Meet the Maker – Louis and Lola

Louis and Lola is fast becoming the number one go to brand for beautiful NZ designed Italian made footwear for littlies. We caught up with creator Amanda to get to know more about this amazing brand and how it all began.

Tell us about Louis and Lola, when did you start?
Louis and Lola started in 2014 and I produced by my first small collection for Summer 14, so we’ve been in stores for a little over a year now. We’re just delivered our Winter 16 collection which I’m super excited about as there are so many beautiful styles!

How did the Name Louis and Lola come about?
Louis is my sons name, he’s just turned 4, and I’m slightly stressing about how fast he is growing up. Lola is one of my good friends little girls name… I loved the way the names sounded together, plus Lola is one of the most gorgeous little girls you will ever meet so it just seemed like the right fit!

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What got you started in shoe design?
My background has always been in fashion, merchandising and importing, but for as long as I can remember I’ve had a slight obsession with baby / kids shoes… Then when Louis came along and I just couldn’t find anything decent for him to wear on his feet (other than Nature Baby Slippers – he lived in those, so I decided to look into my own range…and that’s where it all began.

How does designing children’s shoes differ from adults footwear (other than no stilettos)
I’ve never designed adults shoes, currently my largest size is 4-5 years, but my perception is that baby / kids shoes are way more fun, you can have wider use of colour and to some extent design. I haven’t met anyone that hasn’t fallen in love with my shoes and I think it’s because they just look so incredibly cute both on and off.

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Your beautiful shoes are made in Italy do you have family connections there? What made you go with Italian fabrication?
Firstly I love leather,  all my shoes are full leather outer and inner and there is nothing better than good quality leather for growing feet. Italy, Spain and Portugal have the best leather tanneries and factories in the world, far superior to anything you might buy from China, so for me working with the best fabrication possible was a huge bonus – Plus I’m very into ethical / sustainable products. All my suppliers are family owned businesses and for me it’s extremely satisfying to know exactly where my product is made and who is making it. I’ve been lucky enough for the past 2 years, to live in Europe 6 months and NZ 6 months – my partner is a rugby player so he plays in NZ, and also in Europe. That has opened up the opportunity for me to source the right factories, visit European fairs and really understand the shoe manufacturing process.

I really want to offer NZ mums & dads shoes that are European, well designed, good quality AND ethical, without a huge price tag

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What inspires each new collection and what processes do you go through when deciding whether a design will make a new collection.
Living in Europe part of the year is a huge inspiration for me, there’s something about European fashion that’s so refined and classic, there’s so much history here, so I draw a lot of inspo from living amongst it. As well as thinking about what I would like for my own kids; I want something that’s designed well, but functional and hard wearing at the same time. I would rather spend a little bit more and buy a good quality pair of shoes that I can hand down rather than a whole pile of plastic that ends up as land fill!  I also work very closely with my suppliers in the sampling process, as not every design is possible, so their years of experience helps me a lot!  I’m also super keen on unisex styles – that way if you have boys and girls in the family… They can be passed on!!I also listen to customer feedback – it’s always helpful to hear from mum and dads so I make small design adjustments if something isn’t as functional as it should be. Kids feet are all so very different so it’s good to have feedback.

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Your new collection has just hit stores – What are your favourite shoes from the new collection.
Oh I’m in love with Livvy and my Suede Harper’s from the baby collection, these styles are just so timeless and perfect. My most favourite style would have to be my Wynter boots from the toddler collection, they are a unisex pull on leather ankle boot with a super bendy sole, Any kid can get these on and off easily and they will go with just about everything in your boys or girls wardrobe! Ivy would have to be another unisex fav too.

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Do you have a team that work with you on the brand?
I’m a one-man-band, so I manage all my own design, sales, social media, quality control, deliveries …. Everything!  So if you message me or ask a question online, it’s always me that answers. I’m very passionate about my brand, what I do and what it stands for and I have a huge social conscience.

The Louis and Lola new season range is out now, and to celebrate we’ve teamed up with Parnell Baby Boutique who are giving away one pair of gorgeous new season shoes of the winners choice. Check out our Instagram with details of how to enter.

You can check out Louis and Lola here and follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up-to-date with all the latest.

A Seriously ‘Cool’ home – The Black Shack

Its not often you find a home that’s the perfect mix of vintage, tribal and eclectic shabby chic but this home ticks all the boxes.

Named the Black Shack, this home is located in Wentworth Falls, in Rural Sydney. Its no wonder this place features such an amazingly curated collection of pieces – as the (former) home owner Jane Frosh is one half of the very clever interior styling duo Cool Edies.

jf0 jf5The home was a turn-of-the-century weatherboard miner’s cottage and with the creative touch of Jane and her family it has been transformed to this masterpiece.

jf3This textured reupholstered headboard looks amazing paired with shibori cushions and white floors. jf2How fun are the string party lights above kitchen bench!

jf1This living room and is so clever in how it pulls together modern and vintage stylesls together modern and vintage stylesjf1

Check out Carrie, their 1950s retro caravan, which was added as as additional guest accommodation.

672777-1_llhlauImages via Inside out Magazine, Photographer: Alicia Taylor

Keep up with the fab styling projects of the Cool Edies duo here

Products we love | The Snugbags sleeping bag

Winter in the Waikato gets cold, very cold and our little Georgie loves to kick all her covers off, so I knew we needed a sleeping bag for her coming into Autumn. The thing is, while I’m big on practicality it definitely helps when something is beautiful as well – so naturally when I saw the gorgeous silver raindrop design of the new Snugbags merino sleeping bag featuring a diagonal zip, I just knew it would be perfect.

Opening the package the first thing that wowed me was how extremely high quality it was. The fabric just feels luxurious and substantial, and no wonder, as its made in New Zealand from only the best organic cotton, bamboo and New Zealand merino. All fabrics are knitted and dyed in New Zealand and only use GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) certified dyes that are eco-friendly and 100% child safe.

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I was pretty excited to try it on her straight away, its super easy to put on you just unzip from the bottom and slip over their head or you can unzip it completely and lie them on it. There are domes under the arms that make the arm holes smaller for the little ones and stops them wriggling out. I love that the zip is covered the whole way so no chance of pinching their skin.

The unique part about the new Snugbags sleeping bag is its diagonal zip, most sleeping bags feature either a front or side zip – each with its own benefits but with the diagonal zip you get the best of both worlds; there are no domes on the shoulders like on the side zip bags which wriggly babes can pop out of. You also get the benefit of easy nappy changes as the bag zips open along the bottom. This is also useful for letting air flow in too. You won’t find this unique diagonal zip design anywhere else, its unique to Snugbags.

Georgie-Crib-1v2webGeorgie had her first sleep in her new sleeping bag the other morning as it was quite cool and she slept so soundly, no blankets to kick off and it worked perfectly with her safety sleep too.

We love our Snugbags sleeping bag they are so worth the investment – as they fit them for such a long time, they’re available in sizes nb-2 and 2-4 years, and come in three different weights; Standard, Winter Duvet and Winter Duvet Deluxe. We went for the winter duvet which features a New Zealand merino inner, a middle layer of plush bamboo/cotton duvet wadding for extra warmth and an outer layer of soft cotton fleece.

Checkout the full range of Snugbags sleeping bags here

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