Thomas Pie. The sweetest little threads for your little cutie pies. Colour. Style. Pattern. Perfection. We are thrilled to have a few pieces for our babes. Beautifully made. And we love seeing our girls rock about in such small business awesome.
Amy is the beauty behind the brand. A qualified chef. With a Bachelor of Science. She worked in the not so glamourous wine industry for years before starting her own small business. And now. She is rocking the small business scene and making some of the coolest kids clothes.
We had a chat to Amy about how it all began. How she manages the juggle as a single mama to four and a half year old Thomas. Her favourites to follow. And what is planned next for Thomas Pie.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THOMAS PIE BEGAN.
Thomas Pie started in 2013 after I became increasingly frustrated at the lack of gender neutral clothing available for kids in NZ. I think I may be allergic to tee shirts with trucks on them and a silly slogan! I started out making a few things for Thomas and sharing them on my Facebook page. Then friends started asking for things and it grew from there.Thomas Pie was the name I called him while he was still on the inside so felt like an obvious choice for the business name.
I closed the business in early 2015 as I was going through a major health scare, but found that I really missed it and it was the perfect thing to do for me to work from home while recuperating and it was a fabulous distraction from some hard things I was going through in my personal life. It took off and I now have a team of lovely ladies here in Blenheim who do all my sewing. I still have a part in every garment that is made, whether it is cutting it out or adding snaps. I still sew some items, especially one off orders.
I try and focus on unisex styles and colours as much as possible so that clothing can be handed on from one sibling to the next. I use all GOTS certified organic cotton and it's important to me that people know this, and know where their clothing comes from.
THROUGHOUT YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT SO FAR.
The biggest lesson I have learnt is that you need to find your strength and focus on it! I'm embarrassed thinking back now to some of the things I did in the beginning! You need to find the thing you do really well and hone in on it! Take inspiration from others but have your own authentic style and rock that style so fiercely that others see it and associate it with you!
My biggest hurdle has been keeping up with the growth in the last 8 months. And learning when to ask for help! There was a period there where I was working 7 days a week and only sleeping 3-4 hours a night. I suck at asking for help and am that person that always thinks it's quicker to do it myself than take the time to show someone else. I'm lucky I have my parents close by to help and my step-dad does all the accounting stuff for me so I can concentrate on other things!
AND ANY ADVICE ON FOR PEOPLE WANTING TO START A SMALL BUSINESS.
If you are thinking about starting a small business my advice would be to do lots of research before you start about the product you're going to be selling and make sure you have your own unique voice! Also, be prepared for a huge amount of hard work with very little return initially. I often tell people it's lucky I'm single or I would be by now as I work every night after I've put Tom to bed till at least midnight. My relationships have suffered this last year while I've been trying to figure out the right balance, but luckily I have very understanding friends who are supportive of my success.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE JUGGLE.
I'm still figuring out the Mum/Work balance. We have 1 day a week where I do no work and Tom can pick anything he wants us to do together. We usually build forts and go for bike rides. I also try and make sure when we are together, he has my full attention and I'm not distracted by the 101 things I have to do. I could be better at this, but I also think it's important for him to see how hard I work for our little family.
AND WHAT IS PLANNED FOR THOMAS PIE'S FUTURE.
I have huge plans for Thomas Pie! I'll be moving away from buying fabric anyone can get their hands on and using all my own designs. I have big goals set for specific places I want to see my work sold and have set some pretty big targets for our growth! It's a massively exciting time and also a huge learning curve for me. I can't see myself going to work for someone else again anytime soon!
GET YOUR SHOP ON.
TOP FIVE TO FOLLOW.
ONE. @janamacherson We've been friends for a long long time & I love being able to see her kiddies grow via these little squares. We don't get to see each other nearly enough!
TWO. @beansproutstore Hiedee and I have become friends through Instagram and now in real life and I adore her style!
THREE. @magnoliakitchen I would probably be a cake decorator if I wasn't a kids clothing designer so I love following Bets and love her videos! Especially as they normally contain some kind of 90s hip hop or RnB as the soundtrack.
FOUR. @tiffmanuell Her creativity astounds me. I own a few of her pieces and have a major creative crush on her!
FIVE. @mikzuzu The flatly queen with the most fabulous eye and gorgeous kiddies!
BIGGEST INSPIRATION. My son.
WORD THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH. Eski.
WORD THAT MAKES YOU CRINGE. Moist.
PET PEEVE. Lying.
FREAK OUT. Birds!