Indie brands form the fabric of truly innovative creativity. They are driven by passion and delivered with authenticity. None more so is this true than with clothing label Finley and Arlo. We caught up with owner, designer and maker Chantelle Grant and discovered the determination behind the brand.
Hey Chantelle. Is it right to think your clothing brand is inspired by your children or were there any additional influences in beginning the label?
You are right, my children are my inspiration. I am secondary school teacher by trade but would love to be able to stay at home with my boys and make children’s clothing. Also I wasn’t overly keen on boys clothing in the shops so decided to start making some for my little ones.
We love the designs. Are you the sole creative mind behind the products?
Thank you, that’s lovely to hear. I am one woman band as they say. My husband John is the one pushing me to try and follow my dreams of being able to work around looking good after our sons. I design, print and pack all tees myself. I also enjoy sewing so have also added some leggings to the range. I have some lovely organic fabrics and will be looking to expand the variety soon.
How do you go about creating new ideas. Do they pop in to your mind when sleeping or is it a more torturous process that so many creative experience?
I had an idea that I wanted to produce ‘personali-tees’ as we call them at home. T-shirts that describe a little one or how they maybe feeling. There are loads of tees with cartoon characters and slogans I just wanted to be able to make something slightly different. The most torturous part is finalising a design. I am a perfectionist so as you can imagine I fiddle until there are. It more possible outcome to find what I am finally happy with.
You use the word ‘fun’ in your online biog for the shop but do you have bigger plans for the brand or do you see a small, independent future for Finley and Arlo?
Well I personally think kids clothing should be comfortable and fun they are little after all and find fun in the smallest of things. I don’t know what the future holds right now. I would love to be able to make this my main career and become a recognised UK brand but that will take time.
For anyone, especially parents, how do you go about starting a small online business?
It is very hard. I have a small Etsy store and use social media to get sales. It can be slow but it’s lovely when you get an order, make it and get such positive feedback. Also for my eldest sons second birthday I have all the children a tee instead of a party bag which got our name around Coventry a bit.
Looking in on Coventry, where do you see it’s creative future heading?
There are some many potential avenues and with so many creative people across the city from all walks of life. I think the creative scene could go anywhere it wants to.
The rise in small indie business has grown not just locally but globally. Do you think this is an opportunity for more collaborations and partnerships to kick-start a stronger creative community?
I think what you guys are doing is a fantastic project. We’d be happy to work in collaboration with others to help them succeed and if the opportunity for us to grow internally was there that’d be awesome. I just love what I do, so I imagine other small businesses like mine have the same level of passion and drive. Bringing groups of people like this together can only be the beginning of something beautiful.
Finally, is Finley and Arlo the name of you children? We are sure it is
Spot on, it is our boys names and as they are slightly more unusual we though it would make us stand out from the crowd.