Monthly Parenting Magazine

Interview: Amy James and Kate Mawdsley, founders o...

Interview: Amy James and Kate Mawdsley, founders of Finnsøn


Absolutely Mama meets mamas and founders of stylish and eco-friendly changing bag brand Finnsøn Amy James (above left) and Kate Mawdsley (above right)…

Where did you get the idea for Finnsøn and what made you want to launch the brand? 

We worked for many years as retail fashion buyers for women’s accessories, and came up with the idea when we were both on maternity leave with our sons.  We couldn’t find a fully sustainable changing bag option that matched our personal style, while also being functional for our needs as busy parents on the go.  So, using our product development backgrounds and personal experience as new mums, we set about designing a changing bag and accessories line that ticked all these boxes…  We wanted to create a stylish range for both mums and dads which was durable, practical and importantly, made from 100% recycled materials.  We spent over a year thoroughly researching and testing the products to ensure they would help make life easier when changing on the go or travelling with kids!  

Our change in career path was also greatly influenced by the need to have more flexibility around our young family.  We have learnt to adapt, developing lots of great new skills along the way, and have now built a brand that we are proud of. 

Finn and Larson, Kate and Amy’s firstborn sons and inspiration behind the brand’s name

Tell us how you got your name? 

We went through many different options but finally settled on Finnsøn which is the merging of our sons’ names. Finn is Amy’s son and Larson is Kate’s little boy, which felt right as they were the reason we started the business! 

How is the collection designed and made? 

We both come up with the concept, design idea and source the recycled materials for each of our products, and then work with our designer to do the technical drawings for the factory.  To perfect each style, we may have two to three prototypes and then start the product testing phase, working closely with our technical manager, before we finally bring a style to market. The whole process takes about 9 months before the product finally launches. 

We currently only work with two factories to produce our bags. They are both SEDEX approved and work to the strictest environmental and ethical standards. We work on a circular approach, so any samples that we no longer need from this stage are sent to our charity partner, Little Village.  Little Village does an amazing job supporting families of babies and children under five who are living in poverty across London.   

How important is sustainability to the brand? 

Sustainability is at the heart of what we do, and has been the ethos of our brand from the very start. Having witnessed the fast fashion industry up close, we really didn’t want to bring a brand to market that wasn’t offering sustainable products. We believe it’s incredibly important to do everything we can to protect the planet for our children and future generations – this means embracing slow fashion with a high-quality, durable product line, using recycled materials and packaging, and exploring a more circular approach. With this in mind we work to three key pillars with our Finnsøn Product Lifecycle: 

  • The Design Process: Designed thoughtfully, all our styles are seasonless, use recycled materials and are designed to last.  We use 100% recycled rPET for the outer fabric and linings of our bags, with the trims being the only element which is not currently made from recycled materials. 
  • Responsible Production: Our supply chain supports responsible and ethical production.  We use recycled packaging and minimise waste with small production runs in SEDEX approved ethical factories.    
  • Return to Reuse: We help give Finnsøn products a second lease of life with a ‘return and reuse’ facility through our partnered charities. Our customers can return their bag after they have finished using it and we donate it on their behalf to Little Village, which is like a food bank for babies but for equipment and clothing. We also donate our product samples to them too.
Finnsøn Selby Leopard
The Selby Tote in Leopard

Do you have a favourite bag from the collection that you use on repeat?

Where do we start! Can we have a few each?! 

Amy: Mine would be the FRIDA Eco Stroller Organiser as I use it with and without Maggie (my 11-month-old) and Finn (my 3-year-old). I alternate between all the colours we stock depending on my outfit choice.  I am known to always have one attached to my stroller, so I can have all my essentials close to hand when doing short trips to the park and the mad dash to and from nursery! 

Kate: Definitely the SELBY Eco Tote!  I have used this for 2 and half years now – from when my daughter Ottie was born – it has seen me through the newborn and toddler phase.  It looks smart and has been great for travelling too – I love that it doesn’t look like a traditional baby bag! 

What’s a typical day like for you running the business and juggling family life? 

Amy: It’s usually very manic and consists of having to put on various hats: logistics manager, content creator, model, etc.  Maggie still wakes up a lot during the night, so my day is usually sponsored by coffee (and sugar!). Nursery drop-offs can be followed by an early morning call, either with Kate or the many wonderful freelancers we work with. The day ends with nursery pick-up, putting the kids to bed and then back to the laptop… 

Kate: After the nursery and school drop-offs, I normally try to start the day with a very quick workout as it sets me up for the busy day ahead. The day is usually very varied, from being at a photoshoot one minute, to posting samples to potential wholesale partners the next. We are starting to grow our team now and work with some lovely people who are helping us manage our work commitments, so we can still be present for our little ones in the evening. It’s always a juggle running a business with very small children in tow! Often Ottie and Maggie (Amy’s baby) join us on shoots or sometimes in the office too! They definitely come along for the ride.

Finnson Frida Stroller Organiser Black
The Frida Stroller Organiser in Black

If we took a peek inside your Finnsøn bags, what would we find? 

Snack, snacks and more snacks! Teething gel, purse, lipstick, AirPods, face spray (it’s a must-have!), wet wipes, sunglasses. The list goes on…nappies, clothes and a Finnsøn KARI travel change mat!

And finally, what are your favourite family-friendly hangouts for days out with your little ones?  

Amy: I love a weekend day where both my husband and I aren’t working, and we take Finn to the local park to practise riding his bike or scooter. Followed by a roast dinner (cooked by me!), it’s the simplest of days but great bonding time as a family.

Kate: The park (there are so many beautiful parks in London) or anything outside with a bit of fresh air to tire them both out!  I love going to friends’ BBQs where the kids can run around and play with their little friends. 

With thanks to Amy and Kate, founders of