Today’s post takes a slightly different approach to our usual ‘style’ posts. We’re the first to admit that we’re huge fans of the UK High Street when it comes to kitting out our kids’ wardrobes and interiors. But to focus solely on big name brands would mean that we were missing out on a wealth of talent and creativity that independent kids’ brands have to offer. Not to mention some price benefits too…
Today’s post then is a (fairly lengthy!) roundup of some of my favourite picks of the best independent kids’ brands for everything from clothes to shoes and from interiors to toys. I’ve had personal experience with pretty much every single one of these brands so you can rest assured that they meet the highest quality and delivery standards. Let’s get started…
Best UK Independent Clothing Brands
The UK’s market for independent kids’ clothes brands seems to have exploded in the last few years and I for one am really glad about this. The more variety the better in my opinion. I’m not able to cover each and every label out there (hell that would be a post in itself!) so instead I’ve focused on those companies that I’ve had direct experience of.
Hector was lucky enough to receive a pair of ‘Just call me Fox‘ leggings when he was very small and then a pair of ‘Storm Boy’ trews not long after from the fantastic brand that is Tobias & The Bear. They’ve since extended their range to include additional prints, bedding, sweatshirts and t-shirts too. I’ve got my eye on a couple of items namely a blanket for his tipi we’ll be purchasing later this year and a jumper.
I purchased one of Nor_Folk’s ‘Wonder Years‘ t-shirts to celebrate Hector’s first birthday (number one of course) and was really impressed with the quality of the top as well as the speed of delivery. Like Tobias & The Bear they have also increased their product range catering for interiors and mummies too. You’re bound to find something you like…
One of the first things I purchased for Hector – a pair of baby bloomers in mustard – was from Beau Loves and I’ve been tempted by more than one jumpsuit and set of leggings since. Unfortunately I never seem to be quick enough off the mark and the products I like are always sold out long before I get there – a testament to how popular the brand is I suppose. Baring the skirts and dresses, the range has been designed to be unisex – perfect for those mums tired of the sea of pink out there.
If you love pyjamas then you’ll love The Bright Company. They cater for babies all the way up to daddies – yep your entire family could wear the same outfit to bed. The unisex designs use bright colours and strong graphic prints for maximum impact and super snuggly comfort.
Best For Knitwear
So far I’ve actually only come across one online independent kids’ store that really specialises in knitwear for kids and that’s the amazing Mama Owl. Based in London this online boutique sells everything from FUB to Misha & Puff to Engel. Whilst I’d love all of Hector’s knits to be handcrafted by family members (and trust me he has a fair few Gramme jumpers and cardis) I simply couldn’t expect them to sit there purling away until the end of their days. This boutique (apart from Boden that is) is the next best thing.
Mama Owl caters for literally all of your knitwear needs – from bodies to all-in-ones for babies to dungarees and Fair Isle jumpers for older kids, all with a traditional vibe going on. I purchased these dungarees for Hector when he was 5 months old in the sale and they’ve been worth every penny.
Best For Toys & Decor
I am a sucker for pretty much any online interior shop but especially so for kids – honestly Hector’s room is pretty much the nicest room in the house and I wouldn’t mind snoozing in there myself.
My parents introduced me to Lucky Boy Sunday when they brought back the super soft ‘Snoop‘ for Hector from a trip abroad. The Danish brand is inspired by an artistic take on the world of children and caters for everything including knitted art toys and furnishings for the home – all made from the softest Alpaca. I’ve got my eye on a few more things from Lucky Boy but will have to wait until our house refurb is complete before indulging.
You’ve probably seen some of Rebecca Kiff’s beautiful work on our Rock My Family instagram page as the entire RMF team are huge fans of her animal cuddlies and cutesy blankets. All of Rebecca’s designs start off as a hand-painted illustration which I adore and Hector’s bunny cushion still looks as good as new despite being squeezed to pieces which is a testament to the premium quality of her products.
Coral from Velveteen Babies is seriously in demand and it’s no surprise why. Her cloud mobiles and garlands and wall hangings are all gorgeously made and unashamedly childlike without being twiddly twee. She generally opens her Etsy shop at 8.30am each Friday and stays open until she fills all her order slots. You’ll have to be quick though to be in with a chance to score your dream buy.
Best For Shoes
In the early days when Hector wasn’t quite walking but was cruising like his life depended on it, I invested in some super cute moccasins from Monkey & Mole. They arrived encased in their very own special cloth bag and were butter soft and completely flexible to accommodate his growing feet. I’m aware that Monkey & Mole aren’t the first company and certainly won’t be the last to sell such a product but I was particularly impressed with their Eco-Friendly stance and their re-wear policy which you can check out here. I’ll definitely be purchasing again….
Now that Hector is confidently walking around without help from me and will soon outgrow his first pair of shoes, I’ve been stealing a peek at Young Soles. Whilst I’ve not personally purchased from the brand, I’ve heard lots of good things from friends who have and I’m willing to invest in a set of their boots particularly as we have my sister’s wedding taking place next month. I like their modern take on traditional styles without being too fuddy duddy nor too trend led either.
Best International Independent Clothing Brands
Granted, you can probably purchase the majority of the international independent brands I’ve listed below from UK online retailers but I couldn’t not give them their own little section in today’s post.
American based Whistle & Flute is all about the statement t-shirt. And if you’re a mama that likes twinning then this is the site for you since they sell many of their designs in both baby and adult sizes. I purchased the ‘rainy cloud’ and the ‘je t’aime’ designs as t-shirts for Hector last summer and he’s just about growing out of them now. They’ve lasted well and the quality is good.
Founded in 2012 in Barcelona, Tiny Cottons has gone from strength to strength and their latest Botanicals inspired collection is, in my humble opinion, their best yet. A fair few of their most recent products have already sold out which made this mama a teeny bit frustrated but it’s my own fault for not being quicker off the mark when the range ‘dropped’ into stores last week. I have my eye on this t-shirt and this one piece.
If I were to use one word to describe Amsterdam based Gray Label then it would be ‘simplicity’. Designed by Emily Gray for kids aged zero to eight her collections are less ‘faddy’ and are instead focused on producing quality basics that are contemporary and unisex. I particularly like the fact that only 100 % organic fabrics are used in her designs too. Granted the brand is at the pricier end of the spectrum but that doesn’t stop me lusting after a pair of salopettes for Hector.
Riley & Cru makes me long for a little girl (in addition to Hector of course!). There are bloomers and playsuits and pixie hats and bubble onesies all in the cutest prints and fabrics. All of the items are made in California and the brand is obviously based in America so you’ll have to get your calculators out to convert the prices into pounds sterling but don’t let that put you off. I urge you to take a peek at their lookbook for some handy styling tips too.
As a last thought I decided to add in some additional online boutiques that offer a wide range of products from multiple brands – from clothing through to toys, decor and even party supplies on some sites. You’ll probably be aware of the majority of them already but just in case you’re not and because we like to encourage you to bash the plastic we couldn’t not share them with you.
If you’re looking for minimalistic good design from small brands producing clothing and toys then Bon Tot is for you. Catering from ages ages 0-6, I really love how the site is split by age group rather than having to hunt through multiple products before realising they don’t do it in your little ones size!
Scout & Co Kids is all about the fun and stocks a good range of the premium kids clothing brands including Ferm Living, Oeuf, Mini Rodini and Bobo Choses. I’ve scored quite a few things in the sales from this store so it’s worth checking back every so often for a bargain.
I’ve also bought quite regularly from both Molly Meg (excellent for party bits and pieces) and This Modern Life which I rate highly for practical yet stylish nursery storage and small decorative accessories. I ended up purchasing quite a few pieces from Molly Meg for Hector’s stocking for Christmas just gone and was so impressed by the packaging when I opened it up. The little things really do make a difference…well they do to me at least.
I know that this collection is only a very small selection of some truly amazing boutiques on the interweb and that there’s bound to be a whole heap of shops that you love and think that we need to check out. Why not share your top tips for kids’ shopping haunts in the comments bit below…after all we do love a bit of enabling 😉