We’re very excited to be chatting to the fab mama duo behind Olive Loves Alfie, a beautiful lifestyle store for creative families! Read all about their relaunch, local mama meet ups and exciting future plans below.
Hi Ashlyn & Emma, tell us a bit about yourselves?
Foremost we are both mums – Ashlyn to Olive (13) and Emma to Finn (4) and Violet (1).
Ashlyn – I own the store and have a background in fashion, running my own label in the 80’s and Head of Creative for iconic British footwear brand Red or Dead. I set up my own kids store 10 years ago championing the best independent and unisex kids brands around. I’ve also written two bestselling books, Creative Family Home and Creative Children’s Spaces.
Emma – I run a kids fashion and lifestyle blog over at Finlay Fox and used to work as a buyer at Boden for the last 10 years. We recently collaborated together to relaunch Olive Loves Alfie and a series of sellout events for parents held at Olive Loves Alfie East in E20. We both love and support unique and independent brands and challenge the traditional view of boy-and-girl style and play.
Can you share with us the story behind the re-launch of Olive Loves Alfie?
Emma – Olive Loves Alfie is 10 years old so Ashlyn thought it was prime time to rebrand and relaunch to take the brand into the next 10 years of its life! It was really exciting to collaborate and work together going back to basics and focusing on the core values of the brand that still hold true today.
Ashlyn – We relaunched with a Who Do You Love? campaign where we brought back the customised tee that the brand name came from. It was so nice to see other kids wearing their ‘…loves… ‘ tees including Finlay & Parker!, Chloe Uber Kid and Mother Pukka. We shot our own label kimonos and some inspirational room edits at my location space The Clapton Laundry.
What’s been the best part about joining forces so far?
Emma – Definitely that we are both bringing lots of different elements of experience to the table! Ashlyn’s experience as a stylist and strong figure in the children clothing industry (one of the first to bring Scandi kids brands to the UK market) and my experience as working for a great British brand (Boden) and blogging. Its amazing being able to bounce ideas off each other and drive each other to be a real powerhouse duo!!
Ashlyn – After 10 years of driving the business its a complete joy to work with someone who I really connect with on many levels. Working with another mum makes a huge difference – we both understand the pressures of being parents and trying to fit in work around family life.
Your OLA meet up events are a huge success! What tends to happen at them?
Emma – We love creating our own community so it’s really nice to get mums and dads together at our OLA Mama! events. These take place at our second store, Olive Loves Alfie East in E20 Stratford which has more room for meet ups and workshops. We normally have a special guest for example Natalie from Style Me Sunday talking about mum fashion or more recently a baby sleep consultant who gave lots of top tips on achieving better sleep with your little one. Babies and kids are welcome so its normally fairly busy and noisy! We drink tea and coffee and it’s a great way to meet new people and also do a bit of shopping for yourself and your little ones!
Tell us about your new Kimonos?
Ashlyn – I used to travel to Japan twice a year and always brought back kimonos for me and Olive. Growing up wearing them they became a signature that people always commented on. When I opened Olive Loves Alfie the global style that was very personal to us became a focal point of my brand. To celebrate our relaunch we designed a new range of kimonos in hand block printed indigo fabrics from Jaipur. We are committed to producing in the UK and have worked with Heba a women’s social enterprise in East London. Kids clothes should be designed with longevity in mind – our kimonos do just that! They last for at least 2 years and when they are too small they look great hanging on a bamboo cane. They are an Olive Loves Alfie classic that we want to challenge the basic tee!
Any other SS pieces you’ve had to tuck away for your own kiddos this season?
Emma – Hello Simone from Paris is a new brand we are stocking and has the best dresses! I just wish Violet was a bit older to fit into them! We also love the folkloric style of Miszkomasko and the sushi themed prints from Born Lucky.
Ashlyn – When you work in the fashion industry you know how important sustainable fashion really is. Emma and I are both coveting the Kate Sheridan dungarees for mums – designed in Hackney and made in the UK they are the perfect conscious utility wear for everyday style.
Lastly, do you have anything exciting coming up that you can share with us?
Emma – We have another mama supper club in the pipeline… the last one sold out super fast and was such a fun night with great food and company.
Ashlyn – We are waiting for our first delivery of vintage inspired kids workwear that is being made in the UK. And we have more plans for our kimonos that mums love too!
Thanks Ashlyn & Emma for chatting to us! Make sure you stop over the Olive Loves Alfie website and Emma’s awesome blog Finlay Fox. For behind the scenes, sneak peeks and special offers don’t forget to follow on Instagram @olivelovesalfie &@finlayfox (you might spot a special giveaway coming up very soon…)