Jenny Dalton is a UK based freelance writer and editor. While pregnant with her son, she launched an online blog/magazine/store called Little Big www.littlebigmagazine.com. LBM is a rich platform focusing on good design for children : toys, furniture, art, decor, lifestyle, food, books (check out the special Amazon store; crafty). Recently Jenny launched Brand-I, a shopping directory to stop fakes online www.brand-i.org. The creative and well connected journalist tells us more about her activities and the things and places she likes.
Speaking about business…
How long have you been in the children’s industry? About four years.
When and how did you start Little Big ? It was in my head during my first pregnancy with my son – now nearly 6. Like many parents that early parenting time is thinking time – it’s such a shock becoming a parent for the first time and realizing all the things you thought would exist don’t.
What brands do you carry in the LBM store? Corraini books, Flensted mobiles, Deuz playmats, Hommu Barcelona wall stickers, and Editions Paumes’ interiors style guides.
How large is thestore? Oh, LittleBig is pretty small! One day I hope to have the time and resources to expand it.
Advice for young entrepreneurs in the children’s industry? Look at colour, innovative materials, and price point.
Advice for retailers? Avoid any more Scandinavian themed stores – there are so many doing great things already – especially the likes of Kidsen. Really, there are so many exciting new markets to explore!
…and about the world and other places…
What would you say about the general economical climate in your country? Precarious. We live in difficult times.
What are your favorite cities in the world and why? I’d love to travel more – I used to for my job on Elle Decoration and to some extent in my work for How To Spend It magazine at the Financial Times. To date, Rome (it’s a party city, so glam); Palermo (surprising, raw); Kathmandu (beautiful people); Marrakech (both bustling and completely serene, depending on where you are).
Have you seen interesting children’s stores that you liked recently? I really like the concept behind UnDueTreStella in Milan – products made with contributions from children themselves. (www.unduetrestellababy.com)
Interesting things to see in your area? If your family likes cars and motor racing the new Brooklands Hotel Surrey is great for a weekend stay – it’s right next to the Brooklands museum which houses one of the old Concordes, and loads of old cars – all on the old Brooklands racetrack, the first purpose built British racetrack. (brooklandshotelsurrey.com)
Your favorite stores? Museum stores. Especially the shop at the Natural History Museum – all those soft animals and gemstones!
more about yourself now!
How would you describe your personal style? Used-to-be-stylish-but-now-largely-confused-and-scruffy.
Your perfect Sunday ? Rest! Never happens.
What do you prize most in life? It’s a cliché, but family and thinking time (mutually exclusive?).
What inspires you at the moment? Trying to work with brands to help solve the counterfeiting issue.
on the cultural side…
Your favorite bedtime reading with the kids? My daughter’s favourite current book is Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood – it’s all about colour. I never tire of the Frog & Toad stories for early readers by Arnold Lobel – so funny!
A movie you recently saw and that stayed with you? The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, and the Kite Runner (both about suffering children).
Your favorite movie to watch with the whole family? The kids are a little young to sit and watch a whole movie so far – and I’m not usually into animated films – I find them too long and boring. However I loved Despicable Me with Steve Carrell, and I still don’t think you can beat the beauty of 101 Dalmatians.
The book on your bedside table; what you like about it? Ha, there are so many books on my bedside table – the trouble is finding time to read them! I’ve got Peggy Guggenheim: The Life of an Art Addict; Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals; Bruno Munari’s Design As Art. Haven’t touched any of them for a month or so… Sad. But Peggy Guggenheim is an inspiration; Gerald Durrell’s tale of his childhood in Corfu is so simple and evocative; and I love how seriously Bruno Munari took children’s design in the mid last century.
focus on kids and kid’s products…
What’s missing in the current children’s product offer? I still don’t think there’s enough variety in clothing for boys. Too much sportswear and visible logos, which I really dislike.
An online destination, preferably children’s related, that inspire you? poissonrouge.fr – I love the creativity of this gaming site and the fact that it is updated regularly. It’s perfect for pre-readers as it is so intuitive. & I love peeking at The Selby for family interior inspiration. (theselby.com)
Latest item added to your child’s wardrobe? A Fabric Flavours Green Lantern T-shirt for my son – they are really lovely heavy quality jersey: fabricflavours.com. And a Christina Rohde cardigan for my daughter from Custard: custard-online.co.uk
Your favorite website related to children? I love the artwork on laffichemoderne.com, and its online tool that allows you to ‘design’ rooms around that poster – it’s actually a really easy-to-use design tool to give you colour / flooring ideas for kids’ rooms. I adore the selection on kidslovedesign.com, and favourite clothing stores are custard-online.co.uk and www.fluke-kids.co.uk.