Warning: this post contains an awesome giveaway competition exclusive to Stella + the Stars readers. Scroll down to the end for more details.
A few weeks ago, I met the lovely brains behind Wild Child Designz, a fabulous kids furniture brand based in Dubai. As it often happens these days and thanks to the power of social media, I 'met' founder and chief designer, Sameera Ameer on the old Instaweb and we connected virtually before we met in the flesh - she showed me her collection and told me all about her brand. This is the kind of encounter that Stella + the Stars is all about (on a side note, I am planning to do more of these so, watch this space!) and I thought, if I fell in love with Wild Child Designz's quirky collection, chances are, you will too. I interviewed Sameera, who is a mama of two, to find out a bit more about the brand and how it all started.
When and why did you set up Wild Child Designz? What's your background and what were you doing before launching your business?
I launched Wild Child Designz in June of 2014. It all started when I was unable to find anything distinctive and fun for my own daughter’s room, once she had grown out of the baby phase. Wild Child Designz mainly caters to age three and up. My target market are parents who want unique and bespoke furniture and interior design service for their kids, as well as high end pre-school’s in the UAE who want a nursery designed specifically to their needs and themes.
My background is in Interior Design - I studied for two years in Sri Lanka (where I grew up) and two years in London at Chelsea College of Art and Design. In between I had a few internships, both back home as well as in London. I got pregnant as soon as I graduated from Chelsea College and went onto to be a full-time mum until I launched my business. There is nothing like being a mum to prepare you for entrepreneurship…
Tell us a bit more about your designs, and where you get your inspiration?
Wild Child Designz is a bespoke children’s furniture design company. There is a main line of 20 pieces, as well as a custom design service so clients also tend to come to me for unique designs and so the line is constantly expanding. I design anything from chairs, desks, beds, wardrobes, storage units, to shelves and lighting. To get inspired for new designs, I tap into my subconscious memory bank… All the places I have travelled, childhood memories, favorite comics, animations and even books I read as a child. This is where my creativity and inspiration stems from. My kids are a huge inspiration for me and are my best 'guinea pigs'. Creativity ensures I have a USP which gives my customers a reason to come back, as the possibilities are endless with a bespoke service.
You've had a big milestone last month with your collection becoming available at Level Kids store. How did it all happen?
You know the phrase 'ask and you shall receive'? Well, it was just like that. I contacted Level Kids directly and asked if they would be interested in selling my furniture in-store, and it so happened that they were! It is one of the most beautiful kids stores I have ever been into, and it is a privilege to be selling there. But believe me, there have been many times I have not so much as received a reply from retailers. I believe everything always happens at the right time.
Can customers request anything custom made from your design? How does the process work?
Customers tend to come to me to experience the bespoke service that I offer - they are usually attracted to my design aesthetics and are looking for a piece that will grow with their child and in a sense is a piece of art.
Firstly, I set up an initial client meeting to show them my samples and understand their requirements. Then we go on to meet in their home, so I can measure the space and perhaps meet with their child to get a feel for what they would like.
I then give the client an estimate of the item/project costs as well as the time frame. If the client is happy to go ahead, I go onto design a couple of options. Once the design is confirmed it takes around four 3-4 weeks till delivery.
Most of your designs are pretty affordable for the quality of the products. How do you keep the affordability box ticked?
I would like to think so especially given the short time frame for a bespoke design made here in Dubai. At the moment the margins are kept low… However I am re-strategising my business to bring prices down further and make my furniture even more affordable. These are my goals for 2017!
What's next for Wild Child Designz? Tell us what you have in the pipeline.
I am always working on new designs…. But finding the right manufacturer is always a challenge. At the moment I am looking into an all-acrylic line. We are looking to get into mass production and become even more affordable. We are also working on an all-acrylic line of furniture. It will be colourful, lightweight, versatile and off course safe. Beyond that my goals are endless… I plan on branching out into many more aspects of kids interiors. There is still so much of a gap in the UAE, even though there are few great stores popping up here and there.
You can view the full Wild Child Designz collection here.
If you like Wild Child Designz as much as we do here at Stella + the Stars, you'll be pleased to know that we are currently running a nice little giveaway over on our Instagram page to win one of these pretty 'Angel' kids chairs. To get a chance to get your paws on it, head to Stella + the Stars' instagram page or click on the image below.