FK chats to Demelza Haines of Welly’s Wonders! With their ‘childlike imaginations’ and love of the classics, this talented husband and wife team are the creators of this magical kids label.
Can you tell us about your lovely label Welly’s Wonders and where the name comes from?
My husband and I started Welly’s Wonders in 2013. We wanted to produce children’s wear and accessories that were completely original and unlike an other designs in the marketplace.
Our products include 100% organic cotton onesies, t-shirts, bibs and blankets. We also produce a line of unframed A3 prints of our characters and gift cards. All of our products are proudly made in Australia and guaranteed sweatshop free.
We named our company after our son, Llewellyn – Welly for short! A very cheeky little monkey and our in-house model extraordinaire!
What are your backgrounds and how did you start working together?
Adam started work as an animator for Disney at just 15 years of age, one of the youngest animators to ever work for the studio. He has spent the past 25 years working as a lead artist and animator for Disney, Lucasfilm and other major film and animation studios.
I have a theatre background and have worked for various touring companies in both the UK and Australia. I wanted to go back to work after having Llewellyn but I thought it would be great if I could do it from home. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine both of our talents AND be practical at the same time. I feel very lucky to have this chance to spend time with him.
What inspires your beautiful illustrated characters? What keeps you motivated creatively?
We’re both very inspired by the books we grew up with that still resonate with us today. Classics such as Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows, Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh – just to name a few. They’re classics for a reason, they never date, they’ve never been a fad and they inspire children’s imaginations as well as taking parents back to their own childhoods. There’s a certain innocence to them which makes them timeless.
One of my favourite artists is Arthur Rackham and his work for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Wind in the Willows. There is a certain look about them that is instantly recognisable. Adam’s favourite artist is Norman Lindsay, who is also famous as a children’s book author and artist. His works had such humour to them and great characters.
Welly keeps us motivated creatively. Watching what interests him is fascinating! Both Adam and I are very much daydreamers also and have childlike imaginations.
What is your workspace like? Tell us about your creative process?
Well, my workspace is the kitchen table, keeping a watchful eye on a very curious one year old! It’s basically a laptop and phone – it’s amazing what can be achieved with these two devices and some determination.
It’s a complete mess, organised chaos! I’m sure most people who work from home with children will attest to that. The main challenge is to keep little vegemite stained fingers away from any work!
Our creative process usually involves some discussion over a 5am breakfast with Welly before Adam starts his commute to Sydney as he’s still working as an Animation Director in the film industry. You would be surprised at how much work can get done on a 1.5 hour train trip with a pen, sketch pad and a cup of strong coffee!
We then join forces again after Welly’s fed, bathed and asleep and do as much as we can before turning in, ourselves.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
I think our biggest challenge has been our own determination to keep everything made in Australia. It is something I am really passionate about. It was quite hard finding quality clothing producers, but we got lucky! I’m really happy to tell our customers that our products are made in Australia, in fact everything is made within about 100km of our home in the Illawarra! We’re also passionate about using organic cotton. It’s so beautifully soft and breathable for babies. All of our customers are quite tactile with our clothing and always want to touch and feel the fabric.
What new projects are you working on and where would you like to see Welly’s Wonders in the future?
We’re definitely going to expand our line throughout the year and introduce some new characters to the group.
This year, I’m finally also going to be able to sit down and write our very first children’s book featuring our characters from the world of Welly’s Wonders. At the Sydney Finders Keepers Market it was the top question from nearly all of our customers – “So, when is your children’s book coming out?”. Stay tuned!
In the future, I’d love to be sitting in a cafe or walking down the street and see a little munchkin wearing one of our designs. I’d be beaming with pride!
Photography credits: Rowena Clarke