Well it was pretty amazing collaborating with all of the talented people who featured in the Inspire series in 2016. To kick off this year’s series, we have Joanne from the online store Retro Kids. I first come across Retro Kids when I was looking for some fun melamine plates for Big Munch and Toddler Munch. Then I realised this online store wasn’t just about buying stuff for children, it has fun stuff for nostalgic grown ups too.
Hey Joanne, thanks for appearing on Lucky Things. Happy new year. Tell us a bit about your corner of the country? I live in Northumberland. I love that I am close to the city of Newcastle, lots of beaches and countryside.
Who do you live with? My two daughers aged 4 and 6.
So, what first encouraged you to set up Retro Kids online store? I worked as a Prison Officer for a little over a decade and once my family arrived, the shift hours no longer fitted in with family life. I became frustrated at the bureaucracy and craved more of a ‘work, life, balance’. The doom and gloom of the role made me crave fun and colour! When voluntary redundancy was offered in late 2013, I grabbed the opportunity and set about researching for brands that fitted in with my store vision. Retro Kids is an independent shop that launched in April 2014 following a few technical website set-backs and those who are curious can read more on my blog. There very nearly wasn’t a Retro Kids!
Do you have another day job or do you focus on your business full-time? I am fortunate now that the business is established to concentrate solely on Retro Kids. I worked part-time alongside the business for the first 18 months. I am entirely self-funded. A liberating and scary feeling when you have two little children to feed.
What is the inspiration for Retro Kids? Retro, Kitsch and Kawaii fun stuff for little and adult kids. A place to buy from, that makes you want to be a kid again.
What’s the best thing about setting up Retro Kids? The best thing is seeing your ideas come into fruition.
Seeing your ideas in action must feel great. Oh do you also mind sharing what’s the worst thing? The worst is dealing with technical website issues that are beyond your control and expertise.
Retro Kids always seems like a feel-good brand to me. What advice do you have for parents and carers who want to encourage their little people to be feel good about themselves? I am no expert. As a parent myself I am raising my girls to be confident and they are in bucket loads. Listen, love and support your little people.
You’ve mentioned three important words just now. What’s your motto when things get a bit tough for you? “Remember why you started”
Tell me about one of your favourite childhood memories. I have too many! I remember so many happy times playing with children in the street.
As well as being grounded and patient, what are your three tips for staying organised as a working parent? Early starts, lists and accepting help when offered.
What would your dream weekend be if you’re on your own? Dream weekend on my own would be a busy City visit like New York or Barcelona.
And if you’re with your family? With the family it would be camping in the countryside.
If you were given time and a deal to write a book, what would it be about? I would write about my career in the Prison Service. The training, dark humour, prisoner antics, bureaucracy, and sadly other negative things that happen in that environment.
What are three of your favourite items in your wardrobe? My vintage top, my daughter’s christening dress and bargain pair of sale shoes.
What music and tunes are you listening to at the moment? I listen to all genres, I especially love R&B and classic soul. Stevie Wonder being my all time favourite. At the moment I am listening to James Arthur.
I always sing Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour to my toddler. What grown-up tunes do you enjoy playing to your children? We listen to the radio in the car mostly and the girls ask for it to be turned up if they particularly like the sound. They also have varied tastes!
And what tunes do you remember listening to growing up? Paul Young, Madonna, Billy Ocean, Whitney Houston,
Now you’re taking me back! I loved Billy Ocean’s tune When The Going Gets Tough (and his video). Before we say bye for now Joanne, what are your three lucky things? (Favourite things that make you happy or feel grateful – apart from your kids or partner or family). For me it has to be popcorn, red wine and travel.
Pop over to the lovely Retro Kids store online when you get a chance. The range of treats will take you back as well as the spotting cheery things that will brighten up your day. The Retro Kids sale is on now (at the time of publishing this blog post).
Over to you…What do you love about retro toys from your childhood? What did you like about the chat with Joanne? Is there anyone who you think should feature on the Inspire series this year? Leave a little comment below…