Winter. It's fresh down here on the Apple aisle. Super fresh. Uh huh. We love to get outside. Even on the frosty-foggy-grey-snow-on-the-mountains-a-little-bit-of-rain day. We wear lots of winter woolies. But we needed something more. And until now... we haven't been able to find super-stylish-super-warm-super-cute jackets for our little babes.
Oh hello Norte. The best jackets for your little ones. Perfect fit. Perfect style. Beautifully made. Beautifully warm. Our babes love them. And so do we.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS, NORTE.
We are sisters Casey and Amy and our business is Norte. We design and create fabulous gear for kids. We are based out of the beautiful coastal town of Inverloch in Victoria and inner city Brunswick in Melbourne. At the heart of Norte is our belief that kids should be active, curious and enjoying the endless outdoors and nature that we have on offer. We think that the mission of kids is to play, and our jackets and accessories are made to enhance that. Norte is about taking everyday items and adding the features, functionality and funk to give you an overall amazing product.
WHAT MADE YOU START UP YOUR BUSINESS.
CASEY. Living in coastal Victoria where the winters are cold, I was always searching for jackets that would enable my kids to be outdoors in the cooler months but found it hard to find ones that were really comfortable and that kids actually wanted to wear. Although there were some great products on the market, some were highly expensive and designed for more extreme environments like Mount Everest! I wanted the right balance of warm and comfortable whilst still looking really cool and importantly, at an affordable price for families. I proposed the idea to my sister Amy who was also excited about the prospect of doing something creative on the side and from there we made it happen!
AND WHERE DID THE NAME COME FROM.
We are completely inspired by the outdoors, weather and adventure. When reading about weather terminology we found that Norte is a cold north-easterly wind that blows across the Gulf of Mexico. We loved the simplicity of the word, the reference to cold weather but also the link to Mexico, which is of course a favourite food for both of us!
WE LOVE YOUR JACKETS. OUR GIRLS LOVE THEM. SO WARM AND SNUG. AND STYLISH. WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE.
CASEY. My favourite is our purple Waratah Jacket. It’s named after our favourite childhood beach hangout in South Gippsland. It was the last colour that we selected and I’m so glad we did - it totally pops!
AMY. I absolutely love our blue Ozone Jacket, the colour is just so eye catching and it’s great to photograph. I also really love some of the bear and mountain prints we use in our slouch beanies.
THROUGHOUT YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT SO FAR IS.
AMY. I don’t think a day has passed where we haven’t learned a lesson or two! The biggest though would be the importance of paying it forward. From the moment we launched Norte, we had an amazing community of support around us through friends, family and new supporters of our online store, they’ve all been a fantastic help and critical to our early success! So we’re really aware of how important it is to support others going through the same process. We will continue to work alongside other small businesses to build momentum and broaden our support bases together.
The other big learning for us has been the importance of taking calculated risks. Rather than seeing things as barriers or obstacles that might be a deterrent in doing business, we see them as opportunities. We talk about ‘how’ to do things, not ‘if’ we should do them. We’ve always been creative and into arts, music and design but our professional backgrounds have been in Industrial Relations and Risk Management so that combination provides us with a good level of balance across the board and also provides a great creative outlet for us both.
What advice would you give to someone starting a small business?
Well there’s plenty of advice out there around business fundamentals so we’ll share our number 1 rule, HAVE FUN! Laugh as much as you can, be thorough in your work and in your decision making but at the end of the day, take some chances, get a little silly and stay focused on your next steps. Make some strong connections and if you’re in the position to do so, seek out a charitable partner to support along the way. Norte supports an amazing organisation called Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre because they do such important work and it’s important to maintain perspective about the challenges and circumstances people find themselves in.
AND WHAT IS PLANNED FOR NORTE'S FUTURE.
The future is bright at Norte, we are currently working on some exciting new developments to our product range, all based of course around our theme of mission play, functionality and great quality. It’s funny, we regularly hear from people that their kids don’t want to take their Norte gear off so we’ve set the benchmark and will keep pushing ourselves to design and create products that kids and parents love!
GET YOUR SHOP ON.
TOP FIVE TO FOLLOW.
@little_pq They have amazing quality pics and do THE best flatlays.
@bros.and.bows They are a new start up with some really cool gear for kids, check them out.
@ki.ki_baby_fashion One of our absolute favourites! The funkiest little lady and her lovely mum!
@taslifewithmyboysblog Do some amazing work with home styling and kids fashion.
@coastmagazine Because they have the most amazing quality pictures of the region and its beautiful beaches.
WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION.
It’s so hard to pick one individual but in terms of the types of people that really inspire us, it’s definitely those people who are in carer roles and balancing numerous responsibilities. Whether it be parenting or caring for a relative, you guys rock!!!
WHAT WORD MAKES YOU LAUGH.
We’ve been rumoured to talk to each other in strange voices. When that happens, all words are funny.
WHAT WORD MAKES YOU CRINGE.
Crisps. It’s impossible to say this word and not be uncool. Try it.
WHAT IS YOUR PET PEEVE.
Negativity! Who needs it!
WHAT FREAKS YOU OUT.
Perfectionism, keep it real!