Today, readers, I'm excited to introduce you to Hayley Blease, director of the fabulous online children's boutique Little Pinwheel.
Based out of Australia, this mum of two is super stylish and committed to stocking her store with modern, quality pieces that your little ones will look adorable in. As you can see, Hayley and her children, Keely (4) and Taj (1), are gorgeous, and I was quickly struck by her honest and beautiful portrayal of motherhood and life in general on her personal blog. Hayley was kind enough to answer some questions I had about her fascinating life.
Hi Hayley, first of all, I just have to tell you I think you're gorgeous. How is your day going today?
My day is lovely! I have just finished creating a balloon face with my daughter Keely for our craft project for the week. It is always nice to spend this time with my daughter and see her creativity come alive.
There are a lot of up and coming and established fashion designers in Australia. How would you describe Aussie style?
I would say we are very mainstream, but there are some of us that like to step outside the square a little. I do love how versatile Australian designers can be and how different their styles are from one another. We have a bit of influence from overseas, and then, of course, there are designers like,Rittenhouse,that just have their style all worked out, and I continue to love every season they release. Even in children’s fashion you can see how different each Australian designer is. I love how you can dress your children in completely different styles each day.
You had a lot of experience in fashion before starting Little Pinwheel. Has it always been your dream to work in children's fashion?
I worked my way up in retail working in women’s and men’s fashion, and then I had a career in my dream job, where I was a buyer for seven stores. This is where my love of children’s fashion started as I was buying for little people up to tweens. I worked for the owners and I was part of their family. I went on a buying trip to Los Angeles, which was any girl's dream – I got paid to shop! My career changed and I went back into women’s fashion. I soon discovered (before having children) that I wanted to open up my own brick and mortar store for children. Once my daughter came along, I changed my ideal dream and turned it into an online store for babies and children. It allowed me to stay at home with my children and be a full time mum too.
I know you support a lot of Australian designers. How do you go about choosing what actually goes in your shop?
Quality is number one for me. A brand not only has to look good, but the customer has to be happy with the quality that she is receiving. I do look at what I would like my children to be wearing, and then I also have to look at what other parents would dress their children in. There are items I don’t necessarily like in my store, but I know that I am selling a good product and there will be a little person that will love it just as much as their parents will. You don’t have to love everything you sell, you just have to love the brand you are representing.
You work from home. Do you have any tips for mums juggling motherhood and work?
Number one for me is there has to be quality time for your children. This can be as simple as curling up on the couch and watching their favourite show on television. For me it is doing crafts with Keely as this is something she loves. I also go to the beach every morning and every afternoon with Keely and my son,Taj. This is our thing we do and it has become part of our daily routine.
I find I work a lot in the evenings, and also during Taj’s daytime sleep when Keely is at preschool. I involve them a lot. They help me pack orders and they come to the post office every day to send them off. I am making the business about them too. They inspire me with Little Pinwheel, so it only feels right to have them be part of the dream.
You and your husband are both in creative fields. How do you nurture creativity in your children?
Keely is a creative person, and it is fun for us to interact with her creativity. I am very hands-on when it comes to crafts, and I like to teach her along the way. We have a craft session every week, most weeks it is every day! I have a travel table in the car, which has some pencils, paper and a colour-in book, so the creativity comes with us wherever we go. Taj is yet to really get into being creative, but he is already going for the craft cupboard and pulling out the crayons and paper. I guess being creative ourselves, it is only natural to teach them about everyday life in a creative way.
Describe your perfect day.
Beach in the morning and afternoon with my beautiful children, coffee in one hand and beach toys in the other! If I can fit a run and swim in for myself, I am very happy. Any time with friends is fabulous too! And I love my business, so anything to do with the everyday running of Little Pinwheel.
You talk a lot about your sweet mum on your personal blog. What personality traits have you taken from her?
To smile, even when you may not be completely happy. Smiling not only lifts you up, it makes other people smile too. She was a very cheeky mum and friend. I feel I take a lot of that from her and her gentle heart.
Your children have adorable rooms. What are some tips for designing with children?
I have only just recently changed their room around and created a space for them. My son has ventured into sharing with his sister! This is a room that is not finished, but I must say the direction I have gone is to create a space that is for sleeping. They have their toys in their room, but they are encouraged to bring the box they would like to play with into the lounge room. Living in a two-bedroom apartment can give you some space and storage issues. I find if you can store toys away in boxes, it creates an area that seems less cluttered andthey become less of a focus.
When creating their space, I chose to have red as the main colour and work around the red. I love how vibrant and fun red can be, and also how calming it can be mixed with the right colours. Because it's a primary colour, it's a colour you can work with. White walls are my favourite, as it becomes more fun choosing the accessories to highlight the space. I find that when you work around an art piece you will find the colour and style you are after. I love artist Shannon Lamden, and the four prints I bought from her are where I started when creating their new room. I also chose some favourite toys to leave out on display to keep their space about them.