Who said that baby clothes shouldn’t be fun? So far from basic and edging on all things chic and cool, Little Wren is an e-commerce feat when it comes to modern day shopping for your little one. Shabana Adam caught up with Emirati mumpreneur Aisha Alkhaja who understands that even babies need to make a statement with their style…
Some of the best creative and entrepreneurial ventures start from someone’s very own experience with a product. Whether it’s a lack of service, difficulty in access to goods or family needs that aren’t met with 100 per cent quality. Sometimes, the idea for a business can stem from something as simple as wanting to make another person’s experience more convenient and fulfilling. This is exactly what sparked the creation of Little Wren. The brainchild of Emirati mumpreneur, Aisha Alkhaja who cofounded the site with her husband, John Campleman, Little Wren is a luxury e-commerce company that curates high quality brands for the modern family. What does that mean for consumers?
Well, it’s easy; parents-to-be or anyone looking for quirky, unique baby items can log onto the site and browse at leisure – in just a few clicks, you can be the proud owner of cool, on-trend, not-on-thehigh- street products by edgy, independent brands. It’s fun, fast and super efficient. On top of that, you’ll receive your goods in just a few days of ordering, with free delivery in the UAE, and there’s also the guarantee that your little one will be the OG of baby and toddler fashion at the park or on the playground!
The idea for Little Wren was ignited during Aisha’s pregnancy. “I wanted some cool items for my little one and so went in search for something a little different,” she recalls. “I came across a few unique brands, most of which were created by mamas. I ordered a few things and once Lawrence arrived I tested them out. Some of them didn’t last after the first wash. Either the colour faded or the material just didn’t look the same,” Aisha adds. “The ones that did last though made me think, I wondered how many more parents would be interested in these brands that are tried and tested? I then decided to create an online store to house these amazing brands so that parents didn’t have to go in search of them.”
Aisha started the process when baby Lawrence was four-monthsold and launched on his first birthday. Little Wren is able to standout in the e-commerce world by providing a modern family shopping experience. “What sets us apart is that all the products are tried and tested, and we can honestly vouch for the brands that we stock,” Aisha says. “For us, it is important to know the brand and what experience our customers will have with the item they choose from that brand. “ On the website, you’ll find independent names such as; Max and the Star, Hippy Chick, Done by Deer, Milli Ecodesign, Tiny Turtle, We Might be Tiny and many more. You can build an entire funky wardrobe for your little munchkin in just a few clicks. Plus, all of the brands stocked on Little Wren each have their own unique story – so you’re not only buying into quality, but also the life and grind of many other individuals.
Aisha explains: “Most of the brands on littlewren.com are small independent brands. Some are designed and made by their founders, usually a mama like myself,” she adds. “Others are designed by the mama and made elsewhere and there are brands like Blurberry Boo that is a mum and dad team just like John and I.” And is there a checklist that brands must meet before being considered? “The criteria to make the cut is to pass the test of childhood messiness,” Aisha tells us. “The brands we stock are all high quality items that will last for not only your child, but other children should you want to pass them down. After quality, the next criteria that is a must is style. We chose these items based on the fact that they are modern and cool,” she says. “We wanted to offer parents the option to dress their children in items that wouldn’t necessarily be found in the usual shops in malls. Additionally, we have tried to choose items that are unisex also. We didn’t want to box the two genders into pink or blue and wanted to give parents more options.”
Now, let’s talk business. Aisha and John are that rare inspirational couple who are great role models for highlighting the way a good work-life balance means that you CAN have it all. But, Aisha admits that being a full-time mum and an entrepreneur does come with its challenges. “It is definitely possible, but it is hard,” she says. “I believe that you can be whatever you want to be. If you want a career as well as a family, go for it. You don’t have to be just one or the other.
“Being a parent is the hardest job from my experience so far, but it is being a parent that pushed me to start my own company,” Aisha explains. “I wanted to create something for Lawrence as well as for myself. Hopefully one day he will be proud of what I have achieved no matter how big or small.” The most challenging aspect for Aisha and John has been timing. They started Little Wren as first-time parents to a four-month-old baby, which Aisha says does come with a lot of guilt. However, they managed to split their time and get things done, making sure that Lawrence was never without one of them. “Working with your partner is challenging at times,” Aisha smiles. “We are very different as people and I guess that is essentially what makes it work. I am creative and a bit of a dreamer where as John is more realistic and methodical,” she says. “It is a good balance to have in a marriage as well as a business partnership. He reigns me in when I am floating away in dream land, both in business and life!”
For this new kid on the block, having a dedicated duo with a clear vision, brand integrity and client convenience is definitely a USP that we can’t fault. What more can expecting parents and families ask for from a reliable online shopping experience?
Q: What has been the most fun and rewarding aspects of creating Little Wren?
A: The most fun and inspiring part of the job is finding the brands and trying out their products. I have never been so excited to take clothes out of the wash just to see if they survived! The brands we stock inspire us as parents and as business owners and that is what is so great about them. You can look at brands like Selfie Clothing and see endless possibilities from something so simple.
Q: For all the mums out there who have great ideas and need some words of encouragement to take their first step into the entrepreneurial world – what three top tips would you give?
A: YOU CAN DO IT! Believe in yourself. You are strong and capable of anything. Be realistic in managing your workload and your family. It is important to split things so that work doesn’t take over and your family life suffers. Balance is key. Some days you won’t be able to balance things and one will take over and that is ok too. DO NOT listen to negative people. If there is anyone trying to guilt you because you are a mum and they think you shouldn’t be working, ignore them. You know what is best for yourself and your family. We CAN have it all!
Q: In 2018, what are you hoping to achieve with Little Wren?
A: I hope the business continues to grow and that people like what we have to offer. I can’t wait to discover new brands in 2018 and hopefully create our own line of children’s clothing. Watch this space.
GO: VISIT WWW.LITTLEWREN.COM TO BROWSE AND BUY PRODUCTS FOR A FUNKY WARDROBE, TODAY