Blue Flamingo Living was created by Narissa Corrigan as a way to tell stories and educate her children in a creative way. The stunning and intricate bedding and pyjama designs are representations of your favourite childhood fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood and adventurous, imaginative play like pretending to live in space with aliens!
Narissa chats with Minty about everything from conceptualising her vision, design process and materials to Trade Shows.
Congratulations on the launch of your new brand Blue Flamingo! How did the concept for Blue Flamingo come about?
‘Having kids changed my life and my priorities! It also gave me the inspiration for Blue Flamingo Living.
I very quickly learned a few things about my kids: they are like sponges and absorb information from everything that they are exposed to. And, they are drawn to colourful things.
Teaching my kids to love reading and learning is something that’s really important to me. I constantly find myself looking for ways in everyday life to encourage these things.
Given that kids spend half their life in bed, the idea of producing beautiful quality, organic bedding that encourages the development of a love of reading and learning became really obvious to me.
So I figured while I was designing and producing the bedding, why not add mix & match pyjamas in as well! I love matching and coordinating designs – it feels so neat and orderly (which perhaps reveals a lot about my personality).
Mix & match pyjamas let parents choose the matching top and bottom for those in-between nights.
I’m fortunate to be able to run both of my businesses from home which means my kids see me being busy all day. Dinner time through to bedtime is the one time of the day where my kids have my undivided attention. We talk about everything that happened that day and read lots of books. While some nights can be really hard, mostly these night times are the main source of my inspiration. It’s the one time of the day when I can really engage with my kids without distraction and share my love of reading and learning with them.’
What exciting plans do you have in store for us in the near future?
We’re excited to launch our pyjamas and blankets before Christmas, because I think these make perfect gifts for kids.
Our bedding and playmat products will be available to purchase in early 2019.
But, after that, I’ll be finalising our next ranges, looking to increase our pyjama sizing for bigger kids (and maybe matching Mum & Dad pyjamas) and looking at a range expansion. I love wallpaper – you might be seeing some Blue Flamingo Kids wallpaper down the track!
We’re also working to produce the characters who feature in our designs into beautiful quality soft toys.’
I love that you design your prints and patterns here in Australia. What is the design process when it comes to designing and curating new collections?
‘Blue Flamingo Living is a huge career change for me – I currently work as a lawyer, but have always been looking for a creative outlet.
Inspiration for new designs comes from my kids (I had 3 kids in under 3 years) and the things I see them interested in. Inspiration comes from the stories we read together, the songs they love to sing and the imaginative games they love to play.
I have an ideas board that I add all of my design ideas to. The best ones incubate in my mind.
Once my idea is bedded down, I work with my creative team to develop the right illustrations and pattern designs to bring the idea to life.’
STARTING A BRAND-NEW BUSINESS CAN BE CHALLENGING IN THE STARTUP PHASE, BUT WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST REWARDING THING SO FAR ABOUT BEGINNING THIS JOURNEY?
‘The most rewarding thing I’ve found so far is the new people I have met. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support which people who I’d never met have provided to help me to get started.’
I THINK YOUR PRODUCT AND LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY IS GREAT! IN TERMS OF A BUSINESS STRATEGY TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS IN THIS EARLY STAGE, WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS WORKED BEST FOR YOU?
‘I went to two trade shows in Melbourne in August to preview my range. I think getting my products out there at this early stage has allowed me to build some momentum prior to officially launching my retail business.’
WHO ARE YOUR GO-TO INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS YOU LOVE AND WHY?
‘I love Instagram accounts that show how colour can be used in kids’ rooms. I also love accounts that show real kids rooms, and not rooms which have been overly styled in current grown-up colour trends (and which you know kids will destroy the moment the camera is switched off!).
My two favourite kids’ accounts right now are @amomooui and @mimootoys, both from Brazil. Scrolling through their images is like watching a rainbow explode – there’s so much colour, joy and vibrancy in their products and photos. The designs and photography is real source of inspiration to me.’
AT MINTY, WE ARE MASSIVE SUPPORTERS OF ORGANIC, SUSTAINABLE AND ECO-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS. WAS THE IDEA OF HAVING YOUR PRODUCTS ALL MADE FROM 100% ORGANIC COTTON SOMETHING THAT WAS A MUST-HAVE CHECK BOX FOR YOUR PRODUCTS?
‘Using natural and organic fibres is really important part of our philosophy. While kids can’t be shielded from all the nasties in the world, using organic cotton is just a simple way of minimising unnecessary exposure.’
BLUE FLAMINGO IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF A PRODUCT THAT REALLY TELLS A STORY AND ENGAGES THEIR AUDIENCE. CAN YOU GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF WHAT STORIES OR COLLECTIONS YOU WILL RELEASE NEXT?
‘We have two really exciting ranges coming mid next year. The first is World Traveller, which tells the story of different places around the world. The second is Famous Faces, which has gorgeous illustrations of famous people through history. Both of these ranges continue our philosophy of featuring bright and colourful designs that allow parents to engage with their kids and encourage learning.
We’ll also be extending our Story Book line with two extra designs – Sherlock Holmes and a Jane Austen-themed design.’