Seven Local Kids Design Brands We Can’t Get Enough Of!
Whether you have kids of your own, or just occasionally buy gifts for other little people in your life, it’s always handy to be across the latest and greatest brands for kids.
From personalised art prints to Melbourne-made furniture, there are so many fantastic options currently on offer. These seven brands are just a handful of our local favourites!
In a market saturated by clutter, Nikki Davis and Ashleigh Pyke saw an opportunity to enter the children’s interiors space with a more sophisticated and considered design approach.
Their label, jnr.life launched in 2018 with high quality quilted play mats, but their latest venture is jnr.play – a collection of soft play-shapes made in Melbourne for both indoor and outdoor fun.
‘We create useful play essentials for junior life (right from birth) that nurture the imagination and encourage play without forsaking a stylish sensibility suited to grown-up environments,’ says Ashleigh.
These are the kind of kids toys you’ll proudly keep on display in the home, and can even double as furniture.
‘We design for tots but appeal to a contemporary aesthetic with uncompromising detail and durable, premium textiles,’ says Nikki.
Doo Wop Kids
Sydney-based label Doo Wop Kids are bringing personality to gender-neutral kids fashion with their printed clothing, backpacks, hip packs, lunch bags, and handbags.
‘Doo Wop Kids create products that allow children to express themselves through bright colours, fun prints and loud patterns – without any rules,’ says Wendy Zakaria, who founded the label in 2015.
‘As a brand, we align ourselves to further the freedom of individuality and creativity within our children.’
With prints ranging from ‘70s inspired florals, to cheeseburgers, ramen, and world maps, Doo Wop Kids’ pieces are sure to make you smile. Items are made in both Australia and Indonesia.
Make Me Iconic
After 10 years living in Europe, Natasha Skunca returned to Melbourne and realised the gap in the market for stylish souvenirs depicting local icons.
‘The city has so much to offer that is unique, stylish, and contemporary and I wanted something in our home that brought those elements to life,’ says Natasha.
A decade later, her label Make Me Iconic is still going strong, and has evolved from tea towels, cushions and artwork to also offer beautiful, wooden toys. Amongst their best sellers are remakes of the Australia Post street mailboxes and Melbourne’s famous yellow and green trams.
‘Our wooden toys also simply don’t go out of style, and tend to be more timeless… [They] keep kids busy and they are actually doing some serious learning right before your eyes,’ says Natasha.
There’s also non-Melbourne specific souvenirs for those based elsewhere in the country – such as glass ornaments, wooden versions of Arnotts biscuits, and sequinned accessories.
V. Happy Co
V. Happy Co creates playfully designed art prints and more, to inspire both big and little folk.
Founded by designer Vanessa Perilli in 2019, PR expert and brand strategist Esther Navarro-Orejon joined the business in 2020.
Among their most popular products are the Alphapics prints – a unique illustrated alphabet to encourage language awareness, while also just looking great in any kids’ room! V. Happy Co also creates personalised art prints of kids’ names – the perfect gift for new parents. All products are proudly made in Australia.
V. Happy Co were the masterminds behind the now-postponed Happy House event… so stay tuned to their socials for the rescheduled date, as well as new products coming soon!
We’re big fans of Mustard Made – makers of colourful lockers for kids bedrooms, playrooms and adult spaces alike!
Lockers are available in a range of sizes to serve as versatile storage solutions. The Twinny for example makes for an ideal wardrobe, The Lowdown can be a TV console, and The Shorty is a bedside table alternative. The only problem is choosing a favourite colour!
‘Our lockers are designed to be simple, beautiful, and above all, super versatile, no matter how big or small you are,’ says Becca Stern, who co-founded Mustard Made with her sister Jess Stern in 2018.
‘It’s all in the little details, from the matching keyring to the flexibility of the shelves. We really want our lockers to last so they can grow with you as your clothes get bigger.’
‘Thoughtful’ and ‘understated’ are not words commonly used to describe children’s furniture, but not all children’s furniture is created by Plyroom!
Among this label’s wider furniture collection are several pieces specifically designed to grow with children, and last a lifetime.
‘Children’s spaces are often cluttered and busy. Our pieces sit lightly in the space and create a natural canvas for calm,’ says Plyroom director and founder Elise Heslop.
‘As families grow and needs change, our pieces can adjust and adapt to growing children and spaces as life changes. The Ava Lifestages Cot (pictured), for example, is also a desk, junior bed, and two-tier cot.’
Plyroom products are made in Australia and Italy.
Sage x Clare
A leap of faith saw Melbourne based designer Phoebe Bell found Sage x Clare in 2013, and she hasn’t looked back since!
The homewares, apparel and accessories label expanded to include a baby and kids range in 2017, offering a vibrant range of bed linen, cushions, wall hangings, blankets and muslin wraps.
‘Creating handcrafted pieces full of charm, colour, pattern and texture is the heartbeat of this brand,’ says Phoebe.
Sage x Clare’s soulful and textural wares are designed in Melbourne and made in India. ‘Each piece has such detail that it’s a joy to be surrounded by them,’ says Phoebe. ‘To hold these pieces in your hands and know that someone has learnt a time-honoured craft to create them is the most special feeling of all.’