Il Gufo is Italian for owl. Moreover it’s the name of a luxury children’s brand that started small and has now reached international heights. The Il Gufo family invited us into their world last month to unveil their SS19 catwalk collection and welcome us to their HQ and the town of Asolo where it all began. Here are five things we learnt from the Il Gufo family about starting up and being successful in the kids’ fashion industry.

Start small

Giovanna Miletti founded the company on a table tennis table in her conservatory. With three children in tow, sewing and creating things for her children and her friends’ children was a hobby that transformed into a business. Her creative side came alive at night after shopping was done, dinners were cooked and the kids were put to bed. It’s no wonder the company name Il Gufo (’the owl’) was named after her nocturnal working hours!

Know every department

Alessandra Chiavelli, Giovanna’s daughter, became interested in her mother’s work from a very young age and spent time helping her out in their conservatory turned workshop. After returning from university to manage the Il Gufo brand alongside her brother Guido, Alessandra spent time working in every department of the business, from the style and design studio, to the warehouse and the marketing office.

Be respectful

‘Children dressed as children’ is Il Gufo’s tagline, a notion that can easily get lost in the fashion industry for young people. Respect is at the heart of Il Gufo’s success. Whether we’re talking about the team you work with or the children and they’re making the clothing for, being respectful is crucial. Wandering through the design studio and departments of Il Gufo HQ, you see a team who love and respect their work.

Be inclusive

Our visit to Milan to the fashion show involved a post show dinner with a chance to sit and get to know Giovanna and her children, and how they run the business. From a family perspective, everyone plays a part with even the grandchildren joining us for dinner. The family are also surrounded by people who’ve been there supporting Il Gufo from the beginning. Being inclusive is a huge part of the brand.

Be sustainable

Are you eco enough? Fashion is being hit hard when it comes to sustainability. We almost envisage a future where if you’re wasting resources you will not survive as a brand. Il Gufo’s SS19 collection is all about underwater and is inspired by the message, “To know your planet is a step towards protecting it” from renowned explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Never forget your ethos

The success of Il Gufo lies in connecting everything back to their ethos that children are at the heart of the business and that they’re a fashion brand whose aim is to dress children as children.