Tell us about your family
I am a single parent. I have a daughter, Ruby (aged 5).
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I had been working for 15 yrs or so as a designer of Womenswear, mainly for sport and street wear brands. I lived a long time in Australia, I studied in New York and then moved to France where I stayed over a decade – moving back to the UK with my baby girl I was shocked at the gendered aisles so I set about to create an alternative. A unisex brand for children.
I had plenty of experience working on collections for other lifestyle focussed brands and so the transition felt very natural.
When did you launch?
My First collection for Tootsa MacGinty was AW11 (we launched at our first trade show in January 2011)
As a single parent with a small baby (Ruby was 9 months old) I was working freelance and feeling a little bored.
The evenings, once I’d put Ruby to bed, were long and lonely and I sketched the logo and the first collection very easily.
I then contacted the factories I had enjoyed working with in Portugal and touched base with some ex colleagues for advice, a bank loan was secured and a trade show booked.
I am extremely lucky to have a strong and supportive family (my parents are my business partners and my brother a highly talented photographer). We share the same concerns about gender-stereotypes in the children’s toy and clothing industry and together our drive to create an alternative made sure it got off the ground.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business
I have managed to create a job that is ideally suited to my creative lifestyle and, slightly controversial, personality. I’ve never been someone to accept the status-quo, I like to challenge things that I cannot accept and that I think can be changed. And becoming a parent I felt an immediate urge to buck the trend of beauty, domesticity and pink products forced upon our daughters. It has been extremely rewarding; doing something this creative with a strong philosophy I believe in.
Now that Tootsa MacGinty is really up and running I’m really thankful to be able to work alongside a very dynamic team of women. I’ve managed to surround myself with some of the best in Sales and PR and they’re tantamount to driving the business forward. The best thing about it all is that we’ve formed really close friendships and it’s just a pleasure to go into the office to work!
We would like to see Tootsa MacGinty grow so that we can continue to manufacture in Europe for a highly profitable margin. At the moment our profits suffer; as a new business our manufacturing runs are small and the out lays and risks high but we are growing. Our main aim is for staff to be well paid and work for a company with proud ethics. A healthy environment, a happy workforce and a product to be proud of. We are currently looking for investment.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
One day maybe! I adore living in London and the excitement and adrenaline that comes with running a business but I can still picture myself in a sundress and floppy hat, feeding my chickens at my beach hut beside a beautiful surf break!
Where do you hope to be in five years time?
Tootsa MacGinty will be helping to galvanise a trend for more gender neutral clothing for children.
We will also have flag ship stores selling innovative, unisex products and corners in all the best stores around the world.
Your website link: tootsa.com