Words by Alice Hedley of Amy & Ivor.
"Amy & Ivor really happened by accident. I stepped back from my career as a creative textile specialist when I had my first child as I knew I wanted bring them up myself and this was important to us as a family. I had no intention of starting a business but was beginning to get itchy feet creatively. More fashion consultancy work found me, which was very flattering, but I wanted to do something special for small people. I was doing a lot of craft and making things with and for the kids and was looking at putting this into a blog or something to share. At the time I was wearing moccasins a lot and wanted something classic like those for the girls. I searched to see where I could buy some but it was fruitless - lots of the typical 90's style with motifs but nothing that I wanted. I had some leather in my studio so set about making both girls some shoes one evening, I loved them and so did they, immediately wearing them everywhere. The idea for launching the brand came later – we received so many great compliments and requests to know where their shoes were from, that I decided there might be a market for them. I started selling them on a Facebook page and from there the good feedback just kept on coming and it's really grown organically."
"My girls are still very young – watching them wearing the shoes, developing and moving in them has so far has been the most inspiring thing in terms of driving new developments. Then you have a mood, a colour choice, a theme that will all take a very personal direction each season. I think my background really shapes how I put a collection together - I’ve always had a strong vision of what I want a 'look' to be like. Materials are ultimately my core profession and a respect and care for our children and our world drove a desire to use as environmentally conscious and as least harmful components as we can. Everything we use is the safest we can find and we continue to work with some wonderful suppliers who we are building some great strong relationships with."
"Social media makes everything so much more in the moment, but sadly there is a lot of blatant copying that seems to come with it. I’ve been often amazed at some peoples lack of integrity. Creative ideas are personal and it is easy to spot your work if it is replicated. It's not cool to see your designs, concepts, branding and packaging, even tiny things like style names or to find your wording lifted directly onto somebody else’s website. But I guess it means you are doing something right if you have something people think is worth copying, and by its very nature the one copying is always going to be behind. I am learning a lot about the legal side and steps I can take to protect us creatively. I don’t think the ‘head down’ approach is the answer as it's always a good idea to be aware of what is going on in the bigger picture. But the most important thing is to keep focused, stay true and positive to yourself and keep moving forward in your own direction."
"Becoming a mother is a defining moment, it changes everything – your focus shifts completely. Children are individuals and, like little sponges, they learn so much so quickly from all of their experiences and all of this shapes them into the grown-ups they will become. And as parents too we learn a huge amount from them; about life and love and also much about ourselves. I wanted not only to enjoy my children through their pre-school years but also for them to know that I prioritised them above everything, to be there for them, to guide them so they can grow into secure and confident individuals. Being here, seeing and doing this is definitely the best and most precious thing in life."
"Motherhood is a hugely rewarding challenge, it tests you and pushes you to the limit and is thoroughly exhausting. As this business grew out of my journey of Motherhood the two things are intertwined and our days are focused around the children with a little work thrown in if we can manage it. My real working day starts when they are in bed. It’s exhausting - there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week, but in this way I get the best of both worlds. The girls will be at school soon and then I will have a few precious hours to focus in the daytime, but for now it all happens by doing the magic mum juggle!"