Home Interviews BellaOski: original, organic and cool baby clothes handmade with love
BellaOski, organic baby clothes, handmade baby clothes, kids clothes, pram shoes, baby harem pants, cool baby clothes

BellaOski: original, organic and cool baby clothes handmade with love

by Camilla

Meet the Maker: BellaOski Designs

When Debbie Hawkins from BellaOski Designs had her son, she was so disappointed by the lack of interesting and original clothes for boys on the high street that she decided to make and sell her own. Her cute organic baby clothes and pram shoes are modern, practical and eco-friendly, handmade in beautiful prints sourced from across the world and sewn to the soundtrack of her children playing in her studio. We talk to Debbie to find out more about her cool handmade baby clothes… 

Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?
Hi, my name is Debbie Hawkins and I’m the owner of BellaOski Designs – a boutique for babies specialising in modern clothes and accessories made using unusual prints in modern, practical designs. I use Global Organic Textile Standard-certified (GOTS) organic knit fabrics, which use low impact dyes and are free of all harsh chemicals, making them super kind to babies’ skin and kind to our environment.

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Dancing in the Rain baby trousers by BellaOski

When I had my son, I was so disappointed with the clothes available for him. Everything seemed to have a TV character or the shop’s branding emblazoned across the front and I just found it all so dull and uninspiring. That’s when I thought I’d have a go myself.

How did you learn to sew? 
I’m actually pretty much self-taught. My mum taught me the basics and over time I’ve just experimented with more complex projects. I’ll always aim above my competence so I have to find out how to do it, which usually involves a hunt through YouTube videos. YouTube is invaluable.

Can you remember the first thing you ever sewed?
I remember making a new school skirt when I was at school. For years I was forced to wear a long unflattering and very uncool pleated one, so I paid particular attention in class while making my fab new skinny pencil skirt!

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I always get such a buzz and sense of pride when I’ve created something.

When and how did you start making for a living?
I was about eight or nine years old. I really wanted horse-riding lessons, so to pay the £7 a week cost, I starting sorting, weighing and bagging up thousands of Shell Petrol coupons to be reused by the petrol stations.

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A selection of baby bibs, harem pants, pram shoes and baby headbands by BellaOski

BellaOski baby clothes are modern in print and style as well as being a break from the norm.

Wow, such initiative and determination at such a young age! How did BellaOski start?
I’d had such fun dressing my daughter in unusual designs from the high street and felt spoilt for choice – I loved that no-one else was dressed like her. But when I had my son, I was so disappointed with the clothes available for him. Everything seemed to have a TV character or the shop’s branding emblazoned across the front and I just found it all so dull and uninspiring. That’s when I thought I’d have a go myself.

How would you describe the BellaOski aesthetic?
BellaOski baby clothes are modern in print and style as well as being a break from the norm.

BellaOski, organic baby clothes, handmade baby clothes, kids clothes, pram shoes, baby harem pants, cool baby clothes

It’s been lovely being able to run my business surrounded by my kids. I feel very lucky. I only have a matter of weeks left before my youngest starts his school adventure though, so I’m going to miss the soundtrack of his imaginative games in the background.

Where do you look for inspiration?
I’m a very visual person so I’m forever flicking through magazines, ripping out colours, patterns and products that inspire me. I’ll often wind down at night with an obligatory look through Pinterest and if I want to find a particular product, I’ll always search for it via images rather than websites.

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My fabric stash is getting a bit out of control! I keep promising myself I’ll cut down on the amount of designs I buy, but haven’t managed it so far.

The fabrics you use are gorgeous. Where do you find them?
Everywhere! They come from around the globe. I also have a stash of vintage fabrics that I’ve found in vintage markets and on trips abroad. I love the different colour combinations that older fabrics offer and my next goal is to start designing my own textiles.

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Organic baby bibs, baby booties and baby headbands by BellaOski

I was about eight or nine years old. I really wanted horse-riding lessons, so to pay the £7 a week cost, I starting sorting, weighing and bagging up thousands of Shell Petrol coupons

It sounds like your fabric stash is huge…
Yes, it’s getting a bit out of control! I keep promising myself I’ll cut down on the amount of designs I buy, but haven’t managed it so far.

Where is your workspace and what’s it like?
It’s a corner of my kids’ playroom. It’s been lovely being able to run my business surrounded by my kids. I feel very lucky. I only have a matter of weeks left before my youngest starts his school adventure though, so I’m going to miss the soundtrack of his imaginative games in the background.

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Organic knotted baby headband and matching pants in Swedish Forest Fabric by BellaOski

It’s lovely making baby clothes. I always get a little excited when I’ve completed a new product as it looks ridiculously cute. Plus it’s the only way I can get my daily baby fix these days.

Apart from your children, is there anything you like to have around you when you work?
When I’m alone, I like to listen to music. I always have to sing along though, so I tend not to put my family through that torture.

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I’ve always made things – painting glass and selling it through my uni years, drawing still lives, painting Iconic Art canvases. I even did a commission for Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin!

What’s the best thing about being creative for a living?
I get such a buzz and sense of pride when I’ve created something. I’ve always made things – painting glass and selling it through my uni years, drawing still lives, painting Iconic Art canvases. I even did a commission for Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, which I was thrilled about. It’s lovely making baby clothes though, and I always get a little excited when I’ve completed a new product as it looks ridiculously cute. Plus it’s the only way I can get my daily baby fix these days.

If you weren’t a maker, what would you be?
When I was younger, I wanted to be an actress, but that was probably just an excuse to be dramatic! I’d still do something creative I think, possibly a graphic designer. I’ve have always fancied writing a book too.

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Organic baby booties by BellaOski

To anyone thinking of selling their own makes, I would say you have to give it a try! Don’t rush things, just love what you do and you’ll be successful.

What would you say to someone thinking about selling their makes?
You have to give it a try. When I look back at where I started and my first attempts at selling and what I do now, there’s no comparison. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the time to allow my business to grow organically. So I would say, don’t rush things, just love what you do and you’ll be successful.

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Rainbow pram shoes / baby slippers by BellaOski

There’s nothing better than belly laughing with Bella & Oski. They are my true inspiration.

How would you spend your perfect day?
With my family. There’s nothing better than belly laughing with Bella & Oski. They are my true inspiration.

Have you been watching the Sewing Bee? Would you ever consider entering? (We think you should!)
I’ve got them all recorded ready for some ‘free time’ but I’ve only managed to watch one episode so far. And haha no! I’ve never considered entering, I have to know I’d be good enough to put myself in the lion’s den like that!

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You can find the full range of BellaOski organic baby clothes on Folksy >

Get 10% off all BellaOski baby clothes and accessories with the discount code FEATURE10 – only valid until 30th June 2016.

 

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1 comment

baby clothes January 13, 2017 - 9:54 am

I love their clothes for dressing my little boy! So soft and environmentally conscious too! Those are very cute
clothes for baby girls

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