Absolutely Mama takes a tour of Scandinavian children’s clothing ambassador Gabrielle Spang of Scandi Mini’s minimal home
Words Helen Baron
1.When did you realise you had a passion for design?
For as long as I can remember, l have always loved design. I collected items from the brands I loved and followed fashion from as early an age as 10. This passion expanded to children’s design when I had my son seven years ago, and it’s still growing. Design party pieces are my current obsession.
2.Why is Scandinavian children’s clothing so popular?
In my mind, the true essence of Scandinavian design is minimalism. It brings calm to spaces that can otherwise be busy. I think that’s why it just works. Scandinavian children’s fashion is also unisex and sustainable, which a few years ago was groundbreaking.
3.How long have you been in the business?
I launched Scandi Mini about five years ago. We’re currently planning our fifth birthday event in May which is very exciting.
4.What brands did you champion in the early days?
Mini Rodini, BangBang Copenhagen and LuckyBoySunday were part of our first set of 10 brands (we now stock more than 150) and they were popular from the start. We were one of the first websites to sell them. That set us apart.
5. Do you think Scandi Mini has had a part to play in the increasing popularity of the Scandinavian kids brands in the UK?
I’d like to think we’ve contributed to this popularity. We’ve certainly raised several Scandinavian brands’ profiles in the UK: BangBang Copenhagen is one example. They are now sold in a lot of other places as well.
6. What are your key buys for this season?
This season is divided into two trends: Plant and Unicorn prints. As such, I’d say Mini Rodini, Tiny Cottons and Les Petit Vagabonds all have very strong collections that follow these trends in one way or another.
7. How do you approach sourcing suppliers?
Firstly, I try and visualise what I want next season to be about. I read heaps of interior magazines, look at Etsy, Instagram and various design blogs and read Scandinavian magazines. I then contact the suppliers that fit my aesthetic and take it from there.
8.How did you get to where you are now?
A lot of love, sweat and tears have gone into setting up and running Scandi Mini. From the very start I treated it as a full-time job, a proper business if you like. I have never shied away from taking risks, whether buying large quantities or finding new brands.
It’s been hard because I have always had limited resources financially, being completely self-funded; and I was on my own for the first couple of years at the same time as I had my daughter. Luckily, I now have a great little team working with me.
9.What has been the highlight of running the business so far?
The highlight for me is always when customers say that they love the website and what we sell and fortunately that happens often, especially through Instagram. That’s why I do this: to bring beautiful, unique design items to customers that they wouldn’t otherwise find.
10.What do you hope to achieve in the next 5 years?
I’d love to focus more on the things I truly enjoy doing (like buying) and less on the things I am not the best suited to (accounting is one), which means expanding the team further. My main driving force has always been to inspire people.