Category: Mumpreneurs

Mumpreneur of the week – Karin Stenmarck, founder of Sture & Folke


12:39 pm, 1 May, 2014

This Thursday I’ve been speaking to Karin Stenmarck, founder of Sture & Folke – adorable blankets for babies and children. Karin, her husband and their two sons Sture and Folke lives in Geneva, Switzerland. What made Karin start designing for children and what’s her thoughts about nursery design? I’ve found out!

- What inspired you to set up Sture & Folke?
The original idea for setting up Sture & Folke came to me after giving birth to my first son, Sture. I was looking for soft and beautiful blankets, which would also be attractive to him and beautiful in our home. I just couldn’t find anything suitable out there.

- What made you want to design for children?
The love to my own children. And it felt natural and fun to aim for such a wonderful, small but big, target group. I love the thought of little ones sleeping well in my blankets.

- What’s your favourite print from the collection and why?
I fall in love with a new Liberty-fabric every day! It’s a joy working with the fabrics from Liberty and the quality and colour combinations are fantastic.

- Where do you find inspiration to your children’s rooms?
Sture and Folke are still only little and want to be where my husband and I are, meaning around the whole house. Their rooms are only being used as bedrooms at the moment and I’ve decided to focus on making their beds comfortable and cozy. Padded headboards, many pillows and fluffy duvets. I find inspiration in the nature around us and get my colour scales from there.

- What’s your best bargain for your children’s rooms?
A couple of big, torn, laundry baskets, which I found in a second hand shop here in Switzerland. They work perfect as toy storage and also as a variety of imaginary transport – pirate ship, bus or airplane!

- What does your children like the most about their rooms?
Their beds!

- What do you always travel with to keep the children happy on long journeys?
Their Sture & Folke blankets.

- How do you strike a balance between working life and motherhood?
Through careful planning and many late nights.

- What’s in the pipeline for Sture & Folke?
I have a few exciting things in the pipeline, but one of them is hitting the shop floors.

More about Sture & Folke here.

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Picture: Sture & Folke

Mumpreneur of the week – Natasha Lee Thomas, founder of Frankie & Ava


11:19 am, 25 April, 2014

This week I’m excited to introduce fashion designer Natasha Lee Thomas, as Mini Mansion’s ‘mumpreneur of the week’. Natasha and her husband lives together with their two children Frankie and Ava in Venice, Los Angeles. Natasha previously spent many years making big people’s clothes for Ralph Lauren, Levi’s and Donna Karan and started Frankie & Ava to produce cool, comfortable, understated classics for children.

- What inspired you to start Frankie & Ava?
Being a menswear designer was great before I had children. But once i had children i discovered a whole new market, which inspired me to put my skills together with my desire for dressing my own children Frankie and Ava.

- What’s your favourite part of your job as a children’s fashion designer?
Seeing my children look great in their clothes from Frankie & Ava.

- Where do you find inspiration to your children’s rooms?
Living by the beach in Venice is a big inspiration to their rooms.

- What do you like the most about your children’s rooms?
The vintage finds I’ve made.

- What’s your best bargain for your children’s rooms?
The box Frankie has his dress up clothes in. It cost only $5.00 at the Rose Bowl Flea Market!

- How do you like to dress your children?
In cool, comfortable and understated classics. We like to call it timeless fashion at Frankie & Ava.

- How do you find a balance in juggling your career and life as a mother?
I work super efficiently when I’m at work and try to switch off as much as possible when I have time with my children. It’s rewarding when everything is working and everyone is happy.

- What does your ideal family weekend entail?
Beach, biking, surfing and BBQ time with friends.

- What’s your favourite family friendly restaurant in LA?
‘The Terrace’ near Venice Pier.

- What’s in the pipeline for you and Frankie & Ava?
Gosh, that would be telling!

More about Frankie & Ava.

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MUMPRENEUR OF THE WEEK – JENNY WIKMAN, FOUNDER OF MINIROOM


8:07 pm, 3 April, 2014

It’s Thursday and this week Mini Mansion has interviewed Jenny Wikman, founder of the rather new and already successful Swedish web shop Miniroom. Jenny lives together with her husband Johan and their two daughters Nova, 2, and Ida, 1, in the Swedish town of Västerås. What has inspired Jenny to start a web shop specializing in children’s interiors, how does she balance running a successful business with family life and how has her interior style changed since having children? We’ve found out!

• What inspired you to start Miniroom?

I’ve always had a big interest for both the web and children’s interiors. When decorating my eldest daughter Nova’s room I totally fell in love with Sebra’s cot bed Kili. This is a reproduction of the Danish classic Juno from the 40s. Back then it wasn’t possible to buy this bed online and I ended up sending my husband 500k away from home, to buy us a second hand one. This was the start to all my ideas regarding decorating children’s rooms and Miniroom. Today I’m of course stocking Sebra’s Kili in my web shop.

• It’s important for a working mum to have a balance, how do you manage to run a successful business and juggle your family life with two young daughters?

It’s important to have a supporting family when starting your own business and to be able to make it a success. My husband is my number one supporter and has believed in me from the offset. This made it possible for me to start Miniroom and make it the success it is today. There is a lot of hard work running your own business and important to schedule quality time with your family, which we do. – After all, my family is the most important to me.

• What advice would you give to mums wanting to set up their own business?

Believe in your ideas and dare to try them out, you will never know until you’ve given it a try. At the same time I think it’s important to say you might not get it right the first time around. There might be times you’ll have to try a few times to get it just right.

• What would your favourite family day entail?

I would say just staying at home, all four of us together. Maybe take a trip to the local park or play and build a hut with the girls at home. Simple and lovely.

• How would you say your interior style has changed since having children?

I can’t say it has changed much; I still love Swedish and Danish design. Although we’ve had to make compromises, not decorating with to small items at the same height as our little girls. Instead of having things on the floor, we are now decorating walls and higher shelving. And all the toys… Nowadays there are toys decorating every room in the house.

• What was the starting point when decorating your daughters’ room?

It was using a neutral base and of course, like previously mentioned, the Sebra bed.

• Where do you find inspiration for your daughters’ room?

I collect inspiration from a variety of places. It could be from interior design fairs, as well as from social media, magazines and even from my suppliers.

• What is your best design tip for children’s rooms?

First of all, think about what your children like and need. Furnish the room so it’s functional and always remember to prioritize a lot of storage.

• What’s next in the pipeline for you and Miniroom?

I have many and big plans for Miniroom during 2014 and we’re excited to be introducing several new brands. We’re always up to something new and exciting!

Miniroom is one of the unique and hand picked web shops represented by Mini Mansion. Read more about Miniroom here.

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Jenny Wikman, founder of Miniroom

Mumpreneur of the week – Caterine Hooper, founder of littlebabycompany


3:02 pm, 27 March, 2014

Every Thursday Mini Mansion will interview a successful mum on the go – a ‘mumpreneur’. We will be asking her about her interesting business and how she manages to combine a busy career with a hectic family life. This week we interviewed Caterine Hooper, founder of the gorgeous children’s web shop littlebabycompany. What inspires her and what’s her top tips on decorating children’s rooms?

Founded in 2007 littlebabycompany is still a small family owned business, managed by Caterine Hooper herself. Caterine was born in Sweden and today she lives just south of Manchester in a picturesque town called Knutsford, together with her husband, their two cheeky children (Morgan 10 and Matilda 8) and their puppy Kylie. Caterine’s professional background is in business research, but she has always had a passion for everything home and interiors.

• What inspired you to set up littlebabycompany?

When I had my first born, Morgan in 2004, I struggled to find gender-neutral decor and bright colours here in the UK. Most things at the time were very gender specific with traditional British themes and naff patterns, which was far from my taste, having grown up in a retro Scandinavia. At the time of starting littlebabycompany there was also a massive shift in home interiors, towards Scandinavian style. Having children and sourcing products for them was my best excuse to develop my passion for interiors. At the same time I could focus on something that was relevant to myself, which also had a solid market demand. It was the perfect base for setting up a business.

• What’s your favourite part of the job?

Researching and sourcing new stock has to be on top of my list, as well as looking for and predicting style trends and new ways of using colour and inspiration. And despite of all the years of processing orders, I also love order processing. It puts a smile on my face when we have a busy week, or something new that I’ve brought in sell out. I guess it’s a confirmation that people like what I stock, which makes me really happy. Like I got it right.

• What are your favourite three items in the web shop at the moment?

It has to be the colourful metal hooks by Danish Rie Elise Larsen – they can be used anywhere and are an easy colour pop! I also love the new Fireman bed set by Snurk, you can’t go wrong with this for a little boy or girl. And lastly the new bags by Orla Kiely, as they will last beyond the baby years and are great for so many outings. Be it the beach, picnic, sleep over or just a shopping trip.

• What up and coming children’s brands do you find most exciting?

Dutch company Snurk, a digital print bedding company. They have just released new designs and bed linen is such an easy way of personalizing a bedroom and making bedtime fun. A patterned bed set is a great source of inspiration for story telling and getting dreams off to a good start. I also love Meri Meri, award winning paper designers. They make party products, baking products and stationery of outstanding quality. Made with great detail, that doesn’t cost a bomb but looks a million dollar!

• How would you say your interior style has changed since having children?

My style since having children is much more personal and probably cluttered than modern, sleek and simple. I love surrounding myself with nostalgia, memorabilia and things that makes me happy. I also feel more confident in my own taste and trust my heart in my choices, rather then what is considered stylish or “correct” in the design world.

• Where do you find inspiration to your children’s rooms?

The days when I was allowed to have an input into their style seem long gone. Having children and trying to encourage individuality and personal taste, means you have to allow them to express themselves and make their own style choices. That said, I have my ways of limiting their choices as any cleaver mother would do… Morgan’s room is based around the theme of travel & the world, as he is a true adventurer at heart (like his dad). Matilda’s room is nature “themed”, as she’s such a gentle soul, who loves pretty colours and animals.

• What is your best nursery design tip?

Stick to neutral walls and solid furniture, then accessorize with vivid colour and funky pieces, which can easily be changed as the children grow older. Think about lighting and storage, as both will grow with your children and try and not make everything match perfectly, as it can make the room soul less and boring. I love pieces that inspire, such as family trees that can spark interesting conversations. Or wall decals, which can be changed easily and also great for story telling. Invest in key pieces that last beyond those early years. Be it something decorative, shelving or a piece of furniture.

• What’s your best bargain for your children’s rooms?

My daughters old teachers desk, which I bought on eBay for £10 – it’s solid, generously sized and not even IKEA can compete with that. Also a Caravaggio light pendant (by Danish Lightyears) for Morgan’s room. This will last him forever and be a cool yet beautiful pendant for him to bring into his future home when he is older.

• How do you find a balance in juggling your work and home life?

It is difficult and a question of staying focused and getting time management right. I used to work much more in the early days, to get littlebabycompany up and running. Whereas nowadays I limit my time to when the children are in school and try not to let the computer rule my life in the evenings. It is easy to get distracted when you work from home and in particular with social media.

• What’s in the pipeline for you and littlebabycompany?

I recently started a second online business selling general home interiors, which I want to focus on, at the same time as sourcing and expanding on what works for littlebabycompany. But my children are still young and my number one priority, so as long as they need me and my time I want to focus on them. Once they are older and no longer equally keen on spending time with me, I will probably look at developing my own range of products. I would also love to open my own shop, which has been a dream for a long time. I am never one to be short of ideas of things to do and always remain very positive about what the future holds.

littlebabycompany is one of the unique and hand picked web shops represented by Mini Mansion. Read more about littlebabycompany here.

Caterine and her family

Caterine and her family

Caterine and her family

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