Interview with Ted & Kip founder chats all things bright and quirky design

Antonia writes; When I saw that Ted & Kip have a kickstarter campaign I had to get her on the blog to talk all about her incredible designs. Ted & Kip is run by British illustrator, Anna Carroll-Smith . Anna designs all manner of funky enamel pins, greetings cards, wallpaper, kids clothing, personalised wall prints and more in the making. She’s so inspired that there’s constantly a new design out that I’m itching to get my hands on. I have a stack of her Russian doll cards that I use for all my thank you/ birthday card needs. I love that her designs are bold, creative and fun. I’ve never seen anything like it.
My son’s room is filled with Ted & Kip eco-conscious wallpaper …with it’s cheeky hiding bears, cute sloths and naked tigers (see below)
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Antonia’s son’s room with Ted & Kip wallpaper
My daughter’s room has a  Ted & Kip print of a bunny rabbit dressed as a banana. You get the idea. These are designs for adults and children and I love that Anna pushes the boundaries in terms of comedy and design. Anna is a real talent and producing something genuinely unique and inspiring. The Ted & Kip kickstarter is a collaboration with the popular kids apparel brand Mint Cake Club. They have just released a collection of bright and quirky (and gender neutral!) kids legging and dungarees. We chat all things Ted & Kip and how this mama turned herself from lawyer to independent illustrator.
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Hi Anna! Let’s jump right in, what’s the name of your company and the reason behind the name?

Hi Antonia, aka Mumvoice! My business is called Ted & Kip, which are the names of both my awesome mini beasts! (aged 3 and 4 yrs). I wanted something that I had a connection with and that would make me smile and work hard.

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Examples of some of the Ted & Kip products you can buy online

I love that. What better name for your company, than after your kids. Now, what’s this kickstarter all about and who’s it in collaboration with?

Well now, let me tell you all about it! It’s a collaboration between myself and the super awesome Mint Cake Club, which is a wonderful business owned by a fellow working-mum called Aimee. We’re making a range of baby and kid’s clothes – I’m providing the bright and quirky illustrations and she’ll be turning the printed fabrics into the clothes. We have three designs being turned into headbands, dribble bibs, leggings and skinny dungarees!

All the fabrics are printed by an independent UK company and are made of super soft 95% Cotton and 5% Elastane and the dribble bibs are backed with organic bamboo towelling.
All garments are cloth nappy friendly and available in sizes newborn – 4/5 yrs.

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How did the kickstarter come about?

I honestly cannot remember if she found me or I found her but we somehow started following each other on Instagram. As soon as I saw the amazing and beautiful clothes she was making I knew a collaboration would be awesome. Funnily enough I was just about to message her to suggest just that when I got a message from her saying exactly the same thing! And since then we have been plotting all the fab things you can now find in our kickstarter campaign.

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What is a kickstarter and how does it work? 

Kickstarter is such an amazing platform, it gives you the ability to create a campaign like ours, which is of totally new products which can show people what you can do.

A campaign involves setting up a series of ‘rewards’, which are products that you wish to produce, in our case kids clothes. There are various rewards which are different prices. People can then ‘pledge’ an amount of money to receive one of those rewards when the campaign ends. We have a set goal amount of money that we want to raise to be able to put our products into production and if that is reached (with enough pledges) then people pay the amount they have pledged and then receive the product.

If the campaign fails to reach the goal amount it is classed as not funded and no one pays anything.

It is a wonderful tool as a business owner who wants to try something new as it gives us the ability to raise funds without the massive risk of paying out for materials and making products that there is no market for.

It is also great for the people pledging as they get to support a small business and also get brand spanking new products that cannot be found anywhere and will also pay less for them than they would once they are made and for sale through our shops and wholesalers. It’s a win win!

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That sounds amazing. I have just checked it out and it looks really straight forward. How exciting. Have you designed kids clothes before and what do you think about it? 

I haven’t specifically designed for kids clothes before but I have created patterns for things like wallpaper and packaging. I cannot believe it has taken me this long to consider kids clothing as my bright and slightly strange creatures are perfect for kids!

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Ted & Kip X Mint Cake Club leggings via their kickstarter campaign

What’s the passion behind your business? 

This will sound mega cheesy but my passion is creativity and the need to make things (and keeping myself sane as a wife and mother!).

I have two small children and that is a massive commitment and something that I have to be able to switch off from. I basically needed something to made me feel like a person, something ‘other’ and the business grew from there.

 

That doesn’t sound cheesy in the slightest. It sounds really honest, so thank you. How do you stay so focused when you’re your own boss?

I stay focused as I am so invested in making the business successful and truly believing that if I work hard and keep going I can achieve everything I want (and by having frequent chocolate-filled meltdowns!).

I have those too! What else does Ted & Kip produce?

Also sorts of things! My illustrations translate well into a variety of products, such as enamel lapel pins, embroidered patches, we have lots of greetings cards, personalised wall prints (perfect for kids bedrooms and nurseries), ceramic mugs and are just about to launch a jewellery range!

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Some Ted & Kip greeting cards, pins, badges and prints

What’s your most popular product?

By far our best sellers are our enamel pins, people love them and we have quite a few customers who have our entire range! I even know of one lady who came back and bought duplicates of every pin as she wanted to wear them on her coats in the winter but didn’t want to take them off the wall display she had put the others on!

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Ted & Kip enamel pins. Sleeping sloth dinosaurs.

What’s been your most favourite animal to draw and why? 

My Day of The Dead unicorn is my favourite! She just has such attitude and sums up the Ted & Kip style that not all stereotypical pink girlie things have to be super cute!

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I’m in love with your day of the dead unicorn. So, did you train in art and design?

Not at all! I actually trained as a solicitor but once I was fully qualified and practising in Family Law I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do and I needed to make a change.

After I had my children it seemed the perfect time to jump into something new and show my kids as they grew up that it is important to be happy and do something you find fulfilling.

That’s amazing! Did you teach yourself?

I have always drawn and been creative but it wasn’t until my husband kindly bought me an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil (once I decided I wanted to make a career out of it) that I started to push myself and create the illustrations I do now. To practice I just try to make sure I draw everyday, even if I don’t feel like it (or I hate the end result!) and you can see the progress I’ve made in my illustrations over the two years I’ve been doing them digitally is amazing! I look back and cannot believe how far I’ve come creatively.

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Ted & Kip enamel pins

What inspired you to start drawing your crazy, beautiful characters?

The types of illustrators and creatives I’m drawn to (no pun intended!) are those that draw slightly weird and colour characters, people such as Donna Wilson and Ashley Percival. Initially I think they definitely influenced me. Now it’s a constantly developing thing, I’ll see a cartoon with my children or draw with them and it’ll inspire me to push myself and draw something new.

In fact doing things such as watching telly and reading storybooks are my biggest source of inspiration now, we’ll read about space and I’ll want to draw a sloth in a spacesuit or an alien bear!

Who doesn’t love an alien bear! Where do you see your Ted and Kip business going?

I definitely think children and parents are my people! Kids love the colour and parents love the quirkiness and I would love to keep developing products that are geared toward them. That’s not to say you have to be a parent or a kids to buy my stuff but I would love to create more products geared towards mums and children who don’t necessarily want cutesie things.
How do you juggle being a mother and running your own business? Do you go mad on a regular basis?

Ha ha yes I do! It is a constant struggle, especially as up until very recently my youngest was a home with me full time (and even now both of them only do two days a week at nursery). I spend a lot of evenings and weekends rushing about like a nutter, catching up on emails or packing orders. But the fact I get to be at home with my tinkers makes me so lucky and I love being busy!
What do your kids think of your job? 

They think it is cool that I draw but I bet if you asked them they would hate the fact that i’m constantly working on my phone (I’m trying to do that less, it’s a constant battle!). I love the fact that they instantly recognise my work when they see it.
Do you think your children benefit in any way from seeing you follow a passion of yours?

Definitely! I want my son and daughter to see that women and mothers can do anything and that it’s important to have a strong work ethic, whatever you’re doing.

I am a firm believer in showing children that following your passion in a hard-working and productive way is the key to a happy life, whether that passion is being a illustrator or a physicist!

I aim to be a strong and powerful female role model for my daughter to aspire to. Equally importantly I want my son to see strong female figures as the types of women to respect and surround himself with.

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Where do you work from/ what does your creative space look like?

The whole house is my creative space right now! We are currently in the process of building an extension as I need a dedicated workspace but until then I have stock hidden everywhere and have taken over the utility room as my packing area. Luckily I can sit and do all my drawing on my iPad on the sofa while watching the TV (and eating biscuits!). I make sure I have inspiration from other creatives everywhere and intend to make my workspace bright and colourful once it’s ready. I cannot wait!

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If you could write one thing on a billboard for working mothers what would it be?

Give yourself a break, you are awesome (even when you feel shit!). This too shall pass.

If you could buy a new mum something for £20 or less what would it be?

The book ‘The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan’ by Alison Scott-Wright. It was given to me when I was tearing my hair out with my firstborn. We would drive around at 3am for hours to get her to sleep and I was losing my mind. I realise sleep training isn’t for everyone but this book was a lifesaver for me.
Is there one animal that you’ve drawn that most symbolises you?
Again, I would have to say my Day of Unicorn, although I am definitely not as much of a badass!

 

What do you hope to produce in the future? 

I want to make so many things, more jewellery and kids apparel are definitely in the pipeline but it constantly changes as I think of new things or are introduced to new creative people.

 

I’d definitely love to do more collaborations, I’ve actually just released a mama and baby enamel pin in collaboration with Drawings By Nicole (@drawingsbynicole on Instagram). It’s for alternative mum and features a heavily tattooed bear holding her cub!

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I really enjoyed that interview. Because Mumvoice is all about sharing and supporting other mums, here’s all the links you could ever want so that you can check out Anna’s company Ted & Kip. She really is inspiring and her instagram account is bound to brighten your day.

LINKS:

 

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1670471929/quirky-illustrated-gender-neutral-baby-and-kids-cl?ref=discovery&term=Kids%20cloth

 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/tedandkip

 

Etsy: www.tedandkip.etsy.com

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tedandkip

 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/tedandkip

 

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/tedandkip

 

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