Monday, 24 January 2011

London Mums: Claire Tyler, Yellow Lolly

So happy to bring you a new London Mums interview. Meet Claire Tyler, wife of Rob and mother of Mathilde who is 4.5 years old. Claire is also expecting her second child (!) and is 16 weeks along. Claire is the genius behind the hip Scandi-inspired children's boutique Yellow Lolly. She works from her home in Walthamstow Village (E17), in an inspiring loft turned office, stocking favourites like: Mini A Ture, Plan Toys, Katvig, Esthex and much more... Read on to learn more about the inspiration behind Yellow Lolly, advice for mumprenuers and her London favourites...

Tell us about Yellow Lolly. Why did you decide to create it?
I used to be a sales person in the high-end commercial furniture business. I had a yearly target of a million and I knew what was involved with achieving that kind of target. Once Mathilde was born, I had to work-out how I was going to manage my job, be a wife and a mother, and also remain true to myself. So my husband and I decided that I shouldn't go back to work and that I should start my own business instead.

Being a new mother, I decided to start a business within the new world I had entered and thus the baby clothes and toys made complete sense. After much research and trips to various trade fairs, I decided that the bright and cheerful Scandi look was one that I loved--the quality of the fabrics and designs were far beyond what we had on the high street at that time. The ethics of the companies I chose to partner with were also of great importance. Having a business and sales background meant I could 'talk the talk' and I had no problems working with my chosen brands.

What is your favourite thing about running your own business?
Not having anyone else to answer to! I divide my time as I want and I am always available if Mathilde needs me. I can pick her up from school everyday and I can also be a role model for her, showing her that women can be their own bosses and make their own living. It is a balance that has taken some time to achieve, but I think I am pretty much there! Needless to say, having my own children's clothing boutique means Mathilde is always deliciously dressed!

Do you have any tips for aspiring mumpreneurs?
You can never do too much research. Don't underestimate how much time you will have to devote to the business, they never run themselves. Also never underestimate the costs to set up a business--it's always more than you think! There is plenty of help out there if you know where to look, but a great starting point is the government's Business Link website, which gives you insight into what is required, from the basics of having a good business plan and knowing who your customer base is, to the laws of employment.

What kinds of activities do you and your family enjoy?
As a family, we love getting out and about. Our favourite walks take place in Epping Forest. Mathilde loves dashing about Spitalfields and lunching in Giraffe! But we are also big in getting away and visiting friends who have fled London. We love getting out, but it's always wonderful to return to the Big Smoke! This Christmas, we took Mathilde skiing for the first time. As it's a sport that we both love, we wanted to get Mathilde involved. Luckily, she loved it too! I can't wait to take her again.

What are your favourite local restaurants, shops, parks?
Locally, our favourite pub is the Nags Head. It has a good beer garden and we always bump into locals we know. Eat 17 and the Orford Saloon Tapas are our favourite local eats and we have a great play park at the end of our road which is uber useful for filling time and just getting out of the house for 15!

Where do you love to shop?
I love to shop at All Saints. As I work from home now, I live in jeans, All Saints knitwear and bits and bobs from the high street. I definitely need to pick up the clothes shopping again. Of course, now that I am pregnant I can't wear most of the clothes I have, but it's also too early for maternity wear!

What are your top three favourite baby or child products?
Difficult to pick just three, as they are contantly changing depending on what stage your child is at, but I love Mathilde's Tripp Trapp chair which looks great with our other dining chairs and love the fact that she will get years of use out of it. Our car seats are always Maxi Cosi as they have the best safety rating, come in cool colours and are fab quality. And Mathilde mainly wears Mini A Ture - coz it's basically gorgeous!

Thanks for the wonderful interview, Claire! Dear readers: any questions or comments, please leave below!
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