BIZ MAMA: Ayesha Mirza
Ayesha Mirza has completely inspired us. Despite juggling a children’s fashion business, a young family and all that these entail, this glamorous mummy of four maintains a quiet calmness and positivity in all that she does. It’s captivating and we want to know just how does she do it…
When and how did your business come about?
Looking back, I ‘d always had a fascination for design and all things miniature. It was the detail that intrigued me. I was born and brought up in London, and from the earliest memories I have of my childhood – the fairytales my mother read to me, the books I grew up reading, the diversity that surrounded me – all these things shaped my perception of British culture. This is what I wanted to pass onto my children. It began after having twins and realising that even though the market for childrenswear was huge and encompassed all kinds of styles, that what I wanted for my own children was not a big part of it. So I started by designing clothes for them that encouraged play.
Only when I began to be approached by others who wanted my designs for their children did I consider turning it into something bigger. So there it began… Little Wardrobe London. I wanted to create a label that celebrated Britain’s heritage, eccentricity and individuality, but equally as importantto me was that we manufactured here. I had to know who was making the clothes, that they had good working conditions and were paid a fair wage.
All fabrics we use are sourced in the UK or Europe. The brand name was inspired by C.S Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. I loved the idea of entering the wardrobe and finding yourself transported to another world.
Looking back, what if anything, would you do differently?
I’ve learnt and grown so much in confidence over the past few years that I don’t necessarily think I would do anything differently. It has been tough, REALLY tough. There were times I wanted to give up and run away, self-doubt consumed me. I wished I’d known more, but often in life there are things that you cannot know until you live them. Don’t wait for the right time, say yes, even if you think you are not ready because starting is the most important step. You can dream about it, but until you actually DO it, that’s all it will ever be, a dream. There will be naysayers and you will often hear the word “no” , but you have to learn to side step the no’s. If you have an idea, a passion, do small things each day that bring you closer to where you want to be.
When did you first start to feel a sense of achievement from all your efforts?
Seeing my first commercial collection produced en masse in the UK! It was my dream to be manufactured here, and there aren’t many brands that are.
How do you cope with being a mother to young children, wife and running your own business whilst staying so composed?
I think Alain De Botton summed it up perfectly when he said, “There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life”.
What do you love about the areas you live and work in?
I work from home, so I have to be disciplined. Three of the children are now at school, but there is a new addition, Arlo who is now 5 months old. I want to be the best mother I can be to all my children, which means giving them time. Your phone is your best tool but your worst enemy. You have to just put it down and not have it on you the whole time. Also leave it downstairs at bedtime!
Finally, how do you see your business developing for the future?
I look forward to growing the brand globally and I would love to have my own store in the centre of London, a place that not only sells beautiful clothes but is also a magical place for children to come. Watch this space!
Little Wardrobe London is featured in this issue’s fashion pages.