SPOTLIGHT: MIGHTY LITTLE THINGS
We talk to Emilie Thysse and Ruth Harrington about their superhero portraits
When Emilie and Ruth first met at work, they had no idea that their friendship would inspire a business venture designed to bring magic and might to kids (big and little). They are on a mission to help all kids be smart, confident, creative, courageous and kind, with their Mighty Family Portraits, dressing-up capes and soon-to-launch superhero soft dolls. We caught up with the super-mums to find out more.
So how did Mighty Litle Things come about? What were you up to before motherhood and business beckoned?
Ruth and I both have backgrounds managing sales teams and met working as colleagues in a London property company. Our lives are now slightly ridiculously intertwined… We basically met our husbands through each other, had our first children at the same time, go on holiday together, exercise together and live just a few streets away from each other. So I guess it was only a matter of time before we started a business together. Ruth has two daughters Esther, four, and Martha, two, whilst I have Phoebe, four, and my newest addition Fred, one – all of whom are now mighty and mischievous little playmates!
Sounds like a super business was inevitable. When did you start Mighty Little Things?
It was last December when we decided to become business partners and launched Mighty Little Things. We think perhaps some magical creativity potion got mixed into our bottle of prosecco as we’ve never been known for our artistic streak!
How did you come up with the idea? What was your inspiration?
Like most mums, we want to raise children who are smart, confident, creative, courageous and kind. We want them to feel empowered to be who they want to be and enjoy the fun and adventure that comes with being little – whether that be dressing up as a pirate, a princess or a superhero. We noticed there was a lack of ‘empowering’ stuff out there for girls these days (oh how we miss the Spice Girls….) and began creating wall art and capes for both boys and girls with a very distinctive ‘mighty’ theme! As it transpires, both kids AND grown-ups are really keen to unleash their inner superhero and have themselves adorned in a cape on their kitchen wall, so our ‘Mighty Family Portrait’ was born and we’ve been creating new personalised portrait designs ever since.
Every kid wants to be a superhero. But if you could be a superhero, who would you be?
Ruth would unquestionably be Wonder Woman – she’s got a good job, a private jet, looks cracking in hotpants and needs only a lasso to take people dooowwwn.
For me it’s got to be She-Ra, Princess of Power. A child of the 80s, super-glam and equally strong and powerful – she’s a proper role model. She only resorts to combat as a last resort – she’s all about using her cunning and wit to outsmart her adversaries. Oh, and she can talk to animals. And she has a really hot twin brother in He-Man who is bound to have loads of gorgeous mates he’ll invite round for parties – bonus. In fact, I like her so much I named my cat She-Ra.
By the power of Greyskull! What’s been the most challenging part of combining motherhood and starting a business?
Time, time and TIME! Why isn’t there more time? Running a household is bloody hard. Our eldest girls are starting school, Ruth still works part-time and I own a training and coaching consultancy (Yellow Door Talent), in addition to everything we do around Mighty Little Things. So life is busy – but we chose it to be that way so we’ve just had to learn to be super-organised and maximise every moment!
What’s your most successful product?
Our best-selling product is our Mighty Family Portrait. Families send us photos of themselves, tell us which superhero they’d like to be and we make them into a Mighty Superhero Family! We’ve now got spin-offs – our Jedi family, Minion family and then a whole host of pets we’ve been asked to add. We even did a superhero goat and a superhero sheep… Just this week we have got our first celebrity family* who we’re making mighty – we’re super-excited!
*Yes, we did ask, but they’re keeping schtum as to which celebs are getting super-heroed up, damn them
Which kids’ brands/boutiques/designers do you love?
We’re both a bit obsessed with the Scandi style at the moment – Scandi Mini sells adorable kids’ stuff. For kids (and grown-up) homeware we both adore This Modern Life, which stocks a lot of fabulous and unusual brands. I don’t know if you have come across My Little Duckling with their completely adorable pilot hats for babies? Totally gorgeous. We also love the colourful and super-cool unisex stuff by St Bert’s. Going more mainstream, we’re complete suckers for a bit of retro (my son has a wardrobe bursting with Little Bird… I need shares, Jools Oliver!), as well as good old Mini Boden and Zara Kids.
What have been the best and worst bits of setting up Mighty Little Things?
The best bit is doing something really creative – it’s so good for the soul! And our product is so positive – making people mighty and allowing them to become their favourite superhero! The concept has definitely tickled the imagination of a lot of people. Seemingly, lots of dads secretly harbour the idea of wanting to be Iron Man or Thor, whilst a lot of mums seem to love the idea of donning skintight Lycra without having to diet. We’ve had such a great reception on social media. Genuinely, there really haven’t been any bad bits so far (apart from the relentless nagging guilt inside about stretching ourselves too thinly and being terrible mothers/wives/sisters, etc, etc… Yeah… Apart from that).
Hahaha, yeah, we all know that feeling! Describe your average day
As we both still have other business responsibilities alongside Mighty Little Things, it has to be balanced around those commitments, as well as running a household, being a (hopefully good) mum, a (hopefully decent-ish) wife and, in theory, occasionally taking a bit of time off from all of the above (that hasn’t actually happened yet but we live in hope…). Most days we’ll speak first thing in the morning by telephone to divide and conquer our task list and then, in the evening, once the kids are in bed we’ll sit on our respective sofas next to our husbands in our not-very-glamorous PJs, glass of wine in hand, tinkering away on the latest orders and emailing our new creations to each other for approval!
What’s next for Mighty Little Things?
We’re really enjoying the new dimension and creativity Mighty Little Things has brought to our lives – it’s a really ‘happy’ business! I don’t think our personalised mighty portraits can fail to raise a smile. We’re hoping to expand our range of personalised portrait designs whist also adding some completely new products – we’re soon launching a range of beautiful hand-made superhero soft dolls, which we’re sure will appeal to all the mighty little kids out there. We’re also expanding our range of stationery to include invitations, correspondence cards and a few other fun options. All of which will help us spread the mighty magic!