From her home base in Grafton Wisconsin, Lauralye Rollins of Little Gypsy Finery has been silkscreening and patterning some of the most rock ‘n’ roll kids clothes out there. Imagine a toddler in bright yellow leopard print harem pants and an E.T. and Carly Rae Jepsen mash up t-shirt. Blending current and retro pop culture references while still keeping the designs fun and kid friendly, this growing children’s apparel line is as cool as is gets. Designer and founder Lauralye Rollins took some time to share about her business and what’s keeping her inspired.
Maker Market- How and when did you start Little Gypsy Finery?
Little Gypsy Finery- I started my shop a little over a year ago after I came across some cute handmade clothes on Etsy and Instagram. My grandma taught me to sew dresses for my nieces when I was around 12. I'm not into the typical baby stuff you see in stores and I've always been really creative, so I decided to attempt to make some things for my infant son.
MM- Is LGF a hobby or a full time job?
LGF- It eventually started as a way to make some extra money from home after I had made a few things and saw other people were willing to pay for my handmade clothes. I gradually cut down the hours at my full time job (a receptionist at a salon in Mequon) as I became busier and busier with my small shop. As of April 2nd, LGF has become my full time job.
MM- Do you have lil ones? Are they your muse?
LGF- Yes I do have four children, one daughter, 14, and three sons, ages 10, 7 and 16 months. They will sometimes influence what I make or give their opinions on what they do or do not like.
MM- From E.T. to Donnie Darko to Stepbrothers, your designs are very pop culture related. How do you decide what images to use and where are you finding inspiration for your designs?
LGF- Sometimes I will see or hear something and think 'oh that would be a funny shirt’. I like making clothes for kids that you wouldn't see in the big box stores. Clothes that make people smile but the kid wearing them won't necessarily know what it's really about! I like my images to be pretty simple, as I make all the silk screens myself. I'm not the best at drawing and will work with artists or friends to help me get my ideas onto paper. I often rely on family and friends to help me decide on new shirts and leggings to add to my shop.
MM- The “I cut my own hair” shirt is amazing. Do you have any interest in making adult clothing?
LGF- I will occasionally make some adult shirts but I like working with a smaller canvas. I can make some designs on adult shirts by request.
MM- The LGF leggings and harem pants are super cute. How did you develop these signature leggings?
LGF- I honestly have no rhyme or reason. I come up with ideas and by trial and error. I basically make things and see what sells and what doesn't. Harem pants and leggings have been popular online for a bit so I went with those and try to put my own spin on them by using different fabrics and silk screening them.
MM- How do you see LGF growing in the next few years?
LGF- At the moment I'm collaborating with a small clothing line called StillRad- they had some fabric made with one of their shirt designs and I'm sewing harem shorts for them. It's a really cool project and I hope to do more things like that in the future. It helps to promote each other and it's fun working with other people. I also sell wholesale to small boutiques across the US and would like to expand into other countries too. I am working on learning illustrator and will start designing my own fabric this fall so I can have exclusive patterns that will differentiate me from other shops. I just plan on staying busy but have no real business plan yet, it's all happened pretty organically.
MM- What can shoppers expect to see from LGF at the upcoming Maker Market?
LGF- I will have all of my favorite shirts, as well as some harem shorts, leggings and shorties ready to go. Maybe some surprises as well!
MM- What is currently inspiring you? IG feeds? Blogs? Music? Movies?
LGF- I keep a running list of ideas that I refer to when I want to create something new. I have some ideas for clothes for this fall and have been looking at inspiration in current pop culture but also in vintage photographs so I can combine the two and make something that I really haven't done before. I get bored easily so I enjoy switching it up. But in general, Pinterest can be very inspiring as well as 80s/ 90s movies
Check out Little Gypsy Finery online or pick up your kid’s favorite new tee and meet the maker at the upcoming Maker Market Sunday, May 3rd in the parking lot of Colectivo in Bay View!