Friday, May 7, 2010

Desert hot stuff: an international tale

I love to blog about businesses with a fascinating story behind them, and this label - Aunty Ollie - certainly falls into that category. They just appeared at Mathilda's Market in Lane Cove on Sunday 2 May .. and we hope they'll be back again!

Aunty Ollie is the culmination of the creative work of Jodie Hampshire. The label is all about eye-catching, quirky, cool and stylish children's clothes. They're bold and beautiful and suit all life's occasions, whether it's lazing around the house, playing at the park, or busting some moves at a friend’s birthday party! Jodie designs pieces that are cute without being kitsch, with inviting prints that will stop traffic - cars and trikes alike! And mums of boys will be pleased to hear that the label features an extensive collection for the boys.


So how did Aunty Ollie spring to life? Well, Jodie and her husband were living in Dubai when they adopted their three beautiful Sierra Leonean children in 2007. "You can imagine how much children’s bedding and clothing we had to buy, and I was not terribly excited by the products I could find for kids in Dubai," says Jodie. "Most of what I found left me wanting: superheroes were OUT, in my books! And I didn't want to dress my young daughter in clothes that made her look like she was about to go clubbing."

"I was passionate about printed fabrics and wanted to use some really funky prints - patterns that fuelled their imaginations, and made me smile. I started with bedding, then went on to make kids clothes. They were so well received by my friends and my kids that I launched my website - From late in 2009, I started selling to selected retailers".
How's THAT for a speedy success story! Aunty Ollie has come a long way very quickly, with full seasonal ranges in stock, as well as a new range for babies for Summer 2010. (Oh, and if you wish you could get the Aunty Ollie look for yourself, you can. Last week, a small though super-gorgeous ladies range was released).

Oh, and how's THIS for fabulous ... two members of the KidStyleFile team attended the Life Instyle Trade Event in Sydney in late February this year. They looked at everything in the Kids InStyle category (consisting of over 180 baby & kids brands) and voted Aunty Ollie as #2 out of their Top 20 Best In Show finds. Check out their 20 picks here. Given KidStyleFile has its finger firmly on the pulse of what's hot, it's a huge pat on the back for Jodie and her just-hatched label.

Jodie and her family are citizens of the world, that's for certain. "I'm Australian, my husband is British and the kids are from Sierra Leone. We were based in Dubai for three years, and before that, London for two years. As of January this year, I can very happily say that Sydney is home again!" Aunty Ollie is still headquartered in Dubai and the company manufactures and distributes from there, adhering to very high standards. In the United Arab Emirates, there are strict laws requiring visas for all workers, so that's your assurance that Aunty Ollie use no child labour. And their garments are top quality - so there'll be no unravelling in the wash! "It's great that I can design and run the business from wherever I am, as long as I have an internet connection."

Meet Jodie and her lovely kids below. She nicknames her kids (below) "Miss Teenager" (14 ½), "Miss 6" (and a half) and "Mr Titanium Head (4 ½) ".

So what's it like living in the desert? "Quite hard work ... especially with three very active children stuck indoors for months at a time, as it's just so hot outside. Though, come to think of it, moving countries with three kids was pretty hard work, too ... !" 

Just one more question before you go, Jodie ... What were you doing before Aunty Ollie came to be?

"My life before Aunty Ollie was so different it could have been someone else’s! My husband and I were living in inner city London, I was working long hours in investment management and we were jetting around Europe as often as we could. Just a few years later we have three kids and I also work from home on my business. I wouldn’t swap it for my old life (though a weekend in Paris would be nice!)"

Jodie is very happy with how the business is progressing, and is grateful to her customers & retailers all over the world. She keeps in close contact with them through her blog, at, and through the Aunty Ollie Facebook page.

Tempted by the tantalising offerings from Aunty Ollie? Hmmm ... so am I!

Peta x
Mathilda's Market blogger

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1 comment:

Marthese said...

enjoyed reading this post...

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