Mornington Peninsula Magazine loves a local business success story and the funked-up Piccolo + Mi kids’ clothing label is no different. Read how this urban range of baby and toddler gear gets parents’ attention and why producing high-quality organic cotton clothing is so important to creators Danielle and Scott.
When was Piccolo + Mi conceived?
The Piccolo & Mi website launched on September 15, 2017. Prior to this date we were in development for over a year. We are both perfectionists, so having everything close to 110 per cent before we launched was a key focus of ours.
How did you come up with the name?
We actually started the journey without a brand name as everything I had put to paper wasn’t sitting right with me. After years of working in the fast fashion industry I came across a confronting question: “If textiles are one of the world’s biggest contributors to landfills, why would we need one more shop front contributing to this fast fashion world?” We came to conclusion that having a small part in making a change was important. “Piccolo”, meaning “small” in Italian, reflects these small changes, while “& Mi” is not just Scott and I, but brings together a community of people that help support, purchase or recognise the false idea of fast fashion and overconsumption.
Tell us a bit about your backgrounds before creating the Piccolo + Mi label.
I (Dani) work full-time in the city for a large fashion company as a senior designer. I have worked on big name brands such as Kmart, Target, Myer and recently David Jones. I spend my 9-5 designing anywhere between one and two fashion ranges per week. Scott, aka the financial guru and my business-savvy partner, runs Melbourne Masonry, a large bricklaying company with over 70 employees.
Why choose to go Australian-made and not produce overseas like so many other clothing labels?
We feel transparency is the most important value for our customers. For our new winter range, we decided to move 60 per cent of our production offshore to an ethically accredited factory in Bali because we have grown rapidly. We asked our valued customers what was most important to them - quality, sustainable fabrics, affordability, design, ethical manufacturing or Australian-made. Quality ranked No.1, then sustainable fabrics, design, ethically manufactured, and Australian-made was last.
What inspires you to create such rockin’ cuteness?
Everything apart from upcoming trends. I pull most of my inspiration from imagination and how I would dress my own kids. With every unique print or shape I create I see parents or kids, matching, mixing, layering, dressing up, dressing down or finally being passed down.
Why go unisex?
Why not? Kids are kids no matter what gender, interests, imagination or personality. Unisex is a forward way of thinking and just seemed to fit with our creative direction.
Piccolo + Mi has reinvented the traditional kids’ romper. What’s the response been like?
Our rompers are one of our best-selling items. Four months in and we have sold out in all small sizes or have one or two left in stock!
What does the day look like for a passionate small business owner?
Scott & I wake up before the crack of dawn. I’m up and off at 5.30am to head to group fitness, then catch a train into the city for a 7.30am start. Scott tackles his mornings at the Melbourne Masonry HQ getting his day organised with the crews. Most nights are spent working on our businesses in the office or together on the couch.
Please let the readers know about your commitment to sustainability.
Our first commitment always starts with the fabrications and print techniques, including GOT’s certified organic cottons and other sustainable fibres such as linen and bamboo printed using only the safest enviro-friendly inks free from all the nasty chemicals and pesticides. Another non-negotiable sustainability measure is ethical working standards at our new factory in Bali.
Where do you find all those gorgeous toddler models?
For our SS18 range we actually used Scott’s family and some of our friends for the entire shoot. Most models had no prior experience, but our photographer Wendy just clicked with all the kids so the pictures came out very natural.
What happens on the photo shoots? Any funny stories?
Absolute chaos. Scott and I don’t have kids so being surrounded by 10+ kids plus numerous family and friends was a bit daunting. We had catering, music and balloons so I guess it was just like a big party.
Give us a sneak peak at the Piccolo + Mi winter range. How cosy is it going to be for a Piccolo + Mi bub this season? New and fresh prints in our classic shapes with organic chunky cable knit beanies – layering pieces and we might even have something just for the girls this season too!
Tell us about your online store and how people can become part of the Piccolo + Mi tribe.
You can find our entire range on our website piccoloandmithelabel.com alongside our local stockist Paragon Blue in Rye. You will also be able to visit our HQ in Mornington every Saturday too. The VIP tribe is accessed when you sign up to our newsletter.
Where’s your favourite place on the Peninsula to spend some down time?
Our own backyard – we live a stone’s throw away from Fishermans Beach so on a hot summer’s day you will find us here. Second place is the Peninsula Hot Springs. Heaven!
And finally, where do you see Piccolo + Mi being in the next five years, and what will the kids of the future be wearing?
We are looking forward to seeing the brand organically flourish to its full potential. We want to be pioneers in Australian sustainable and ethical fashion. We plan to tap into organic denim, organic baby lotions and focus on growing our organic ladies’ range.
Follow Danielle and Scott on Facebook @piccoloandmithelabel or Instagram @piccoloandmi