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At the end of 2020 we (myself and other UK small business owners) really felt the financial, logistical and personal impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. My production partner and whole supply chain had been adversely affected. There were shortages, price increases, problems with shipping and implementation of new customs processes. Every small business was attempting to find their feet and navigate huge disruption. On top of that, we were all affected by political, social and emotional issues; we missed our loved ones in times of lockdown, we celebrated our love for the NHS, we supported the Black Lives Matter movement and we despaired over failings made, in times of crisis, by the powers that govern us.
On a personal level the past year has been life-changing, we relocated, renovated, lost loved ones, and welcomed our new daughter to the World. It has been a rollercoaster! As a result of the turmoil I have found running my business so tough, but even though I've struggled at get anything done my little business has grown and evolved, and as I reflect I am proud of what I've managed to achieve considering the circumstances!
Before I gave birth to my second daughter I had new prints and styles designed and an idea of where I wanted to take the range. I had wanted to increase the sizing up to six years, add in dungarees, develop the style of the baby onesies, and find the best way of digitally printing in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. The new collection was ready to put into production and I had found a fantastic new ethical kidswear factory to work with, this time in Portugal where I was able to find a far bigger and better range of organic fabrics, excellent quality craftsmanship and a factory that aligned perfectly with the Dinki Human Ethos. We won't be moving all Dinki Human production overseas, I still believe strongly in supporting UK manufacturing! But unfortunately the demand for GOTS certified organic materials and other eco standards is not high enough in the UK so choice is limited. In order to give our customers the best products and maintain our ethical, sustainable standards we had to cast the net further.
I took maternity leave and my husband took over the day to day running of the business, like shipping your orders out to you! I was so glad I had been prepared before our second daughter arrived. I felt confident leaving things ticking along whilst I focussed on family life and adjusting to being a mum of two. As a small business owner it is impossible to completely switch off. Dinki Human is my other baby so the constant feeling of 'business owner guilt' was exhausting but I knew it was the right thing to do for my family. Anyway, fast forward to now, my maternity leave is over and I'm back to juggling motherhood and running my business.
The range has been received so well, I'm so pleased with how well the new prints and styles have sold. We have more stockists in the Dinki family and we're now stocked in the US. The collection highlights were the rib quality, the introduction of a dungarees style and the Atmos-Folk print. When coming up with a concept for a print I like to put myself in the shoes of a dinki human, I like my prints to be designed with a kid in mind. I thought about what kids around the World have been through during Covid times. I have spent more time trying to explain 'the germs' to my daughter in the past few months than I ever have anything else! The Atmos-Folk are friendly, playful germs, they're inquisitive, just like our kids. Their eyes observe the World around them.
I'm so excited to start the design process all over again for our next collection. Expect new graphic tees, more playful, gender neutral prints and some new gifting pieces.