Whimsical clothing is definitely having a moment, and when it comes to childrenswear, we have Simone Ryan to thank for it.
With her spectacular collection of baby and girls’ clothing, Peggy is undoubtedly one of Australia’s prettiest brands for little girls. Created in Melbourne and named after Simone’s grandmother, Peggy keeps an air of old fashioned whimsicality in its gorgeous designs. The range features dresses, pants, nappy covers and hats – all of which can be mixed and matched, and allow children (or perhaps their mothers … We’re only human) to create a perfectly quirky, boho look. We spoke to Simone about the brand, her favourite pieces, and how she has managed to create and sustain a beautiful brand in this crowded market.
Tell us about the new Peggy collection and what inspired the range?
The spring collection has really evolved. We’ve worked with illustrator Bonnie Mooney on one of the prints. We’ve also gone up to tweens and we’ve added swimwear. So, it still has that vintage retro feel that we are known for with a mix of florals, checks, stripes and cute 50s shapes, but we’ve tried to evolve the label to move with our customers.
Tell us about the Peggy journey - how it all began and where you’re up to now?
Peggy has been around for about 10 years. I worked on Peggy whilst also growing my agency business, “All the Stories Agency”. I travelled a lot to Bali to work together on Littlehorn at the time, and it just kind of evolved from there. It started as a really simple baby collection in liberty inspired prints that could be mixed and matched, that we stocked in gorgeous boutiques all over Australia. It’s now a full girls collection, we have a pop-up store operating in Melbourne, and I am about to move our office space down to the Mornington Peninsula where we have now moved.
What are three top business tips for those looking to launch a childenswear label?
- Research – Is there actually a gap in the market and what is your crazy amazing original point of difference?
- Finance – if you are serious you need to have backing. Producing sample collections, and financing a production range at a wholesale level can be huge (especially if you ticked off point one!)
- Surround yourself with awesome people who can set up a great structure including awesome business systems, and …
- Trust your gut, always!
What have been some of your biggest challenges and how have you overcome any challenges?
Business in general always involves a juggle whether it’s family, self or a deadline. I think its super important to always take a step back, breathe and prioritise.
What do you love most about running Peggy?
The freedom, flexibility and the beautiful stores we work with.
What does 2019 have instore for you?
2019 means lots of change for Peggy! We are moving the office into a shared space, The Creative Collective Co in Mornington. We have a new team including our new agent Milkbar Group, and are collaborating for Summer 19 with Suzy Eskander on a gorgeous story, plus working with some beautiful artists on prints, including Betsy Petersen.
What’s your approach to social media - how has social media helped Peggy grow?
Social media has been essential in building such an amazing community and customer base that surrounds Peggy. It’s such a huge part of our brand and we love being able to share and connect with our beautiful customers through such a creative channel. We love collaborating with mothers who inspire us. We also love seeing their littles in Peggy. A relaxed but consistent approach to social media has helped us build a good engaged community and sharing quality content that will inspire them just as much as it has inspired us.
Three favourite pieces from the new collection?
The Harper skirt, the Bonnie Mooney prints (especially swim) and the August playsuits. I love a chubby leg in a baby playsuit!
As the founder of Peggy, what does your job involve - what does a typical day look like for you?
I get up at 4:45 am one day a week and drive to the office in Melbourne. I like to listen to a podcast on the way to keep me awake, and I then head to yoga at 6:00 am right around the corner from the office. I start at 7.30 am for a super productive day until about 4 pm, when I start to feel the early beginning! If I’m not heading into the office in Melbourne, my day starts with pilates or yoga, dropping my children to school and then I take my dogs down to the beach. That’s my meditation for the day, and I absolutely love it, it’s super quiet and still. I’m then ready to start my day and work from home. We live in this big, old, mid-century 60s house, which we bought on a complete whim, and I love working from there.