When we opened Olive Loves Alfie in 2006 our underlying belief was that children are much more individual than big retailers and manufacturing giants would have us believe. Rejecting the traditional blue and pink gender-styled landscape of children’s retail and design was a bold move but 5 years on it has become clear that our anarchic spirit captured the zeitgeist. It makes us happy and proud to be part of a movement that questions the way that we define our children. Most of our buying decisions are instinctive: they are not always easy to define but they have created a signature that is unquestionably ours, without slogans or gender typical motifs. Finding products that fit into our ethos is always exciting but equally discovering products that make us question our approach is a challenge that we embrace.
A Girl For All Time, the new brand behind a range of historical dolls, novels and customizable keepsake books inspired a really interesting and on-going discussion with the creator Francis Cane. We have discussed whether or not feminine traits are as a result of nature or nuture, about the rise in popularity of non gender specific products and equaly the importance of embracing intelligent and empowering products that are aimed at the women of the future – our daughters.
Once I got over my own preconceptions and the rather flowery packaging design A Girl For All Time spoke volumes to me. I really that is think that it is a unique concept that deserves to be given some attention. The dolls are created with historical reference giving older children the opportunity to feel more “grown up” but still enjoy being exactly what they are – young girls. Each doll features in her own novel set in different eras of the most exciting times in English history, encouraging children to explore the past, while the keepsake books bring the character’s world to life with themed activities and adventures.
We had fun last week on a Halloween photo shoot with Suula when we introduced Matilda to the proceedings. The juxaposition of Olive (my rather non conformist daughter) in her Mini Rodini Devil Hoodie clearly loving Matilda speaks volumes. There is more to come but in the meantime check out Matilda, the activity book and Matilda’s novel. You can buy Matilda and everything that is hers at Olive Loves Alfie. Based on the reaction Matilda has had from Olive and her rather eclectic group of friends I think Matilda is an inspired choice. Aimed at 8-12 years Matilda herself has been capturing the imagination of children much younger too and she makes a perfect introduction to a wonderful concept.