Struggling to source matching tops and bottoms for her baby son that were cute, comfortable and affordable, Isabella Ruffell set out to design and create her own. This gap in the market for everyday toddler outfits that are both practical and stylish inspired her to launch Frankly Kids. All of their pieces are designed, cut and sewn on her kitchen table in Auckland, New Zealand, using 100% cotton that is locally sourced and pre-washed to ensure there is no shrinkage. Here, Isabella shares with us her business journey so far.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
When my son Franklin was born, and throughout his first year, I really struggled to find stylish, matching tops and bottoms that were affordable (since they grow so quickly!), so I brought out my sewing machine again and started to sew him a few basics. There seemed to be a gap in the market for everyday toddler outfits that look great, but that are also comfortable and practical. For Franklin and a few of his friends’ first birthdays, I made them jumpers with a vinyl letter on them. I loved how they turned out, and from there the idea of Frankly was born!
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Small! All of the Frankly pieces are designed, cut and sewn on our kitchen table in Auckland, New Zealand so I’m limited on how much I can sell due to how much time I have to make the pieces. With each collection, I’m working out better and faster ways to do things, which is a big help.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
As a new business, some of the biggest breakthroughs have just been the behind-the-scenes part of running a small business, like working out the best way to ship and building the website.