Updated: Apr 17, 2018
I just wanted a pair of baggy wool trousers for my baby
After I felted an old jumper by mistake, and bodged a pair of baby trousers from it, I couldn’t stop thinking that someone should do this as a business. I even knew which jumper they could start with- a really colourful patterned jumper that I loved, but didn’t look good in. I pestered my crafty friends, and my Mum, but everyone was too busy on other projects. Eventually I realised that if I wanted to see these trousers- I'd have to start the business myself.
The really key thing was finding a good seamstress
A few people replied to my initial advert, but I liked Lizzie’s response the most, and as soon as I went round to her house (with my favourite jumper) and met her and her kids, I had a really strong feeling that she was perfect for Bumpkin Tumblepants. Especially as an hour into our first chat, she had skilfully put together the patterned trousers that I had been obsessing about for months! We did a lot of adjusting and tweaking after that first prototype but they are a fabulous pair of trousers nonetheless! Lizzie is very experienced and meticulous with a fabulous eye for colour, but just as importantly, is very silly and makes me laugh a lot. She's just dyed her hair flame red (like really, really red) and I'm feeling inspired!
I thought that social media would be most important for us
But I soon found that people really need to meet us and feel our wool trousers before they get really excited about Tumblepants! So it’s lucky that our local markets are also a nice way to hang out as a family. We take a blanket and some baby toys and our hand painted sign and have a lovely day- hanging out with other families, meeting new customers, buying lots of coffees and yummy lunches. I'm hoping to create a baby hang out too next time- an area with blankets and toys where babies can play and Mums can feed or change or just relax!
It’s really cool that a local Forest Row shop- One the Square- agreed to stock our trousers for free for a month
to help us get going as a small local start-up. The owner is really supportive of young Mums setting out in business and has also given us advice on presentation and marketing for the future. It feels great to have our wee Bumpkin trousers available in a really artisan, high end shop.
Everyone who worked to launch Tumblepants is from the Forest Row community
Jonothan Hunt, who made our website, and Will Heap, our photographer, are an ex-student and a parent that I used to work with, both from Forest Row.
I met my mentor, Alison White (Project Perfect) at our local natural mothering outdoor baby group ‘The Village’. I’ve also had advice from the ‘Ladies who Latte’ of Forest Row, and was also really inspired by a local facebook group where we have a brisk and beady-eyed trade in second hand wool clothes for babies.
It’s such a great area and there are so many parents into Steiner-inspired parenting
Dressing their babies in natural fibres and giving their children low-key, technology free, healthy upbringings (as best we each can!) It sounds orfully middle class put like that, but actually the village is a real rag-tag of people from all different places and backgrounds- brought here by all sorts of courses and jobs and then staying because it's such a lovely place to bring up kids.
When I had my baby I was really shocked at how rubbish lots of baby clothes are
I just wanted her to be comfortable- but there were all these zips and pockets and random decorative bits. I wouldn't want lumpy metal studs or loops on my pyjamas so why should my baby have to lie on them? And now that she is crawling and standing, it seems even more important that she is free to move and unencumbered by her clothes.
I hope that people will treasure their Tumblepants
I’m proud that we are making one-of-a-kind trousers, completely dependent on what I find in second hand shops, changing every week. A lot of love goes into each pair! And I hope that other parents will appreciate the simple design that I was craving and that we eventually nailed- easy to pull on, stretchy, and really resilient to crawling, climbing, tumbling and mud! Hopefully, buying these warm and tough trousers might also encourage parents to go outside more with their babies, and to stock up on other lovely natural fibres for their children as they grow.