Feature Photo from Chic Fete’s Launch Photoshoot. Photographer: Confetti and Rose
Over the summer I had the pleasure of having Sophie be a model in Chic Fete’s Launch Photoshoot. For one of the photoshoots the theme was black and white and the little ladies got to each wear one of Islands + Castles t-shirts. I fell in love with their organic t-shirts and original designs and was so excited to be introduced to another great local mompreneur.
Michelle left her full-time job in corporate sales when she had her son Lucas. It was a hard decision for her to make, but is really thankful that she made the decision to be a full-time mom, “it really is the best job in the world!” said Michelle.
Islands + Castles was launched when Michelle’s son Lucas started to have really bad eczema episodes. Michelle said, “I found that using eczema preventive measures (special lotions, bath soaps, laundry detergent) and organic clothing, t-shirts specifically, since the eczema would flare up on the back of his neck and sides, really helped in control his breakouts.”
At this time it was really hard for Michelle to find organic tees that had fun designs and reflected her style. “I had remembered a screen printing class I took and how fun it was to have your own designs materialize. I printed a few designs on 100% organic cotton tees for Lucas and saw a need in the market for more organic shirt options. That’s when Islands + Castles really came to life,” explained Michelle.
Creating a business name can sometimes be one of the hardest steps of launching your own business and I just love how Michelle came up with Islands + Castles. “I wanted the business name to reflect a part of us without being too obvious. The name is derived from our combined nationality, ‘Islands’ representing my Filipino heritage and ‘Castles’ representing my husband’s Scottish heritage.”
It is really fun for Michelle to be able to be home with Lucas in the days and still explore her creative side through Islands + Castles. Not only was she being creative but she was also able to start providing for her family in a way that best suited her personality and hobbies. “Being able to have a creative outlet while being able to stay at home with my little is what I found most appealing when I started islands + castles.”
Each step along the way Michelle dove in and took on the challenge to teach herself how to get it down. Some tasks were harder than others, for Michelle setting up social media and her website was really a challenge, but by being consistent and persevering Michelle has been able to figure it out and make it work for her. If you ask me I think she is doing an amazing job with her Instagram account! She admits to making mistakes along the way but that is what makes it so awesome, her honestly and patience to work at it until she got it to a desirable state.
Michelle has had an incredible mentor along the way which is something I would highly recommend to someone wanting to start a business of their own. Connecting with another local maker and running ideas past each other can be the best thing for your business. Michelle even said to me, “One of the best things in starting this business is connecting with other shops, there are so many wonderful people I’ve encountered. One specific person that I would consider my mentor would be Jessica of Mint and Birch. I met Jessica at a pop up shop and she has helped me in so many ways. She’s given me tips and been there for all my silly questions. Not only is she a great example of a successful small business owner, she is also become someone I consider a good friend.”
It is an absolute pleasure to Michelle when she sees other children wearing Islands + Castles, she loves it when her customers share photos with her or stories about how much they love their new clothing. Going into the New Year Michelle hopes to participate in more craft fairs, markets and hopefully work towards being carried in some local boutiques.
Michelle left me with one of her favorite quotes, “Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.”
We are so pleased to also offer our readers a special coupon code to our readers — Use code CWJW20 for 20% your purchase of Islands + Castles clothing.
Photos supplied by Islands + Castles.