In our new ‘Spotlight on Small’ blog series, we are shining the light on fellow small businesses. This week it’s Little Cloud.
Little Cloud‘s Claire originates from France where she learned to sew on her grandmother’s singer. Now based in Manchester she combines her French-learned skills with beautiful English fabrics to create unique pieces for nurseries, which become treasured keepsakes handed down through generations.
What inspired you to start your business?
Since I can remember, I’ve always loved making things, wanted to be my own boss and been a fan of Liberty London fabrics. But I hadn’t quite ever thought about putting them together… Then, when I was on maternity leave with my first daughter, I made a lot of Liberty cushions and mobiles for her nursery. A friend saw these and asked me to make some items for her interior shop in France. A few weeks later, she’d sold out and quickly placed a second order. I created my Etsy shop, successfully applied to Notonthehighstreet.com and (yes!) quit the day job. Little Cloud was born!
What do you love most about what you do?
I genuinely love everything about my job – but developing new products is the best bit. I love being on that journey from the light-bulb-moment to the finished product. It might take several months, looking for the right components and the best suppliers but I relish the trial and error. Then finally coming up with the item as you had envisioned it is just magic. More recently, I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with another designer, Claire, from Fable Heart, to launch a collection of Liberty crowns. I also commissioned the very talented Cassie Loizeaux to illustrate a musical ballerina cushion. I’ve really enjoyed having someone else to share ideas with (and I’d work with those two again in a heartbeat!).
Tell us about a typical working day
I work from home, so once my two girls are in the hands of our lovely nanny, I lock myself in my studio with a coffee to check emails. I reply to any customer enquiries, have a look at Instagram (there are several Instagram breaks in my day… I am slightly addicted) and print off and organise dispatch notes. As 80% of my sales are for personalised items, my team and I make them to order. We usually focus on one type of product for the day (e.g. personalised cushions) and make all the orders that have come in over the past few days. It can sometimes get quite stressful getting everything ready for the postman’s collection at 5.30 (he’s called Alan). I then spend some time with my daughters, but once they are tucked up in bed, I return to my studio to deal with supplier orders, answer emails which have come in during the day and tidy up ready for the next day.
What are your bestselling products?
The Liberty fabric and wire name sign is my best seller. They currently come in nine different prints, the most popular being “Betsy Bright”. I launched a personalised name cushion earlier this week which has also been really popular for us.
What are you doing for Small Business Saturday? (if you have a special offer or discount code for your website include it here)
I’ll be working. And that’ll be the case every weekend in the countdown to Christmas! We’re lucky to be included in Notonthehighstreet.com’s Christmas catalogue again this year, so we expect it to be a busy one! We’ll be helping you shop from the comfort of your home by offering a 20% discount across our website www.little-cloud.co.uk with the code STAYWARM.