I’ve spoken before about my love of small brands. There’s something pretty magical about buying and item that has been lovingly created by someone else, knowing its relatively unique and there aren’t hundreds of others out there donning the shelves of a department store. Knowing how much care and dedication goes into the creation of a product from a smaller brand is really special to me and I love the fact that buying from a small business means I have supported another (often) mother in her quest to support her family by doing something she loves and truly believes in.
So imagine my delight when my lovely friend Kate from university contacted me to let me know she’d just launched her own online Children’s boutique called Max and Hattie. Hello Amazing Mama!! What made this news extra special was the fact that the ethos behind Kate’s store is her wish to support small businesses, focusing solely on brands lovingly created in the UK. It sounded like a dream come true and I found myself skimming the pages of her beautiful new website within seconds of receiving her email!
Max and Hattie is a treasure trove of stunning children and baby gifts, all lovingly created by independent retailers from throughout the UK. Kate has worked hard to curate a collection of colourful items that will bring joy to any nursery and evoke feelings of happiness to any passer-by!! The quality of the items she has chosen is also second to none … like these beautiful woollen pram blankets by Lala and Bea.
By creating an online store of unique children’s gifts, Kate has created a one stop shop for those who might be on the look out for a special gift, but who don’t have the time to trawl Instagram or Etsy for inspiration. I particularly like the Baby Gifts section which features some of my favourite smaller brands including Etta Loves, Kokoso Baby and Blossom and Bear. If you are searching for a special gift, perhaps for an up and coming baby shower, or impending new arrival and are uninspired by what the high street has to offer, then this section of her site is the perfect starting point for you
Kate has some fantastic retailers on her site with gifts for all occasions
I’m so excited for Kate and her new venture. She’s poured her heart and soul into creating something she feels really passionate about and in doing so has managed to bring a wide selection of high quality independent brands to your attention – all under the same roof (albeit a cyber roof at the moment!!). I feel really privileged being able to bring this piece to you as I just know you are going to find something you love on her site. …
I also love the idea that every time you buy from a small business, you make the owner do a little happy dance and because on this occasion Kate is my friend, this will make a little blog owner do a little happy dance too!
So without further adieu lets move on from all this slushy stuff and meet my lovely friend Kate who you have now heard so much about…
Let’s meet Kate from Max and Hattie
1. In your past life, what was your job before creating ‘Max and Hattie’?
It really does feel like a past life! I was a global contract manager for an environmental company, we monitored petrol stations to minimise the possibility of leaks.
2. Was there a defining moment when you thought, I’m going to do this’ and become self-employed?
After leaving my career in January I started to miss the challenge. I first thought about doing this 2 years ago while on maternity leave, and I imagined what we could have already achieved in those 2 years, I knew then I had to go for it, I didn’t want to be sat thinking the same thing next year.
3. Max and Hattie stock the most incredible hand crafted items Do you have a favourite?
Thank-you so much Emma. The makers that are a part of Max & Hattie are truly incredible, the amount of love and work that goes into everything is just unbelievable. I have so many favourites, at the moment it’s got to be the Rainbow pennant flag by House of Hooray, it holds so many different meanings for people and it is absolutely beautiful.
4. Describe a typical working day in the life of Max and Hattie?
Our day varies at the moment from researching new brands to add to the team, taking pictures of the items with my little assistant trying to get at the front of the camera, and the all important post run where Max loves to have a little chat with everyone.
5. What has been your proudest moment since establishing Max and Hattie?
There have been so many in such a short space of time, but it has got to be launching! It was a long time coming and plucking up the courage to just go for it and get such positive feedback from everyone was incredible, when you have been working on something for so long on your own, then other people start seeing it and actually like what they see, that is just something else.
Another one was our first Christmas market and for exactly the same reasons, to have all the products out in front of us and for people to see them in person made it all very real. Being able to tell everyone where each product has come from, who made it, and a little about their journey fills me with such pride for the products I’m selling.
6. How is life juggling a business and the cheeky Max?
Max must have known the day we launched and decided that he no longer needed naps. I’m still trying to find our balance and I probably always will but I’m learning quickly when I can and can’t get things done, while trying not to cause too much disturbance to our time together. So bedtime is when I get most things done oh and those golden few minutes in the car you can just about get away with, in between pulling up and getting out. What would we do without those few minutes?!
7. Do you have any advice for mothers thinking of setting up their own business?
If you’re thinking about it just go for it! There is a lot to learn on the job and a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into it, but if its something you really want to do and are passionate about then it will be the best thing you ever did.
8. Finally are you glad you did it?
So so glad, it has been a rollercoaster journey already and I know for sure there’s more to come, but I’m enjoying every minute of it. And if I can make this work for our little family then that’s a bonus.
To celebrate our collaboration Kate has kindly offered a 15% DISCOUNT for all Ettie and Me readers 🙂 Just enter the code ETTIE at the checkout to receive all your discounted goodies. HAPPY EASTER FROM US xxx
You can find Kate’s store at MaxandHattie.com or at one of the fantastic Makers Markets located in and around the North West. She’s also on Instagram here @MaxandHattie