Miranda Lang is the mom behind The Little Fire Company, a designer baby products producer based in Observatory, Cape Town. I asked Miranda to share with us the story behind her business and how her products are produced.
“I studied Fine Art Painting, and finally, after 17 years in office jobs, I realized that I wanted (and needed) to create tactile, beautiful things. My business is called the Little Fire Company and is named after my son, Aidan which is Celtic for ‘Little Fire’. I started working full time on the Little Fire Company in October 2010. It took a long time to reach the point where I found the courage to take the plunge! I also wanted to be around to spend more time with my second child, as I had to leave Aidan when he was 4 months old to go back to work full time.
Little Fire Company was started to tempt parents and their children with stylish baby and toddler ‘must haves’… When I had Aidan I felt that all the baby/children stuff seemed very expensive or blue/pink/beige and had teddy bears or ducks on it. I decided that I try would to make more stylish, bright and beautiful products. As a self-confessed ‘fabric junkie’ I love searching out bright and beautiful fabrics for use in my products and hopefully making useful products that mums need and want. All the products are then tried and tested on my own children, Aidan, 6 and Genevieve, 2. The main thing is that I am having some wonderful, precious time working from home and spending time with my children when they are little, which is an amazing privilege!
My main challenge is fitting everything in. As a small business owner there are so many different aspects to running the business, it is difficult to juggle and prioritise all the different ‘hats’ you have to wear. Also, doing everything to the level I believe is acceptable, in home, family and business. I employ a seamstress who works for me full time. Odile has been working for me since I started the Little Fire Company in September 2010.
All the products are designed, cut and sewn in my home studio in Observatory by me and Odile. The only process that I outsource is the quilting of my playmats. Odile sews the products on the machines, which includes an Elna domestic sewing machine, a Bernina overlocker and an industrial “straight stitch” Zuki.
I love choosing the fabrics and fabric combinations for the products and do much of the cutting of the products in order to ensure the best fabric placement. I prepare the sewing that needs to be done by Odile each day to maintain stock levels or complete specific orders.
We are lucky that we can often have short lead times as Odile works with me here in the studio, so if an order is received, depending on its size and the current work load, we can often fulfil it quite quickly. As I am working closely with her while she is sewing, I am able to check and quality control the products as they are made.
The Little Fire Company products are available from my online store www.littlefirecompany.com and also from approximately 25 stockists around SA. I also sell one weekend a month at Cavendish Square at the Made in the Cape Artisan Market.”