Today we are featuring the lovely Helen Turner who shares her inspiring journey of setting up her own children's wear brand full of gorgeous Retro inspired dresses..
Yoyo children's wear is all about Retro style dresses and skirts using fun, funky and colourful fabrics. The age range is mainly 6 months to 6 years but I can cater for older girls. Ever since I was a little girl I have been interested in designing and sewing. I started by making clothes for all my dolls and because I didn't have a sewing machine at the time they were all hand stitched! At college I learned pattern construction so I could draft all my own patterns as I always disliked using tissue paper ones. Using my own patterns also gives me creative freedom and all the garments are totally unique to yoyo. I source fabrics mainly from Britain but sometimes I go overseas to find that little bit of something different to make the yoyo brand stand out from the crowd. The majority of my garments are made from polyester/cotton as I find this fabric comfortable to wear and it washes and irons fantastically well. I pride myself on the quality of my workmanship, attention to detail and the finishing off are paramount.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I have always made clothes for my two children when they were little as I was looking for something different that was not available on the high street. At the time I was a single mother and although I wanted to start my own business I didn't have the confidence to get it going, let alone the time. As my children got older, my confidence grew and I started doing research into the children's clothing market. I found that there was a gap for original designs and fun, colourful fabrics. I asked around and the feedback I got was similar to mine, so I took the plunge and yoyo was born!
I sort of stumbled across the Retro style by accident. I am a very traditional person, so without thinking I started making dresses and choosing fabrics in the style that I used to love wearing when I was a little girl. It was only when at various craft fairs I heard people saying "I remember when you used to wear dresses like that" and "love the fabrics, so sixties" that I realised I had found my niche.
What were the challenges you faced when you started your business?
I think the main challenge I faced, and sometimes still face is cash flow. I had no help in the beginning so I used my credit card, bought a lot of fabric and used it to create a few different designs and when I had sold those I bought some more fabric. Also doing craft fairs was a challenge as I was quite shy then so I found it quite daunting to approach people I didn't know.
I started out by listing the few garments that I had made on Ebay. With the help of my partner I got a brochure made and distributed it across several housing estates in my local area. I also made leaflets and left them at all the local nurseries and playgroups with East Yorkshire did a few craft fairs.
What is the best part of running your business as a mum?
The best thing is being able to do something that I love and fits in with my children. I was able to work, getting orders done during the day and be there for them when they got in from school. Once they were in bed, I could continue working. I also love the flexibility that comes with being your own boss!
How do you manage working from home with your child? Do you have any childcare help?
My children are grown up now so life is a little bit easier! Back then when they were little, I didn't have any help, just had to manage my time well!
Make good use of the time without the kids around. Networking is vital to get your product out there. Be committed and never give up!
What is your favourite quote?
"If you really want something then it's always worth the hard work"
What are you working on right now that you are most excited about?
I am working on shorts at the moment. I have been asked for them so many times, there seems to be a demand for them!