Andrew and Michelle Molloy are the husband and wife duo behind Picture Book Fashion, a company which was founded after they spotted a gap in the market.
Tell us about the journey that lead you to launching your business, Picture Book Fashion…
We were agents in the children’s clothing business for many years and had established a strong portfolio of European brands and a great customer list when out of the blue two of our biggest brands went out of business leaving a huge hole in our agency and turnover. Initially we tried to replace this with other brands but when that didn’t work we thought let’s create it ourselves – we know the customers and we know what they are looking for so let’s give it a go.
You spotted a gap in the market and it has lead to you being one of the key players in the branded boutique Childrenswear in the UK, what has been your proudest achievement to date?
Well I guess building a business and two strong brands from the ground up has made us very proud. We get a real thrill from seeing our brands alongside some of the world biggest brand names in childrenswear and in most of the key stores in the business and seeing kids in the street wearing our products is just amazing.
You learnt a lot of lessons early on, can you tell us more about what this taught you?
Really I think sometimes you just have to go for it and that hard work and determination can cover the gaps in knowledge that anyone starting something new will have. In this business it is critical to get and keep great partners in factories, QC and logistics – it took us a few seasons to set up a strong team but since then we have kept the same people and processes and it has helped enormously.
We love that your ethos is all about giving clients what they want and not excuses. What advice would you offer any business owners that are lacking direction or motivation in your industry?
Well I think everyone has their own strengths and I wouldn’t tell anyone what to do – only thing I would say is to listen, deliver and lastly don’t compete with your customers.
You’re a family run business as your wife and daughter are also involved. How do you separate work and home life?
Honestly we don’t separate it enough – the business is all consuming and as we are still a relatively small team we find ourselves either doing it or talking about it all the time. We have added new employees to the business recently in finance, admin, warehouse and marketing and it is beginning to work well. Not only are they better and more experienced at these things than us but it takes some aspects of the business off our desk and that in turn lets us be more focused on the brands and hopefully a little more home life.
What do you like to do on Sundays?
During the sales and delivery season we work most Sundays but when we don’t Michelle and I love golf and play when we can and Sunday always means Sunday dinner at our house with our kids and our parents – real family time.
Are there any new collections or products that you are going to be launching soon that we can get insight in too?
We are launching a new brand in the stores for SS20. MiTCH is like the big brother to mitch&son which is very successful from 6m-6yrs but we were getting requests from retailers saying they were going to lose customers who were growing out of that collection so it made sense to go bigger. We could just add sizes, we felt an older wanted an older look and its own brand so MiTCH was born. It was sold to the retailers for the first time in July/Aug and the response was great so we are excited about it and after a couple of teasers on social media it seems the consumers are too.
Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of you bucket list?
We produce a lot of our product in Portugal and we really like it there. Our factories are all in the north and we go there every season and when we can we tag on some extra days on the Lisbon Coast which is amazing. The Caribbean islands look fantastic so that is on the list for sure.
What does 2020 look like to you?
Well for starters we are hoping for a little stability for the UK and for business – there is no doubt recent years have been challenging and that makes things tough for our retailers and doesn’t help our planning so a clear outlook would be nice. Having said that we are launching a new brand to the retailers for AW20 called “Little A” – again listening to clients they want a baby/toddler look so that’s what we will give them with hopefully a little dash of A*Dee style. That apart we want to continue with our steady progress in the UK but we would like to expand in Europe a little more. There is also a new warehouse on the horizon so we will be kept busy.
Where can people find out more?
We have a Picture Book Fashion website where you can find out more about us (www.picturebookfashion.com). We are also very active on social media so any exciting news we’ve got to share will always go on there.
A*Dee – www.a-dee.com
Mitch & Son- www.mitchandson.com