Minouche designs are precious but not ‘precious’, in other words they’re designed to look right at home at the party or the playground – which we think is perfectly suited to Aussie rug rats! We’re super excited to welcome Ally from Minouche as a debut stallholder at Finders Keepers Sydney! Inspired by her own Mum, Minouche is a must-visit for kids shopping this winter season! Learn more about Ally and her journey to Finders Keepers below.
We’re thrilled to have you debuting your range of vintage inspired kids clothing this season! Can you tell us a bit more about your label Minouche?
Minouche is French for kitten – I chose the name because I lean towards Vintage European inspired designs, but like styles that are a bit playful as well.
When I started the business, after my second daughter was born, I was sewing everything by hand. Initially I was selling on Etsy, sewing while the baby slept and so on, but eventually it got out of hand and I needed to outsource production.
I partnered with a wonderful Australian woman in Bali, who has set up a network of amazing, talented seamstresses. Many of the team are able to sew from their homes so that they can earn money while staying with their children.
The people I work with are given great opportunities to receive training and up-skill; and are encouraged to work hours that suit them and their families.
Today I oversee most of the business from my studio in Cronulla (Sydney), and head to Bali as often as I can to meet the team, finalise designs and source fabrics.
How did you come to be a seller at Finders Keepers and what are you most excited about attending the upcoming market in Sydney?
As a previous visitor of Finders Keepers I’d wanted to exhibit for years, but being somewhat disorganised I kept missing the deadline to submit an application!
After speaking to a friend who has been a stallholder at several Finders Keepers and she raved so much about it that I knew I had to try harder – I set alarms on my phone, sent myself email reminders and finally managed to get an application in this year.
I’m so excited to be attending – I know a lot of my existing customers will be there so I’ll have the chance to put faces to names; and I also can’t wait to make some new customers and meet fellow designers.
Tell us a bit about your inspiration for creativity?
My inspiration has always been my mum. She was an amazing dressmaker – many of my designs are inspired by clothing she made when I was young.
She also has an amazing stash of vintage patterns – spending time looking through these always provides some great inspiration when starting a new collection.
As I go further through the design phase I tend to start thinking of what kind of images I’d like to create – visualising the photo shoot and final images helps refine the collection and determine which items go into production.
We love that your clothes are designed for party to playground. What to you is key in getting longevity out of children’s clothing?
From my end, fabric selection is extremely important. I like to use resilient fabrics like cotton/linen blends that can take a bit of a beating. I also like to limit the amount of fastenings and trimming – once these start coming apart garments just receive so much less love!
In terms of garment care, a cold wash is best for the natural fabrics that I use – it preserves the colours longer and can help reduce wrinkling; of course it also uses less energy which is better for the environment and your wallet.
Is there a fellow Finders Keepers designer you follow and admire? Tell us who you’ll be visiting this season.
Mad About Mini is one of my all time favourites – Kat’s designs are amazing – some of my daughters favourites – and she’s such a lovely person! I really admire her creativity and strong design ethos.
Other designers that I’m hoping to see this Finders Keepers are Samantha Robinson, whose store I love to visit when in Bali and also The Scenic Route, as I’m obsessed with all things botanical and her prints are amazing. And I imagine I’ll be making a few visits to the coffee van as well!