are really proud of what we’ve achieved. I remember visiting Sydney last Christmas and showing Georgie the first round of samples – it was a defining moment. Atelier/Child was really happening! We have poured hours and hours into this business, but when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and more importantly, it’s yours, it doesn’t feel like work.
What is it like working together and how do you make it work?
Georgie: We’re dear friends and have been for many years so it’s pretty fun getting to work with someone you love! We often switch between work mode and friend mode and will always catch up on our personal life and what’s been happening along with work stuff. I live in Sydney and Jessica lives in Hong Kong, so we spend a lot of time on Skype and Whats App. It’s definitely challenging not being in an office together and I look forward to the day when we actually get to work face-to-face! In the meantime, it’s Skype and Whats App until we meet again in January when we show our Fall/Winter 16-17 range at Playtime Paris. We presented the collection at Playtime New York earlier in the year and there were lots of laughs on that trip.
What does an average day look like at Atelier Child HQ?
Jessica: We usually schedule a couple of calls earlier in the week to run through everything and catch up. Each day is varied. We are usually working on about a million things at once. Product development, range planning, press, liaising with buyers, social media, visiting our manufacturers, organizing photo shoots, processing orders – the list really is endless!
When you sit down to plan the next collection what’s your process?
Jessica: It’s quite an organic process and luckily we have very similar taste so tend to agree on the direction of a new collection. Atelier/Child is very classic and timeless, so we’re not too influenced by trends although we do look at them. While we love a splash of colour and a bold print we’re also about the classics and have introduced a range of fashion basics. The collection features classic crew neck sweaters and cardigans in timeless colours such as navy and grey. Every kid needs these pieces in their closet!
What have you found the most challenging about running the business?
Georgie: Everything takes so much longer than you’d imagine. We also both work from home which can be challenging as calls are often made with our kids on our laps or a toddler demanding you put Peppa Pig on your laptop when you’re trying to write a work email. Sometimes I think it’d be easier to go to an office three days a week and really separate work from home, but I like being at home while the kids are so young and wouldn’t have it any other way.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of launching their own business?
Georgie: Go for it! I admire people who follow their dreams and aren’t afraid of taking risks. You only live once right? If it doesn’t work out, at least you tried. I really believe you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
How does your business work around your families or vice versa?
Georgie: Each week is different and it’s a huge juggling act for both of us. Some weeks are harder than others and if either of us have sick children or are not sleeping, it’s not the most productive of weeks! But the great thing about having our own business is the flexibility it brings. Motherhood makes you see the bigger picture. You don’t sweat the small stuff at work like you used to.
What’s been the biggest highlight so far?
Jessica: There have been many. Playtime New York was a highlight. To have finished our first collection and present it to the market was a proud moment. It looked fantastic and more importantly, totally unique. There is nothing else like it in the market. Also launching a pop-up store with Melbourne’s iconic designer womenswear boutique Le Louvre back in July was a highlight. Atelier/Child sat alongside brands such as Celine and Givenchy, and this was the first time Le Louvre had ever carried a childrenswear brand. Oh, and getting press from Vogue.com.au, Buro 247 and Buzzfeed was cool!
What’s next for Atelier Child?
Jessica: We’re currently selling our Spring/Summer collection and Fall/Winter is in the works. Spring looks amazing but Winter – WOW. We are introducing more product categories and have a special collaboration in the works. Stay tuned!
Photography : Julie Adams