Wednesday 15 October 2014

B&S Meets...Magnus & Mouse

Launching a new children's brand can be a real roller-coaster ride, fraught with challenges and setbacks - but, in the end, hard work and perseverance pay off. No one knows this better than Penny Telford and Isobel Armstrong, the founders of new Bubble brand Magnus & Mouse. We caught up with Penny, who told us more about their journey from ambitious mums to professional fashion designers...

Penny, when and why did you decide to found Magnus & Mouse?

We started Magnus & Mouse in early 2014. Isobel and I have been friends for a long time and had spoken a lot about her idea for printed cot sheets. With both of us looking for more flexibility to work around our families, and having skill sets that complimented each other well, it felt like a 'now or never' moment to put our ideas into action.

What challenges have you faced in the process?

The biggest hurdle for us was finding the right suppliers. The quality of the organic cotton, the print quality, and also the working conditions in the suppliers we selected were all really important to us. We did lots of research online, much of which to no avail. Being a start-up we found some of the bigger suppliers weren't really interested in spending time talking to us and answering our questions. After putting in some serious legwork, we found many useful resources to help with our search and we now have a great partner who already works with some really big and trusted names in the industry. We also visited the factories first hand and were really impressed by both the quality of the goods produced and the conditions. All the factories we work with have extremely high standards and adhere to very stringent regulations. The care for their employees was also clear, which really made us confident in our selection.

How would you sum up your brand’s philosophy?

Fun, stylish and parent-friendly.

Could you tell us a bit about your first collection?

It was important all our products were suitable for boys and girls, so that was a great starting point. With the idea being born in Sweden, where Isobel noticed the range of cot sheets was much more stylish than anything we had over here, unsurprisingly they all have a real ‘Scandi’ feel to them.

All the prints are really fun (our kids loved identifying the animals!), simple and bright. We wanted them to have personality and inject colour into the cot space, which we think can be quite bare with many infants now using baby sleeping bags (including our own babies).

Why have you chosen to launch Magnus & Mouse at Bubble London? 

We attended the last edition of Bubble London and we were really impressed with the quality of the venue and the brands that attended. It was important to us to exhibit somewhere that attracted the right audience and fitted with our own design ethos. We also noticed how many of the exhibitors were offering organic and eco-friendly products and we were very encouraged by that.

We hope that people love the designs and the idea as much as we do, and of course we’d welcome speaking to anyone interested in stocking Magnus & Mouse.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone looking to start a baby brand, what would it be?

Take time to do your research properly. Finding the right partner, and someone you can trust is key. Whilst the Internet is obviously a great resource, never underestimate the value of getting out there and meeting people first hand. Things that can take weeks over email can be solved in just a few minutes of face-to-face time. Going out to Turkey and spending time with people was the most useful thing that we did.

Catch Magnus & Mouse at Bubble London on February 1 and 2, 2015. 

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