Q&A with Natalie from Pretty Brave
We caught up with Natalie from Pretty Brave about how to ensure your little explorers put their best foot forward...
What inspired you to start designing shoes for babies and kids?
The Pretty Brave story began when I moved to Spain with my family in 2010. Getting out of the advertising world gave me headspace to think about new opportunities and I wanted to bring something back to New Zealand that the Spanish were really strong at. The Spanish love shoes (as do I!) and I knew there was a gap in the market for a fashion-led brand of kid’s shoes. From here began an amazing journey, that encouraged me to learn a new language, understand an age-old industry and took me on amazing adventures through Spain, Morocco, Denmark and Asia.
When did you start Pretty Brave?
Pretty Brave was launched in February 2015.
What’s different about designing for little people than adults?
I love the kids’ category because every day I get to be creative. My initial concept for the brand was to design shoes that were mini versions of adult footwear trends. But I quickly I realized that with this, there should be a quirky, fun element, because at the end of the day being little is meant to be fun! For Pretty Brave, this is when the magic happens… taking inspiration from latest adult trends and adding a Pretty Brave twist, such as the lightning bolt on our toddler boot or the butterfly on our new collection sandal.
Designing footwear for little ones does come with its challenges. A baby’s foot is like a moving target! It is constantly growing and changing shape, which means that the needs of a shoe change too. Our latest sandal styles show our appreciation of this - the smaller sizes (S and M) feature a soft sole, where as our larger sizes (L and XL) have a flexible rubber sole and a reinforced heel.
What are considerations that you have when you’re designing?
Every Pretty Brave product has to be original, on-trend, wearable and high quality.
What types of materials do you use?
We only use soft, premium leathers that are tested to strict European standards and are free of any nasties. There are lots of brands out there using cheap leathers and synthetics, but for us, quality and ‘safe for baby’, have always been paramount to the brand.
What do you have in mind when you’re designing a new collection?
Each new collection is an opportunity to excite the retailers and the market. With a new collection I ask myself ‘is this unexpected?’. The brand is really established now, so it is a balance of staying ‘on brand’ but also pushing the boundaries and presenting something that is exceptional. When working on a collection I will be thinking about how a theme works on multiple levels - from the small details on the shoe, to the campaign imagery to the packaging design. I believe that everything about a Pretty Brave product is an opportunity to tell a story and it all needs to connect.
What kind of designs should we expect to see in the future?
As our little Pretty Brave customers grow, so too is our product range and size offering. We will be expanding our range shoes for bigger kids and next summer will see the arrival of a much anticipated Pretty Brave toddler sandal. Behind the scenes we are working on a few exciting collabs with some big names that will launch next year. Plus, there are designs in the pipeline for a transitional shoe that will be perfect for babies as they take their first steps. Pretty Brave fans are also loving our recently launched sister brand Crywolf, for designer outwear for kids.
What are the ingredients to the perfect baby shoe?
1 cup of creativity
1 cup of fashion
250mls of practicality
Use only quality ingredients
A generous sprinkle of love!
Do you have any tips for parents who are buying shoes for when their child is starting to walk?
New walkers benefit from a flexible and lightweight sole that has some grip to prevent slipping. A good fitting shoe will give the foot support and protection, whilst providing freedom and flexibility to encourage natural development without restriction. The flexible rubber sole and added heel support in our baby shoes for 12 months and upwards, are perfect for little ones as they start to pull themselves up and begin their first steps. Babies feet grow so quickly, so it is good to check the fit regularly to ensure there is no rubbing. Every childs’ foot is so different, so for the confident walker, we encourage buying in-store where experienced staff can help fit the foot. For online shoppers we do offer exchanges and returns to ensure happy customers.
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