I love chatting to fellow small-biz owners about what gets them going and what grinds their gears about being your own boss. I have created a series of Q&As with some of my fave small brand owners in the hope we can share some behind the scenes insight into our lives as women in business.
I met the lovely Chantelle of The Wild and The Tame at a pop-up market in London - her range of stunning nature-inspired baby blankets, comforters, bedding and bibs are all beautifully hand made in her home studio in Kent.
Who are ya?
I’m Chantelle, Kent based mummy to two boys under four, wife to my teenage sweetheart, maker of pretty things and semi-professional juggler of life in general (aren’t we all?).
How and when did you come up with the idea for The Wild and The Tame?
When I was pregnant with our first son I couldn’t wait to plan his nursery but I wasn’t really a fan of what I found on the high street – a lot of nursery accessories and décor were either pretty bland and “safe” or were quite garish primary coloured designs (especially for boys - why all the trucks and diggers?!). I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what I was looking for but I knew it wasn’t these – they didn’t give me that head over heels gushy feeling.
Fast forward a couple of years and I was pregnant again and repeating the same search. I wanted something new to challenge me and keep my brain cells alive through the sleep deprivation so I decided to finally start a creative project, which I’d been itching to do since I started a PR career after my design degree. I wanted to create unique products for other parents looking for something a bit different too. After a lot of searching I finally found the most beautiful, nature themed fabric prints – ones that made my heart flutter – taught myself how to sew and got to making!
Being pregnant and setting a deadline to have everything up and running before due date gave me a pretty no nonsense attitude, because I booked my first pop up market stall on a whim at two week’s notice, and ran it alone, 8 month’s pregnant, on a hot August day!
What 3 things do you enjoy most in your job as The Wild and The Tame Boss Lady?
- Being able to have time with my little ones and work that I’m passionate about.
- I love that I’m constantly learning, whether it be website coding or photography or new sewing techniques. I’ve surprised myself in so many ways in terms of what I’ve been able to achieve and it really makes me proud that I’ve built The Wild and The Tame all on my own.
- Being able to create beautiful products and have them be appreciated by others is just so rewarding and I love meeting customers in person at pop up markets and fairs.
What 3 things do you enjoy least?
- Working alone can be lonely sometimes, which hasn’t done much to help my habit of talking to myself out loud! I can be very indecisive and it’s hard not having someone to bounce ideas off of.
- Social media is a funny thing and just as on a personal level, it’s easy to draw business comparisons too. As a one-woman handmade business I often have to remind myself that it’s ok to grow at a slower, steady pace.
- It’s hard to switch off and step out of work mode when my office is just a 1 minute commute upstairs and there’s usually a pile of overdue sewing calling my name.
Any advice for anyone starting out in the world of small biz ownership?
There’s never really a right time to dive in so I’d say that if it’s something you think fills a gap in the market then go for it (within reason – maybe start it as a side hustle to give yourself a safety cushion). Be prepared for a steep learning curve and make sure you’re in it for the long run as it really can take a good while of trial and error before you find the best path for your business.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future of The Wild and The Tame? Where do you see yourself in 3 years time?
I’m focusing on building the wholesale side to the business at the moment, so my dream would be to see my products in independent children’s, interiors and gift stores up and down the country, even abroad. I’d also love to collaborate with retailers to create bespoke collections which are only available in their store
Most of the fabrics I use are designed by UK illustrators but I would love to be able to commission them to create exclusive designs for The Wild and The Tame, so that I can really hone down the brand aesthetic whilst showcasing some amazingly talented artists.
What’s your favourite breakfast?
Ooh, I’d have to say pancakes. They became a regular weekend staple in our house but it’s been a good while…I think it’s time to reinstate the family tradition!
Where can we find you?