Earlier this season Jools Oliver teamed up with British parenting and children’s store Mothercare to launch a range of childrenswear, gifts, bedding and accessories. Titled Little Bird, the collection is stunning and full of age-appropriate, whimsical children’s products with retro charm and vintage nostalgia. StyleNest was completely sold. So, we met up with Jools to find out all about the collection, how she juggles being a busy businesswoman with being a busy mum of four, as well as an author, designer and wife to Jamie Oliver.
Tell us about your Little Bird collaboration with Mothercare.
Mothercare first approached me around two years ago and I had always wanted to design a children’s collection so the idea was incredibly exciting. I particularly wanted to design a collection that would be accessible for everyone and I believe we have achieved that. The collection consists of childrenwear up to the age of five, a newborn range, bedding, gifts and accessories.
What were your main inspirations during the design process?
The main inspiration for the first collection was a piece Mum gave me – a night gown with a little fawn embroidered on it. My sister and I wore it as babies, and I dressed my four children in it too. I wanted to create a vintage-inspired collection, then I went to LA and took in a bit of that retro look as well: sunshine and rainbows, jeans and lumberjack shirts. I like to see children looking like children not mini adults which is why I was inspired by childhood memories and the innocence of childhood.
How do you juggle a successful career with motherhood?
It can be hard, especially during the holidays, so Mothercare has been really accommodating and we plan all the meetings well in advance. We’ve signed off lots of the collection, sitting on my living room floor. Buddy and Petal have been on the shoots with me and Poppy and Daisy feature in the ‘behind the scenes’ video of the shoot. Then everyone, Jamie, the children, my sister, my mum and nephews all came along to the store launch, which was just lovely.
Your Little Bird collection includes some gorgeous gift ideas. Where do you shop or what do you look out for when you’ve got a child’s birthday party coming up?
I do try and find something a little different if I can, as children seem to have so much these days. There are some lovely little shops around Primrose Hill and Portobello but I do love to shop online. I also try and pick up a few presents when we are in Cornwall as there are loads of lovely gift shops around there.
You’ve also designed some gorgeous interiors pieces. What’s your home and interiors style?
Our style at home is quite eclectic so there are lots of different pieces we have stumbled upon for everywhere we have been. Jamie loves choosing things for the house so we usually decide together. We don’t go for high spec, we like our home to feel lived in, welcoming and with four children we need to be realistic.
How do you cope with children’s toys everywhere?
I think I’ve just got used to the toys, there isn’t much you can do about it. I do love it when the children want something gorgeous in wood, tin or cloth but they always go for those huge plastic toys when they’re small. We are lucky enough to have a play room so I can just shut the doors in the evenings which hides all the toy mess.
The Little Bird clothes are beautiful, we’re big fans here at StyleNest. Tell us what were the most important things to you when designing the collection?
Thank you so much, I do love to hear people’s opinions and to receiving such positive comments is really inspiring. I think age, style, quality and affordability were all extremely important to me. I do have an eye for details so ensuring each piece includes all the little details like piping, branding, embroidery and prints are looked after.
You’ve got four children and are looking great. How do you keep in shape with such a busy schedule?
I’ve recently rediscovered a passion for running, I always wanted to be a sprinter rather than a cross-country runner and now I’m giving it a go. I have a trainer who says I could do it competitively so that’s my aim but we’ll see what happens.
You and Jamie have such busy schedules; describe your perfect day with the family when you do get to be together.
It would just be a day at our house in Essex, a long walk in the woods with the children, back home for a family dinner and then all of us snuggling on the sofa and watching a film together
Describe your personal style?
My style is a bit 70’s, a bit retro. During the day I am very casual and usually in my gym gear waiting for the chance to get out for a run, but for a night out I really like to go to town, I’ll wear heels and a 70s style dress perhaps by Stella McCartney. Internet shopping is my guilty pleasure, when Jamie is out and the children are in bed I’m always on ASOS or Net-a-Porter.
Are your girls interested in what they wear or do you still get all the say?
Poppy and Daisy definitely have their own style as they are at that age where clothes and how they look are becoming more important to them. They do love skinny jeans, Converse and long sleeve t-shirts and I love their style as it really reflects their personalities. Petal loves dresses and she couldn’t wait to wear the floral tunic dress for Little Bird. Buddy is still just dressed by me or Jamie so he is always in jeans, cords, t-shirts and little shirts – a mini Jamie really.
What can we expect to see from you in the future? Another collection perhaps or a book?
At the moment I’m concentrating on the next seasonal collection for Little Bird. Spring/Summer 2013 looks amazing, I’m so excited about it. Look out for it at www.littlebirdbyjools.com