INSPIRING MOTHERS AND THEIR STORIES.
WE SIT DOWN WITH WOMEN FROM AROUND THE WORLD TO DISCUSS LIFE, WORK AND MOTHERHOOD
From the humble beginnings of working in an art gallery to products being stocked in London's iconic Harrods, the incredible interiors company Olli Ella is taking the design world by storm. And it all started with a nursing chair!
We had a #cheekychinwag with this inspiring Mama of two and discussed business, baskets and chunky knitwear.
Having founded her business seven years ago with her sister Chloe, Olivia describes it as a “happy accident”. Olivia and her then pregnant sister were running an art gallery in Islington (now the site of their Olli Ella London shop). “We noticed that there was a lack of stylish, well-made nursing chairs and so we designed one and found a local craftsman to build it. We launched with a small collection of British-made nursing chairs and within months Olli Ella was picked up by Harrods.”
The Olli Ella “Luggy” basket has been a huge hit in Australia - with what seems every Instagram toddler storing and toting their most prized possessions in one. A simple yet sweet design, such products “bring out the child, the explorer, the adventurer, and homebody in us all,” said Olivia.
With an ever-expanding collection of pieces for children’s spaces, including nursing chairs, rugs, nursery furniture, baby bedding, and much more, the duo behind Olli Ella don’t seem to be slowing down. Olivia’s advice to other mothers in business - “Don’t try to do everything at once, but chip away until you get there.”
Lastly, just a few cheeky questions
What special [clothing] pieces do you think are important for young children?
Living in the UK where it’s grey most of the year, I am serious about quality knitwear. Oversized chunky jumpers and cardigans that can be layered, snuggled and lived in, then passed down to the next child.
Your Instagram offers daily inspiration for many, what inspires you?
My inspiration comes from how I like to exist in my own home. I love objects of beauty that are useful as well. Our collection of children’s baskets come from seeing how our own children interact in their spaces - the love of collecting treasures, of wheeling toys, of adventuring and organising. Chloe and I design for our own families and we are so grateful the products resonate with our customers in the same way.
How would you describe your style?
I’d say my style is playful, considered and constantly evolving. I prefer not to rush things, and am totally fine to spend months in search of that perfect piece and often will have something custom made so I can be sure that it’s just what I wanted. I love pastel colours, clean lines and versatility in design. My home is a constant work in progress, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!
Which other designers, artists or creative people are you loving at the moment?
I’m completely in awe of the many designers and makers I have the fortune of meeting through Olli Ella! Everything that super-stylist Charlotte Love does is perfection to me. Her stop-motions are hilarious and fun and I love sharing them with Nika. Plus she is a dream to work with. I am also a huge fan Ariele Alasko’s objets d’art, which are so tactile and inviting and seem like they come from another world.
You have two beautiful children, Nika & Jules; How do you juggle your work and motherhood?
It is a real struggle to be completely present and engaged when spending time with Nika and Jules. I do try to have a “no work” policy when I’m with them, but it’s not always possible. On particularly busy weeks, I make sure to set aside a few hours each afternoon where my mobile is out of sight, emails remain unanswered, and I devote myself entirely to quality time with them. And weekends are all about family time - we hang out on the Hampstead Heath, take a trip out to the countryside or go to one of the many amazing and inspiring museums around London.