Our Stories: Emma-Jane Adam & Catriona Pharo

Written by Sophie Bevin.

Emma and CatSmalls is taking the UK children’s wear market by storm. The company is the brain child of Kiwis Emma-Jane Adam and Cat Pharo, who saw a gap in the market to create stylish children’s clothing that stands up to the harsh UK winter. The solution was something so familiar to Kiwis: merino wool. Emma and Cat have poured their passion and effort into creating beautifully designed pieces made from the highest-quality materials. The result is an award-winning brand of children’s wear that is both functional and fashionable...

Smalls has gone from strength to strength, and this year has been listed in Selfridges, one of the UK’s most prestigious retailers. In addition, the business has won a host of awards in 2015 including “Best Product” at the Little London Awards, the Smallish Design Award for best Eco fashion and Best Activewear Brand at the Junior Design Awards.

The business has been a great way for Cat and Emma to achieve business independence and work-life “balance”, though it often doesn’t feel balanced! Both have lived in the UK since the late 90s and now have young families. They craved a lifestyle that allowed them to be with their families while also developing their business interests. Emma and Cat’s successful careers in design and marketing before starting Smalls offered the perfect blend of skill sets for their joint venture.

Embarking on the journey of building a business has been both a learning curve and a lot of fun for the Kiwi pair. Their advice to those starting businesses in the UK is to do your homework and network well. New Zealanders and NZ networks in the UK are only too willing to support Kiwi entrepreneurs. While they work on cracking the world of retail, the pair still approach their business with a sense of humour. They are able to laugh about the time they carried a giant model sheep up the stairs of Selfridges in rush hour, or about the time some over-zealous typing led to some hilarious typos! It’s this approach, their hard-working yet grounded attitude, that has made their business a success and will continue to ensure it flourishes in the future as they embark on European and global markets.

What's the Goss?