Socking it to them: It’s a fact that Australia harbours many creative and inspiring new businesses making their mark alongside the mega brands – and it’s no more evident than in the baby and kids market. I kick off my regular Local Label Love feature posts with the bold and bright Hello Toes.
Who: Daniela from Hello Toes, socks and tights for little feet
Where are you based? Seddon, in the western suburbs of Melbourne
When was Hello Toes established? Research and development began in 2011, with the first range sold to retailers in 2012 and delivered into store in February 2013, one week before I delivered my second child.
Why did you decide to create a children’s sock label? When my son Otis was born I struggled to find socks that weren’t very gender stereotyped, in either blue or pink with an apparently mandatory car or fairy on them. I could find plenty of great clothing for him to have fun in, but socks seemed to be stuck in the ‘basic’ category. I thought socks could be one of the most colourful and interesting item kids could wear, especially since most of the time they tend to be hidden in shoes and under pants – so they are like a little fun secret or surprise. My background is also in marketing, not design, so I thought socks would be a way I could enter into the market whilst leaving all the clothing to the experts!
Hello Toes has all colours and sock styles covered, just perfect for littlies. Where do you find your inspiration? I find inspiration pretty much everywhere and always have my eyes peeled for interesting colours put together in surprising ways. Children’s book illustrations, paint swatches, Duplo blocks, my collection of Strawberry Shortcake dolls and magazines from the ’80s, my favourite contemporary artists, great stationery…so many ideas!
There’s a lot of market competition, how do you keep ahead of the pack? I try to keep my vision and product unique and stay true to what I like versus what I think ‘the consumer’ will want, which is a luxury many of my large competitors would not be able to afford. Most of the time the market likes the same things anyway which is always encouraging! I like the quote: “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms”; it reminds me to just do my own thing without comparing myself to others and with that I will (hopefully!) succeed.
Is it possible to have a work/life balance? It’s a constant juggle and not possible without the help of your village of support. As my children are still young I always put life first so sometimes work suffers, but I would always prefer this than the other way around.
Best piece of business advice you’ve received? If you don’t love it, don’t do it.
Savvy businesses have Instagram accounts these days. How has Instagram changed the way you advertise your brand? It has introduced Hello Toes to an entire community that I don’t think you can reach via traditional advertising. It’s like a friend telling their friends about something they like and therefore is a very trusted, supportive and encouraging network. Even with my background in marketing I do not use Instagram as a heavy brand push as I’d much rather just show a glimpse or literal snap shot into my little world and hope people enjoy it. I love seeing behind the scenes, which is something you just do not get from an advertisement.
Hello Toes has made socks fashionable, not just functional – so what’s your favourite pair and how do you like to see them worn? That’s such a great compliment, my dream come true! Choosing a favourite pair would be like choosing a favourite child…but I do have one pair that I seem to put my daughter Pearl in constantly and just seems to go with everything, which is the Legs 11 knee high. It looks fantastic pulled up high with a bit of juicy baby knee, but also is super practical under pants as they keep legs extra warm and can’t get pulled off easily.
Find Hello Toes on the web
Hello Toes stockists
Hello Toes on Instagram