We couldn’t be more excited to have been selected as one of only a handful of retailers in the world to launch The Runaway Design Collective’s latest collaboration with Anita King, a gorgeous capsule collection of sleepsuits screen printed with Anita’s iconic landscape paintings. We sat down with the sisters behind the brand to get the inside scoop on life at this awesome creative power house…
What did you both do before starting The Runaway Design Collective?
Charlie was the Financial Controller at MTV UK and Kate was an adviser at the BBC’s international development charity, BBC Media Action. Both a world away from the world of kidswear and the fashion industry!
How did the idea for The Runaway Design Collective come about?
We were pretty appalled by a lack of choice when we had our own kids, and not at all keen in dressing the little ones in blue or pink, or heavily branded merchandise. We had an idea, and a load of artist friends (and siblings) whose archives we raided to find kid-friendly designs, and the Runaway Design Collective was up and running.
How did you guys take it from an idea to a real business?
We just got stuck in. We tried not to overthink things too much, so once we had a small range that we were happy with, we soft launched to see what people thought about us and our designs. Fairly early on we got ourselves onto Campus for Mums, Google’s initiative to support start-ups founded by parents. That was a brilliant help amazing speakers and a great network of mums and dads dealing with similar issues to us.
What is it like working together and how do you make it work?
Working with your best mate is a bit of a rollercoaster ride. It’s amazing to share the highs, but it totally changes the nature of your relationship. Learning to manage challenges is tricky, and inevitably your relationship becomes heavily focused on work rather than play. On the upside, we get to spend loads of time together, and we’re so happy with the way things are going for Runaway right now!
What does an average day look like at The Runaway Design Collective HQ?
We hang out the kids in the morning and try to get them all sleeping in the afternoon to print. Phone calls and emails are juggled mostly in the evenings. Tactics and strategy mostly on the phone whenever we have a free minute!
What do you look for when selecting artists to collaborate with?
We’re only interested in working with people who get and like what we’re doing. We’re not looking for people who make art for kids, but we are looking for pieces that will engage kids creatively, and will work with the garments we’re using. We talk a lot about kid-led design, and we involve our own kids in selecting designs to take into production. And at the end of the day we’re a collective, so we want our artists to feel part of what we’re doing.
What have you found the most challenging about building an ethical business?
Probably getting the balance right in terms of ethical sourcing and pricing. We knew all along that we wanted our garments to be produced under ethical conditions, and that we wanted to offer organic where we can. But we also wanted to be accessible and affordable. Doing all of that is tricky, and we’ve still got some work to do in that area.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of launching their own business?
Don’t underestimate how much work is involved. Get started without over-thinking things and refine your business based on real world feedback. Stay true to who you are and what you set out to do.
How does your business work around your families or vice versa?
We work a lot with the kids, who are best of friends. We work a lot when they’re asleep. And we try not to be too hard on ourselves and each other when family needs our attention, and Runaway has to take a back seat for a bit.
What’s been the biggest highlight so far?
Joining The Mini Edit crew! It was love at first sight for us and Anita King’s landscapes and we were so excited at the prospect of producing some exclusives for The Mini Edit.
What’s next for The Runaway Design Collective?
We just want to get our lovely stuff onto more little kids from all around the world. Simple really. Though of course it will involve a mountain of work. Luckily we still love what we’re doing so we’re totally up for the challenge.
The limited edition capsule is available now, but be quick because we’re pretty sure it won’t be around for long!