When it comes to dressing my kids, I believe less is more, and so over the last couple of years, I’ve shifted my purchases towards smaller brands, choosing to buy fewer pieces, ones that are versatile, eco friendly and last and last and last…
Making the transition to smaller wardrobes for the kids wasn’t difficult. Not when you decide to make considered choices and you realise kids don’t need more than a few items to choose from that will work for any occasion and can be worn across seasons when you add in the option of layering. Elsie has, what you might call, a capsule wardrobe these days. Most of her clothes are light and airy and can be mixed and matched accordingly. They are made from natural fibres, wash a dream and work hard whilst she plays hard.
Four of the pieces she is currently living in are from the Nellie Quats beautiful SS17 range. They include a grey jumpsuit which I’ve layered over tshirts and jumpers or worn with bare arms depending on the weather; a linen skirt in the softest, dustiest rose pink which I’ve paired with blouses, tshirts and leggings and which, in the months to come, will be worn with tights and chunky knits; a gingham dress which will see us through to next summer as the length is generous; and a linen striped pinafore which I can only hope they’ll release in my size next year.
What I love about Nellie Quats clothing is how adaptable they are. They can be worn with so many other parts of her wardrobe and are easy enough to throw into the machine at the end of the day and still have aired and dried by the following morning. The colours are soft and subtle and don’t scream ‘girl!’. They’re aesthetically “my cup of tea” and yet comfy and easy enough for her to wear for hours on end whilst searching for bugs in the garden or swinging on the swing at forest school.
I chatted to Elinor Bussell, founder and Creative Director of Nellie Quats to understand more about their ethos and their design approach:
THOH: Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
EB: I live in North London with my boyfriend, currently also working from home, although hoping to find a studio in the coming year! I’m a rare case with a childrenswear brand in that I’m in my mid 20’s and I don’t have any children (yet). I wanted to grow the business before settling down and having a family. I do have one pet – a lovely tabby cat called Thomas.
THOH: How did you get into Children’s wear?
EB: I started designing and making my own clothes at about the age of 10 and had always wanted to do something in fashion. Even though I studied photography at University, I still felt drawn to fashion. After university I worked in a sewing studio teaching children and adults to sew. Inspired by the children I worked with, I wanted to create clothing for them that allowed them to be their fun, energetic selves, whilst still looking stylish!
EB: My parents have always run their own business so it only felt natural to do the same. So I came up with the idea of starting Nellie Quats in the summer of 2015. I started small, making and selling a few pieces at local farmers markets and gradually grew it to where it is now.
THOH: How has instagram helped grow your business?
EB: Instagram has been amazing exposure for my business, I think without it I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today with NQ. It’s a great tool for advertising, finding new independent shops/brands and meeting lovely people.
THOH: What ages do you cater for?
EB: My range starts at 18months and goes up to 10 years.
THOH: Can you tell me a bit about the ethics and manufacturing of your pieces?
EB: All the pieces are currently made in the UK. Initially I sewed them all myself but as the demand grew I hired some additional seamstresses to help me make the excess. My collections predominantly use Liberty print cotton and linen, (both sourced from UK companies who produce the fabric in Europe). The quality of fabric is so important to my designs; it has to be soft so that it’s comfortable for children to wear and also look beautiful. Functionality is important to me too, so I pick fabrics that can wash at 40 degrees to make it easier for parents (to avoid an ever growing ‘hand washing’ pile).
THOH: What are your hopes and dreams for the future of the brand?
EB: The next step for Nellie Quats would be to increase my range of products. I would love to go into basics and knitwear and eventually even women’s wear -although that will be a long way off!’
THOH: Where did the name Nellie Quats come from?
EB: When I was little my dad used to make up really bizarre nicknames for me, the main one being ‘Nellie Quats’ . Not really sure how he came up with them but this one seemed to stick! It reminds me of a really happy childhood, everything I want to reflect through my brand.
THOH: Can you tell me something about the Autumn Winter collection? – What should we expect to see?
EB: My Autumn/Winter collection combines my classic Liberty print fabric with linen pieces. There are a few new designs along with a couple of popular old favourites, mixing rich autumnal tones with cooler wintery greys. All designed to be comfortable and easy wearing for the children whilst also look stylish.
Elinor is kindly offering readers a discount of 10% off using code ‘pollyloves’ at checkout through to midnight Friday 20/07/17.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with a brand we genuinely love. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that support This House Our Home. All photos were taken by me for Nellie Quats