Little Fellows was founded by Lisa Fellows in 2013 in Gloucester, England. The company is a Partner Sponsor for The Wrap Show 2017. In the following interview, Lisa shares more about Little Fellows.
How did Little Fellows come to be?
When my eldest son was small, I took some weaving classes in a neighbouring town. We wove tea towels and a scarf and although I enjoyed the process, I decided to start a photography business instead to enable me to work flexibly around my son. Fast forward to 2012, and spending every weekend working whilst trying to juggle family life with three children was not fun.
Just around that time, handwovens were in the spotlight. At that time, no one was handweaving wraps in the UK, and those that were available came from abroad with not inconsiderable customs fees. I realised that was something I would love to do – both from a weaving perspective and to give parents another option for carrying their children.
What drew you to the world of wraps initially?
A friend I met on a forum way back in 2005! Although I’d carried both my older children (with the same Moby D and Girasol woven!), during my pregnancy with my youngest son, I lived through severe antenatal depression. My friend sent me a link to an online forum of people who parented in a similar way and alongside that, a whole new world of slings to try.
What inspires you in your work?
I try to design with wrapping qualities foremost in my mind, so customers can choose a piece that most fits with their wrapping preferences. Aesthetically, it can be something tangible, such as the sea, or a feeling or just some colours that come to mind.
Why do you think wraps are so important for parents and children?
In my experience, although there is a bit of practice required, nothing is as comfortable as a well adjusted wrap carry. They are so adaptable and can be used right from birth to preschool, so for parents who only want to buy one carrier, they really are excellent value per use.
What is your favourite part about using woven wraps personally?
The flexibility they give to family life – we were able to go on our usual uphill and down-dale hikes with our dog, and I could do the school run with both hands free for my older children. It just made our lives easier in so many ways. I don’t think there are many things that could top the oxytocin rush when your child falls asleep whilst being carried though!
How do you encourage new parents who are interested but hesitant to try wrapping?
I try to reassure them that although a basic carry is a learning curve, half an hour with a consultant or a visit to a sling library will give them the skills they need (if they are not able to travel, I link them to some of the excellent video instructions available).
What’s most exciting or satisfying about working in this industry?
Seeing the wraps we produce being used and enjoyed by parents, without a doubt!
Where do you see Little Fellows in five years? Ten years?
Within five years, I want Little Fellows to have a strong mainstream presence in the UK and beyond, particularly with our accessible Jolly Good range and upcoming stretchy wrap designs. I’d also love handwovens to become less of a niche item and more of an heirloom that is kept within each family – and put to other uses – as a reminder of the closeness it facilitated. Owning our own premises where people could come to browse stock, for consultations and for workshops is another aim!
Within 10 years, I’d like to have expanded so that Little Fellows has premises throughout the UK and expand our offerings to include other items such as bedding, clothing and upholstery made with our cloth.
What experience do you hope for Little Fellows customers? In other words, what do you hope to accomplish or inspire through your work?
I hope that using a Little Fellows wrap will enable parents to carry their children in the most comfortable way possible, and that through my designs, parents can feel that they are also showing their own style.
Is there anything new about Little Fellows or its products that you’d like to share?
Although we started as a company producing only handwovens, we’ve always tried to price responsibly and use ethically sourced fibres. Last year, we designed our Jolly Good range to mimic the wrapping qualities of a handwoven at a mill-woven price point, in a bid to increase accessibility for new wrappers without compromising on quality or comfort. Our upcoming jacquard and stretchy ranges will continue to promote those values.