Interior design pros Helen and Fiona became friends over 10 years ago, before decided to launch Avery Row to bring a little beauty into baby products and bedrooms. Helen is mum to Evie (4) and Isla (2.5), and told us how she's built a business out of her passion for design.
Tell us a bit about Avery Row
Avery Row was set up by myself and close friend, Fiona. We met years ago and decided to set up our business in 2013. We’ve always shared the same taste in most things and both wanted to design a range of textiles and related accessories which would appeal to both mother and baby. In the early days of having a baby, it can be a bit of a shock getting to grips with all the new kit you have to have around your house and person! So we wanted to make useful products which are stylish too.
Our look is based around a collection of soft geometric prints in a fresh and clean colour palette. We launched with our Go Everywhere Mat – a portable luxury play mat for the parent and baby team on the go. This is something I would have used loads when my girls were babies but there wasn’t really anything like it…so we decided to design one.
What's your favourite product this season?
Well, we only recently launched our website so…all of it! I personally love the Go Everywhere Mat in Over the Rainbow print. Its fun and bright, but also unisex so really versatile.
What other brands do you love/where do you shop?
I do a lot of shopping online because it’s so convenient, but every now and then I get a small window and I might hit the Kings Road and realize how much more fun it is to shop things in the flesh. I really like &otherstories for some classic wardrobe updates. For homewares, I love scandi brand HAY, and Hey Holla for fun gym bags and accessories. For little ones, ruedespetits.co.uk has a lovely edit of kids stuff, and is my go-to for gifts. I also love Smalls – their merino undies are lovely quality.
What tips would you give to new Mums to help them to make the most of maternity leave?
Enjoy the time that you have – whether you want to/ have to return to work or not – it’s such a special time. It can be quite lonely at times, if you don’t have very close friends going through the same thing at the same time, but with all the social networks and meet up groups there are now it’s so easy to get involved in things and get out of the house.
Getting out (at least once) each day is the absolute key to staying sane!
It can be so hard for mums to manage a family life and a career. Is there anything you feel you've sacrificed in choosing your balance?
I am very lucky with my situation. I work 3 days and during that time, I have an amazing nanny who has been with us for 3 years now and feels like a member of the family. So I feel very happy that the girls are happy when I’m not there. BUT, of course, I wish I was with them every day, and the only one who did everything with them. I don’t ever want to feel like I’ve missed some part of their growing up.
So far, I don’t feel like I have sacrificed that. I do believe it’s important for them to understand that mums work too – I think that sends a positive message. I am happier for having a part of my life that is challenging and rewarding in a different way and I believe that makes me a better mother. So yes, there is always compromise but I guess everyone has different choices and reasons for what they choose.
We know all Mums are amazing, but are there any that you've found particularly inspiring?
Natalie Massenet – to have had the vision that would revolutionise how women shop for fashion is amazing.
Make us feel better about ourselves. What's your secret mum fail?
Sometimes I am just a bit ditzy. I get lost a lot and sometimes we’ve been late for parties and the like because I can’t find the venue. Or, recently when we were on holiday, I lost our room key so many times and had to keep dragging the children back to reception to pick up a new key when they were exhausted and just wanted to go to bed!
Where do you like to hang out with your family?
We are lucky enough to live near Kew Gardens and I always find that such a wonderful place to escape to. There’s lots to do for the kids, and somewhere to get a coffee, what more do you need? The girls love going to Byron Burger for mac & cheese which is on the kids menu – they actually call it the Macaroni Shop, so we quite often do that if we’re in London at the weekend.
What’s next for Avery Row?
We are looking at new products all the time – we’d love to be able to be able to decorate a whole room with Avery Row products one day…