The face behind the brand... Hello Stranger
Here at The Kid’s Store, we carefully hand-pick our suppliers and their products. Anything sitting on our shelves must meet the key criteria of great design, quality materials (after all it’s got to stand up to the ultimate test of children!) and functionality.
Along the way, we’ve come across some awesome brands, developed by some very talented people (a lot of which are also mums!).
We thought it would be fun to introduce you to the face behind the brand, so you can get an idea of what it takes to develop products for children and also get to know some of the people behind the brands that might be sitting in your children’s wardrobe or room!
I first met the lovely Amy from Hello Stranger a few years ago at Mary's Market in Auckland. I'd been a fan of Hello Stranger for some time prior to that and thus was quite excited when a few months later she contacted me saying that Hello Stranger was expanding into the wholesale market and would be stocked through retailers.
If you're not familar with Hello Stranger, it's is a cross between streetwear and surfwear and is made for kids to thrash it! Any brand that is designed to do that gets a big tick in our book!
As a stockist of Hello Stranger, we were pretty proud to see it take the stage at NZ Fashion Week this year (along with two of our other favourite brands Radicool Kids & Little Flock of Horrors) and I think the success of the brand is a true testament of the hard working, talented Mama that is behind it! So grab a coffee, get comfortable and read on to learn more about Hello Stranger!
Hello Stranger was created in 2014, and started out as a hobby. To work in the fashion industry and design was always a dream, something I only ever thought about & maybe talked about here and there but never thought it would happen. After my first child was born and I wasn’t working & had this new found free time, I thought there was no better time than to bring my idea of Hello Stranger to life. A little bit crazy looking back at that time now, I spent hours and hours working on the brand at night whilst also raising my first child, with the intention to design what I loved so much and sell it at some of our amazing markets we have around the country. Along with this came the hours spent making deliveries of fabric to manufacturers & screen printers, working with label makers, & then returning home to work on design. And from there it all just seemed to come together & it was full steam ahead as Hello Stranger grew in popularity.
The next step was a big one, not only financially but mentally, transitioning Hello Stranger from Baby Clothing into a full Kidswear range available to retailers, something only made possible with the support & guidance of my husband. Two years on & Hello Stranger is a funky beach/streetwear brand for kids that is totally reflective of our own family, & is now available nationwide in leading Kidswear & Streetwear stores around the country.
What are you most proud of with your collections to date?
I am so proud of my current Summer collection, I think it truly reflects the brand with its monochrome style that is fun & funky for summer. And to see it hit the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week 2016 on all our epic little models, that was a ‘pinch me moment’. Working so far ahead, you have to wait so long for a range to hit the shelves, so I am so happy to see it finally displayed in stores & on all those little strangers out there! Seeing your garments on Facebook & Instagram never ever gets old & is something I love seeing.
What has been some of the challenges you’ve faced to this point?
Anything worth working for always comes with its challenges right?! There have been many, however my biggest ongoing challenge is balancing being a mum & wife whilst working on Hello Stranger. This past August was a tough one with A LOT in the pipeline. What some may not realize, is not only do we have this amazing launch of the new collection going on, but often at the same time you are on the road selling next season, somewhere in the midst of designing a season beyond that, & I also had Fashion Week to concentrate on.
It was super busy, very demanding, I rung in family to help while I sold in the range, I also may have taken my baby in a front pack to every Fashion Week meeting, it tested my organizational skills, but I loved it!
What does a typical work day look like for you?
My days vary during the week as I am a stay at home mum, some days I have both boys & some days just our baby. However my days always start out as a mum, waking up the kids, getting the boys ready while my hubby heads to work. On a work day I drop Roczen at daycare & then jump straight into work while my baby sleeps in the morning & again in the afternoon. During the course of the day if its meetings or activities we have on there is always a baby in tow and I also do my best to respond to all social media. And then by late afternoon its pick ups, the normal nighttime routine with the kids & hubby, followed by our own exercise, & then back into a few hours work at night. Lately I’ve been longboarding at night pre work, enjoying these long summer nights. As I have limited time in the day I always work at night as it’s the most uninterrupted time of my day. Weekends are kept free from work, that’s our time to enjoy our own time with friends & family doing what we love.
5 quick-fire questions
- How many children do you have (and what ages are they?) 2 epic little dudes, aged 2 & ½ and 11 months.
- Favourite food? Did you say Food! Ha I love all food that is for sure! I love anything healthy & summer has the best seasonal fresh fruit & vege.
- Favourite way to unwind and have some ‘me time’?’ Swim, bike or skate at the beach – it really clears the mind & gives me new energy.
- Favourite way to spend time together as a family? Definitely a holiday overseas to somewhere hot with fun things to explore. It’s the only way we can relax when our phones are offline – our last trip was to Samoa 3 weeks ago & it was amazing!
- Occupation prior to creating Hello Stranger? Sales Account Manager
What would one piece of advice be to anyone wanting to start their own business, especially when juggling it with a young family?
There will come a time when you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it, and make sure you always have a support person. Working & raising a young family can be hard but if you’re up for the challenge I will always say go for it!
WIN: One lucky reader will win one of the new Hello Stranger splash tees in black launching in the next week! To win, comment below with your size and the winner will be drawn midday Thursday 10th November. Prize will be sent out w/c 14 November. Good luck!