Anna is Danish, but lives in London with her partner and two small boys, 2 and 5 years old.
She has worked many years as a photojournalist traveling all around the world… but always had a passion for design!
We were struck by Anna’s strong passion for wool and its properties, and just like her we believe in the motto “choosing less is better“.
When she had her first child, Anna realised that there was only a limited range of similar wool clothes available in the UK, and nowhere to find a selection of beautiful items all together.
“In Denmark most people know about the benefits of wool, but in the UK very few people I met knew anything about it and thought wool was just for skiing holidays.”
Feeling that there was a gap in the market, Anna decided to fill it with the shop MamaOwl.
Without any background in retail or fashion, she started this adventure 4 years ago with a limited range of organic merino/silk thermals/underwear… gradually Mama Owl has grown to include a large selection of bands in natural fibres, wool, alpaca, cotton and linens, that are either hand made, organic or ethically made and recently a selection of toys, shoes and baby accessories has been added.
“I love brands that have a heirloom, classic feel to them, yet are simple, modern, a little quirky and practical.”
Brands with a story, like mormon, whose hand knitted sweaters are made by Danish grandmothers, Ostheimer’s wooden animals lovingly hand-made in Germany for half a century and Soor Ploom whose classic styles in premium fabrics are made in Brooklyn. “I love choosing the clothes and see people appreciate what I have chosen.”
MamaOwl is now a small team, working out of an old framers warehouse in Hoxton, East London, shipping everywhere world with a large customer base in the UK, Europe and North America.
1. How have you found the name of your store?
MamaOwl was one of my original name ideas, (simply because I like owls and it sounded sweet) however I spent days asking friends for suggestions of names that sounded like wool and nature, but in the end returned to MamaOwl.
2. Which labels did you present from the beginning and which are the latest new labels you added?
Engel Natur was the very first brand, they make merino and silk thermal tops and leggings, as well as the softest wool fleece outerwear. It is one of my favourite brands for basics. Some of our latest brands are Collégien, Misha and Puff, Polka Dot Club, Angulus and Waddler. The Danish labels Ferm Living and Konges sloejd have just joined MamaOwl.
3. You are based in London. What’s the best place for kids there?
We live in Hackney, East London and it really is a great place for kids. We have beautiful parks, Regents Canal (which we look out onto from our flat), lots of child-friendly cafes and restaurants and several nice museums including the V&A Museum of Childhood which is also right our doorstep. I recommend it as an area to stay in, if visiting London with kids!
4. Do you have a hint for parents when shopping for their kids?
I really believe in buying quality and ethically produced items and when possible organic and natural fibres both for myself and my kids. And of course my advice is to try merino wool! Wool has amazing properties to keep you warm and comfortable.
5. What was your favourite toy when you were a child?
I did not have one favourite toy, but I did love imaginative play and spent hours and hours drawing and making up stories. My best friend and I played with dolls for much longer than was deemed cool, we made whole life stories and dramas for each one, and just agreed not to tell any of the other kids!
6. Do you remember one special item you were wearing almost day and night as a child?
I was not very interested in clothes when I was a child, I remember my brother being much more fussy about what he wore. I was a teenager before I paid much attention. As a teenager however, I once found a pair of 70s flair jeans in a flea market in Uganda and literally wore them till they fell apart. I still have that tendency, if I love something I wear it till it is worn out.
7. Which museum even kids would spend hours in?
Any museum that has good kids facilities, things to draw, books to read, items to spot in the displays, and of course the Natural History Museums, everyone loves dinosaurs, skeletons and stuffed animals.
8. Are you realising mood images for your website? If yes, do you think that these images could influence the shopping experience of the customer?
We shoot lots of images for MamaOwl. I think it’s very important and one of the things that sets us apart, it keeps the feel of MamaOwl consistent, and nothing beats seeing the clothes on a real child for a feel of what it will look like on your own. We put a lot of thought into how the site and our images represent us and our values.
9. Kids and Internet… what do you think about it?
My kids are still young, the oldest is 5 years so it’s not really an issue yet. However I do want them to be playing, running, getting dirty, basically sensing and experiencing as much as possible while they are small. There is so much developing they still have to do. I limit their access to films and TV to when they are sick, traveling or visiting grandparents, but of course the internet is amazing and it will be part of their lives when they get older.
10. Could you share with us 3 of your favourite Instagram accounts?
I love Instagram because I get inspired, I discover small brands and I get to follow our customers lives and see the clothes on their kids! I think running my business would be very lonely without Instagram. I also find it very inspiring to see and follow other peoples photos, style and philosophy of life. Favourite accounts include tessahop, loopy gibbens, growingwildthings, but there are so many more!
11. Please complete this sentence: Children should always…
… be free to play and dream and have lots of times playing outdoors!
130-150 Hackney Road
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