Sarah Clark, stylist, art director and founder of Little Spree
We’ve fan-girled Sarah Clark, founder of fashion and lifestyle blog Little Spree for years now, so we are thrilled to get to chat to her this month about her career in fashion. First up, we wanted to know how Little Spree came about.
“At first, Little Spree was my side hustle, then it gradually grew to equal my styling career. And now it’s my main job, with my styling and art directing secondary. I never ever imagined that happening. I feel extremely lucky to have a little company that I created from literally nothing, that enables me to work flexibly and creatively around my family and home life,” Sarah tells us.
Born eleven years ago, Sarah started Little Spree after having twins, Marlow and Tabitha, in 2010. “The whole concept behind it came from my own experiences as a new mother. It’s hard to imagine now, but at the time there really weren’t many options for dressing your kids in a stylish but ultimately, affordable way. There was Bonpoint and Mothercare and very little in between. With the exception of Zara Kids and a couple of others, I really had to hunt for the affordable gems (dressing your kids in head-to-toe Bonpoint is not an option when you have twins and you’re on a budget!).”
As Sarah shared the thrill at discovering a great find with her friends - “the cool boys desert boots from M&S that are perfect for girls as well as boys; the navy coat with the puff shoulders from Sainsbury’s!” – she noticed they would all rush out and buy her recommendations – and soon she found herself as an accidental children’s fashion influencer, long before instagram’.
“I decided to start a blog. I also wanted to help other mums who, like me were exhausted and time-poor - I’d already done the legwork, so they didn’t need to. I simply highlighted the one thing they should buy. Initially I just used to share/post one thing a day. Then it just grew and grew from there.”
But Sarah’s gimlet eye for stylish pieces began long before motherhood. She landed a job as fashion assistant on Marie Claire magazine at 23. “I had THE best time there and in my seven years learnt everything I needed to know about the fashion industry.”
After working her way up to fashion editor, she went on to Glamour magazine, and then became a contributing stylist for the likes of Red and Stella magazine after having her children – and alongside Little Spree. In fact, she still does now, even with a busy, successful business to run.
While Sarah’s background is seriously high fashion, these days she’s inspired by a much broader range of influences. “It’s more street style, favourite designers such as Isabel Marant (I love the way she styles her models/shows/campaigns - such a clever and unique mix of feminine/cool/boho, but also very achievable in ’the real world’); friends, my daughter, even Instagram to some extent… I always wanted to style clothes in a relatable, ‘real’ (not to be confused with boring I might add!) way.”
Surprisingly, shooting head-to-toe catwalk designer looks never inspired Sarah – “I found it really dull.”
“It was the mix that I loved - mixing designers with high street - Chanel with Topshop... Glamour was one of the first magazines to ever do that (hard to imagine now, but it’s true), and I absolutely loved it. It’s so much cleverer. So much fun, and really creative.”
And so it seemed inevitable that Little Spree would mirror Sarah’s own fashion journey, championing small brands, high street finds and quirky labels as well as the odd designer splurge. “I genuinely love nothing more than supporting small brands that I love and I’m very passionate about it. At the moment I am shouting about Meadows, NavyGrey, Honna, and Joanna Sands. They create truly special pieces.”
We’re very lucky that Little Spree is also a fan of FAUNE, and we were dying to know what Sarah made of our collection – so we had to ask. “For me (as well as the kids) I genuinely love every piece (truly), but my absolute favourite has to be the Laurel dress (my most worn Faune piece) - it was love at first sight! As well as being the dreamiest of dresses, it’s so versatile with its long sleeves (I wear it all year round). And a close second would be the Camelia in white. Those are the two that I have worn the most anyway. I love that they are both timeless, but at the same time always feel so special to wear.”
Growing Little Spree has meant some hard choices for Sarah over the years, especially as she started the business with two babies. “It’s certainly not the easiest thing to juggle a career with having a family, particularly when your children are very young. And I’m not sure I did it that well to be honest. I took a year off when they were born (they were born two months premature, and they had to stay in hospital for two months), but then when I returned to my job at Glamour, I only lasted a few months. I wasn’t enjoying my job (working full time and travelling constantly was not ideal) or being a mother, as I constantly felt that I was being pulled in two different directions. And in the process, doing neither well. I was exhausted, desperately unhappy, and feeling guilty all the time. I couldn’t continue - something had to give. That something was my career as a Fashion Editor at a glossy magazine (well a full-time one at least). I decided (in a split second) to go freelance and never looked back. It was really scary (particularly after just having taken a year out), but one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Having more time to dedicate to Little Spree gave Sarah the space she needed to build on the blog’s early success. “Eventually my readers started to ask if I could share affordable finds for them! Initially I said no, as I simply didn’t have the time (or the headspace), but eventually I started doing a fashion post once a week, called Mama Spree. It was an immediate hit, and soon eclipsed the mini edits, and as my kids got older I gradually shifted the balance to fashion being the main focus of the blog. And it just snowballed from there. I feel like (as cheesy as it sounds) I kind of grew with Little Spree, as did many of my original readers (many of whom still read/follow Little Spree today. As our kids grew up, we started having more time to focus on ourselves again. LittleSpree was always a slow-burner, and I’m so grateful for that.”
Discover more of Sarah’s latest finds at Littlespree.com / @littlespree
We can’t get enough of this dreamy Halloween inspiration from Mrs Mighetto, whose childrens interiors are so inspiring. Adding temporary tattoos to pumpkins is such a cute, quick crafty make – even the busiest mamas can give it a try. Mrsmighetto.com
Faune's first US stockist CLOTH
This month we are shining a light on our stockist Justine Hoagland at CLOTH - a curated children's ethical, natural clothing and toys, based in the U.S. Justine worked in New York as a fashion director and in public relations for some major labels before changing her life entirely. She studied yoga, meditation and nutrition for a few years and found a slower way of life, but after having children, she returned to the world of fashion - bring her core values of sustainability and slow living to create her own online shop, blog and brand.
She closely researches each label that she chooses to work with, and of course fabric and colour are hugely important to her - the name Cloth came from her love of material, embroidery, pleating, pattern and tone.
“I have always been a collector of vintage kids nightgowns that I had found on my travels and was looking to bring a line to Cloth that was similar to the classic styles of the 1940’s and 50’s designs I was in search of. FAUNE instantly caught my eye when I first saw it in 2018 and I became the first US retailer in the Fall of that year with a small assortment of nightgowns for children in our online shop,” explains Justine.
“My customers instantly fell in love with the dreamy silhouettes and intricate details of each gorgeous design. The ‘angel winged’ Wren became a bestseller for us in antique white, the grey was also very popular, along with the blush pink version which was introduced the following year. The Skylark cap sleeved night gown was seen going from day to night and a trend began that these night dresses could be worn both for bed and during the day with the Heather slip beneath. Customers still gravitate to the classic white Magnolia with its clean lines and embroidery.
The introduction of women’s nightwear has been a natural transition for FAUNE just as it has for CLOTH. I continue to feel that this brand is close to my heart from the relationship I have with the designers to the happy little customers I see in photos. My daughter, Vivienne and I, love these beautiful, easy to wear pieces that bring a sense of femininity to the heart and soul.”
Five years on since Justine began, Cloth specialises in beautiful, wearable, comfortable childrenswear that is handmade and sustainable, with effortless silhouettes, flowing skirts, and relaxed track pants all finding space in her collection. As well as timeless children's clothes and sleepwear, she also stocks womenswear with a similar aesthetic.
Discover more at shopcloth.co / @cloth
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