This week, we interviewed the wonderful Amaia Arrieta, founder of Amaia Kids. Amaia lives in Chelsea with her Parisian husband and three children, two daughters 9 and 3 years, and son, 10 years old.
We’re big fans of Amaia Kids. Tell us what inspired you to set up the company?
When I was pregnant with my first baby 10 years ago, there was not much choice apart from the very top-end or the very cheap and high street brands. I had just quit banking and I was looking for a more suitable workload in order to have time for my baby.
In my native Spain, it is very important to dress up the kids. We spend lots of time and money finding every piece of an outfit, to make sure everything matches, from head to toe, and also very often, that all the siblings match, which can prove to be a bit of a challenge.
Amaia was born to fit into this middle price range market with top-end quality and style.
How do you juggle such a successful business with family life?
The first years were more difficult because the kids were very small and needy and I was a start-up, so I had to do everything on my own. Little by little business got better so I could afford to hire very loyal and competent people for the store. My partner also came on board.
What’s your top tip for any other budding mumpreneurs out there looking to set up their own business?
If you are passionate about an idea, then go for it, but you really and truly need to believe in it, because when hard times come, and they regularly do, you need to keep going. It’s not a walk in the park but it’s so worth it!
Amaia Kids has gone from strength to strength, opening its first store in Fulham in 2004. We love the new store in Marylebone. How does it feel being top honcho of such an amazing company, and what’s in the pipeline for the brand?
I still get such a high every time I see an Amaia bag on the street or a little one wearing one of our pieces. My husband always says that even 8 years later I still jump every single time!
We would love to consolidate our presence in Marylebone and become a regular destination for the locals. We are also trying to improve our online service by being more proactive in keeping our customers informed, posting new arrivals, widening our offer, etc.
You’re originally from Spain – how does family life and growing up in Spain compare with London?
It is very very different, Spain is very traditional and very family and friends orientated. I come from a small city, so for me every memory is being surrounded by friends and family. Life is more spontaneous, you just show up and you are sure to meet up with someone. Here everything has to be previously agreed, organised and booked and don’t even start me on schools, because I feel very lost as well as stressed about it. In Spain everything is much simpler and easier. You go to the school your parents choose, which is normally next door, and you stay until you go to university and everyone is happy.
What’s your favourite family recipe?
Spanish omelette, always a winner with adults as well as the kids!
What are your other favourite clothing brands? Do your kids wear mostly Amaia Kids clothes?
My kids mostly wear Amaia, but I like Ralph Lauren polos for my son who is 10, and a few other Spanish brands that I buy when I go to Madrid or to San Sebastian to visit my family or small French unknown brands that I get when I go to Paris.
If you weren’t head of Amaia Kids, and could have any job in the world, what would it be ?
Amancio Ortega, Zara’s founder.
What’s the one baby product you cannot live without?
Nenuco. It’s a Spanish eau de toilette for kids that I used when I was a baby and that I still use for my kids.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Cheerful, very enthusiastic, hard working and crazy mum!