Every now and then you hear a buzz about a brand that is cool, you covet their wears and add them to wishlists. A recent brand crush is Zillah Kids. I have seen various influencers wearing these super cool clothes, so decided to deep dive into the brand only to discover that founder Emily Bosence is an old friend from Brighton. Emily always was so expressive in her dress and back then was designing for Irregular Choice. I am now hankering after a few Zilla Kids bits for my daughter who has an out-there dress sense. Which almost got squashed by a mean friend telling her she could not dress as she does, saved thankfully by some youtube videos of Vivienne Westwood and the reminder that having your own style totally rocks! So today it is lovely to interview Emily to find out more about her brand.
Hi Emily, welcome to No Mum Is An Island. I am a great believer that no mum (or dad) should have to do everything herself, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting experience, to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that! We love that you have upgraded your life by turning what you love into a job that fits in around your family by creating your own successful clothing brand Zilla Kids.
You worked in fashion before you had kids, I still have my Oops Poncho’s I bought from you 10 years ago in Brighton, then when you had your son you created a brand around kids fashion. What were the first steps you took to create Zilla Kids?
I’ve always needed a creative outlet to keep me sane, I started making pieces for my kids when I was on maternity leave and lots of people would stop and ask me about them when we were out and about. I made my eldest a crocheted granny squares blanket with tons of Peruvian knitted finger puppets all the way around the edge for his first xmas, it got so much attention I decided to put them into production 🙂 I set up an Instagram account and just started putting out ideas and gauging what people wanted and after a few months we launched our sweatshirt range and it took off (thankfully!) lots of people then started asking for matching adult versions, which now outsell our kids clothes by a long way!
Environmental impact is important to you, can you tell us why and how does that affect how you create your collections?
I have a huge responsibility as a product designer to consider the environment at every step. It’s not perfect, the cotton we use is not currently organic but everything is WRAP certified fair-trade and OEKO-TEX accredited fabric which ensures that no substances that are harmful to people or the environment are used, we also do not use any plastic in our packaging. All our designs are hand cut and stitched/printed locally, I’m a strong believer in flexible working and the Zilla team pick and choose their own hours, we all have busy lives and family come first. I’m constantly assessing how we work and how our environmental impact can be reduced and as we grow, and our quantities increase I’m able to make more and more changes for the better.
It must have been exciting to collaborate with Selfish Mother, how did that come about?
It really was! The company had only just taken off, our personalised Letter Sweaters with pom pom trims were a huge hit and we were suddenly swamped with orders. I had quite a few people message me and ask if I could make them sweatshirts that said ‘MAMA’. I always go out of my way to push ideas and designs that have not been done before and see the ‘MAMA’ jumper very much as Molly / Selfish Mother’s idea. Collaborate don’t imitate!! So I decided to punch above my weight and I emailed Molly with some sketches of ideas of their MAMA jumper in our appliquéd gold fabric with pastel pom pom trims.
Thankfully Molly loved the idea and we launched our first collaboration range. This gave me the opportunity to get extra sewers on board and start to expand and I will always be grateful to Selfish Mother for the leg up they gave me at such an early stage!
You also have a fundraiser collection of womenswear and are proud sponsors of Women for Women international – tell us more?
I discovered Women for Women International through Selfish Mother, I’d produced a couple of kids fundraiser ranges previously which supported children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent (who have been an amazing support to my family in the past). As our womenswear was taking off I really wanted to design a fundraiser range to support a women’s. Women for Women International work in some of the world’s most dangerous places helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives, through this amazing charity we were able to sponsor a ‘sister’ to take part in their year-long training programme. This programme equips women to earn money, regain their confidence and actively participate in their communities.
Lots of mums dream of setting up there own business, what advice would you give to someone wanting to set up their own brand?
Just do it 😀 But be wise about what you spend out on. There are so many free/cheap ways to show your product to consumers before forking out for trade shows and expensive consumer fairs.
What has been the best bit of advice someone else has given you?
Hmmm nothing springs to mind, I probably should’ve been listening!
What keeps you going?
Honestly, my work keeps me sane, it is exhausting juggling it with the boys but I would lose my mind without it!
Want to get inspired to start your own business – get inspired below: