Indie Oxford Interview: Bunny & Bear Designs
Tell me about team Bunny & Bear Designs.
We are Bethanie and Rachel and together we are Bunny and Bear Designs an Oxford based childrenswear company.
We design in-house to create original, handmade clothes with love.
Our designs are bold, colourful and can be worn by any child (boy or girl) and passed along to the next generation in line (quality and hand-me-down ability is very important to us!)
What is the inspiration behind Bunny & Bear Designs?
Bethanie and I share a belief in supporting our kids to just be kids. To help them be who they are, we want clothes that offer them the freedom and choice for discovering and expressing their identity.
Longing to be more creative in our day to day lives and baffled by the frequency of gender stereotyping in kids clothes, we decided to combine our talents, good humour and dreamy ambitions to develop our own childrenswear brand that we (and our kids) can be proud of.
How important is the social purpose of the business?
Why should we have to explain to kids that it’s ok to like the blue dinosaur top or the rainbow unicorn top even though shops and magazines classify them by gender?
Children’s clothing shouldn’t pigeonhole kids, they should be able to choose and wear clothes that reflect their own individuality and interests – they shouldn’t be limited by choice, style or expectation.
By sewing imagination and adventure with our fun, colourful and universally appealing inclusive designs, we promote creativity and self expression for children and quite simply let kids be kids.
Tell me about the design process.
We like to include unusual animals on our designs and love a bit of research! Why have a cat when you can have a Venezuelan poodle moth?
Each design is an original, drawn up by the talented Bethanie and worked to fit each piece.
We create a fabric template and sew directly onto an organic t-shirt using the freestyle machine embroidery technique which means each item is unique and custom-sewn, encouraging the idea that it’s not about perfection but about sewing independence.
How has co-founding the business helped you both?
It’s been lovely to have a creative output over the last year and something to focus on other than our day jobs and home schooling!
We know we make a strong team – Rachel is patient and wise with an incredibly quick wit whilst Bethanie is a fanatical to-do lister who likes to get things done. So it’s only natural for us to combine our creative skills and experience.
What are your plans for 2021?
We’re busy working on our next collection for the summer “In The Dark”, featuring unique designs of things that like the dark including Bats, Tiger Moths, Armadillos and Owls.
We’re also in the process of expanding and diversifying our range, we have just introduced tote bags with our amazing designs, shortly to include cards, hoodies and we also hope to be able to offer our designs in adult sizes in the near future.
We are starting to fill up our events calendar too with outdoor markets and fairs – we’re very excited to be able to see our customers face to face and we’ll be at Harcourt Arboretum’s Spring Fair this weekend (24th April) if you want to pop along and say hello!
Finally, which indies have helped you through lockdown, and which are you looking forward to visiting again?!
It appears we’re all about the food…..
The epically delicious Barefoot Bakery and Happy Cakes have been amazing for birthday and thank you treats throughout the year.
The businesses in The Covered Market that have also gone over and above this last year. Bonner’s Fruit and Veg, iScream, Nothing and The Garden of Oxford. They’ve all got together to do cooperative delivery (always with a smile and a wave!) So, while getting our carrots and potatoes, we can get our gelato fix, tomato seeds and flowers for the garden and gifts from Nothing. They have been our lockdown heroes!
Where are we looking forward to returning to? Well our favourite weekly haunt the Pan-Asian restaurant Pan Pan of course.