Under the brand name of ‘Buttons Attic’ I sell colourful baby and children’s clothing for boys and girls using vibrant African wax print fabrics. All styles are lovingly designed and handmade by myself from my studio attic in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
As a business I pride myself on making children feel happy and comfortable in my outfits, celebrating uniqueness and individuality through colour and print... because it’s fun to stand out from the crowd! All outfits are made using 100% cotton, meaning they are machine washable, durable and versatile, easy to care for and long lasting; making them perfect for casual everyday, parties, holidays and more! As everything is handmade, I also offer styles made to order where possible.
I have loved designing and making clothes for as long as I can remember. My Grandma and Mum always sewed and made their own clothes and they inspired me to pursue a career in Fashion. I graduated with a first class honours degree in Fashion Design, but after several years working in the fashion industry for top High Street brands, I fell out of love with fast fashion and left to become a Fashion & Textiles teacher. I started making bespoke children's clothing after my niece was born in 2012. My family loved the unique designs and were delighted to have special items that nobody else owned!
After volunteering with a women’s empowerment group in Tanzania a few years ago, I fell in love with the African culture, the people and their fabrics and I came home with ideas (and a lot of fabric!!) to start making a capsule collection. My dream is to donate a percentage of my profits to the charity I worked with to continue to empower this group of women each year, and hope to continue to source fabrics from the same areas I travelled in Africa.
I decided to take the plunge and the first 'showing' of my collection was at a very popular street market in Sheffield in April last year. I LOVED the buzz of the market and the reaction my clothing received – so I decided go for it and set up my little business!
Family is at the heart of my business and I gave birth to my first baby in February this year. With a new baby on the horizon I had (very optimistically!!) so many ideas spinning round in my head on how to develop the business during my maternity year with the hope of going full time and quitting ‘the day job’. However… I learnt quickly that with a new baby, you very much fit your plans around them and not the other way around!!! I am extremely lucky to have a very supportive husband, who helps wherever he can, often cutting fabrics, setting up the stall at markets and events, and helping out with admin and other general tasks he can, but more recently he’s stepped up another level by looking after our 10 week old son to allow me time to work on the business. When my husband is out at work himself a baby sling carrier is my new best friend (amazing for multi-tasking) and I am surprised by how much I can function on such little sleep and multiple cups of (often cold) coffee!! I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, I just need to learn to switch off and not work into the small hours of the morning like I used too so I can also function in the day!
Being a new parent is tough, but having a newborn baby during a global pandemic when the whole world is in lockdown is another level, and I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression a few weeks ago. Having being thrown a seriously rough deal in the post-natal world, I have found working on my business a form of escapism and sewing my therapy. At first I felt guilty about spending time doing what I wanted to do, but knowing my baby is being well looked after by my husband and speaking with other Mums they have reassured me that my baby will be content and happy if he knows I know I am a happier and calmer Mum. I also love the thought of him growing up watching me be creative and hopefully not minding me using him as a model as he gets older!
As with any small business it is difficult to increase exposure, so I thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Please feel free to share my story with friends and family who you think might like my clothing range and the ethos behind my brand and business.