Elizabeth Kelly of Nights by Wilder on nailing kids’ nightwear
Why did you decide to take the plunge and set up your own business?
After struggling to find anything for my daughter that wasn’t either garish or twee, I saw an opportunity and took the plunge. I had vintage shapes that I have collected over the years, so, with some help from friends working in the industry, it all happened very quickly – about 10 months from initial meeting to launch! I’m conscious of the huge landfill waste happening (especially with childrenswear), so wanted to make the collection durable as well as stylish, to encourage customers to pass on pieces once their child has outgrown them.
Was the prospect of working on your own scary at all?
I have been running my own PR agency since starting my family as I wanted to work around the kids, so making the transition to design wasn’t such a daunting process. It has always been my goal to run my own business. Of course it is nice to have some adult company to bounce ideas off of, so I try and make a trip into London to work with clients or friends as often as possible.
Do you see it as a positive that your work and personal life are interconnected through childrenswear?
Of course. If it wasn’t for the children I would never have been inspired to start Nights by Wilder. Children’s clothing is so much fun! I learn so much from the children – it’s great to have their perspective on things and watching how they wear and play in clothes has been very motivating.
What’s been the most challenging thing so far? And how have you managed the company while parenting such young kids?
The biggest challenge was putting my taste out to the wider world. While I have helped and advised other brands before, I have never had to do it for myself. Trusting my intuition and being bold has been a real learning curve.
I am really lucky to have great support from family who help with childcare. The more organised and disciplined I am, the more I can focus. Surprisingly, I can get so much done in two hours when I have to – I’m forever writing lists.
Where did you get the idea for the collection and where will you look for inspiration for future lines?
I do need to make more time to get out there and be inspired. It is so easy now to get lost on the Internet, but I always feel inspired after a holiday or a trip to a museum. Inspiration has come from all over. I am really drawn to interiors magazines (Cabana, World of Interiors) and love textiles and prints. I’m a big fan of vintage children’s artists such as Mabel Lucie Attwell – I just love the nostalgic innocence.
I am also off to Morocco (sans kids!) in March, where I hope to get some ideas for the next collection…