The wonderfully-creative Madeleine Famurewa started Little Prints clothing after she couldn't continue her physical prop-making job during pregnancy. She tells us her story...
Tell us a bit about Little Prints
Since having my son I noticed that it's very hard to find nice, inexpensive print clothing, particularly for boys. My son's grandmother is from Lagos, Nigeria and whenever she goes there, she always brings me back beautiful block print cottons. I decided to use these to make my son some 'party trousers' with a matching bandanna bib for his first birthday. They were really popular amongst friends so I decided to develop a range of fun unisex trousers and bandanna bibs for babies and toddlers using bold and contrasting prints from West Africa.
Since then, I've also started making personalised bunting and drawstring bags, as well as some smaller accessories such as taggies (for babies) and scrunchies (for all ages!).
I try to use 100% cotton as much as possible. My fabric is wax block print, sourced directly from markets in Lagos and London. This means I have very limited stock in each print - and I'm constantly sourcing new prints - meaning each garment is very unique.
When, how and why did you decide to change your career?
I used to work as a prop maker, scenic painter and theatre designer - my background is in Fine Art Sculpture. I've always loved making things but became more and more interested in clothes while working as a costume designer. I love working out how things are put together, and in all of my jobs I would always try and seek out anything that needed sewing!
When I was pregnant with my son, Dylan, I had to stop working quite early on because my job was very physical and I was using a lot of toxic materials. I used that extra time to learn more dressmaking and pattern making, and took some short courses at St Martins and Morley College, with the intention to move into dress making as a career.
What tips would you give to new Mums to help them to make the most of maternity leave?
When Dylan was small I was completely addicted to baby cinema – I would go and see literally every film that came out at Greenwich Picturehouse! (Read our feature on PictureHouse's Big Scream here). I felt like it was brilliant use of the time – it was like an amazing window into the outside world to keep you sane and inspired. Plus, your baby gets cuddled for a few hours (and you get to eat cake and drink tea!). It’s the only time you will ever get to do it.
Me and my friend, who was living on the other side of London at the time, tried to meet in the centre of town to do a ‘Fun Friday’ each week too. We went to galleries and museums and tried to see the stuff that is so great about London – it’s very easy to get stuck in your postcode for months on end and you need to break out now and again!
Are there any other business mums out there who you admire?
Jacqui Ma from Goodordering. I love the range of bags that she has designed – they are super stylish, really well made and practical, AND they can work with bikes and prams. I want one for Christmas! She set up her business through a crowd-funding campaign - all while being a new mother.
Where in London are your favourite places to hang out with your family?
The Horniman Museum is definitely a favourite with my son. He is obsessed with the Aquarium! We also love the maritime museum in Greenwich – they have a new amazing play centre downstairs that will keep your kids entertained for hours! Oh, and the Transport Museum is extremely popular too - great if you need to do some shopping in central London, as you can take your kids there afterwards to let off some steam! Basically, we spend a lot of time in museums! We also love Wavelengths swimming pool in Deptford.
What’s next for Little prints?
I've got a lot of markets booked in the lead up to Christmas. You can find me at:
- Horniman Halloween Fair on 31st October
- Urban Makers East on 21st November and 5th December
- Pexmas on 12th December
- London Artisan on 20th December
And then in the new year, I will be thinking about getting my products into some more shops. At the moment I sell through LittlePrintsClothing on Etsy. Follow my Instagram to see what I'm up to! @littleprintskidsclothing