Small Shop Love: Rain People
If you have been following me for a while it's probably no surprise to you that I am a big fan and supporter of Rain People. I found them through Instagram (how did I find any small shops before Instagram??)... I'm pretty sure through the beautiful photos of @mama___wolf. Anyway I was hooked after I bought a wool brimless bonnet for Mae that fit her like a dream and she basically wore everyday until it didn't fit anymore. She has been wearing their bonnets ever since. I've been making a concerted effort to shop small and more ethically for my kid's clothes. It's not an easy task as they outgrow clothes quickly and wear them hard but I have found well made clothing and accessories to wash and wear better. Even more importantly they are the items I reach for every time while the cheaper poorly made clothes sit in the drawer taking up precious space that I need. There is also something really wonderful about buying something from a person who designed and made it with their own hands. I hope to continue to highlight inspiring small brands that are changing the way we understand fashion. I know I personally have needed a wake up call about the actual cost of goods and realizing that it is better to pay more but buy less. I'm not perfect at it but I am making positive changes in the right direction. Small, local and transparent companies like Rain People make this easier. One more motivating factor in buying quality handmade pieces is the unexpected joy I get when I pass these beloved items on to friends. Seeing one of my friend's babies in Mae's bonnet makes me indescribably happy, and like I get to relive her baby-ness for a moment (without all the sleepless nights and spit up!).
Rain People has gained a loyal and passionate following for their perfectly fitting bonnets in beautiful linen and patterned cotton that no one else can replicate. I've gushed about them previously in my packing post for our trip to Portugal (link here). Recently Rain People has added clothing to their line of beautiful and functional bonnets. Made from the same beautiful fabrics, pieces like ruffled bloomers, rompers, perfectly boxy tees and linen harem pants (that I need to get Theo in asap!) are the perfect evolution of this well edited and thoughtful collection.
Alison, the owner and creative director of Rain People shares a bit more about her company by answering a few questions below:
I feel like everyone dreams of starting a small handmade business but few actually do it. What made you do it?
I started my Master’s degree in Public Health and Social policy when I was 4 months pregnant. During my pregnancy I learned to sew which began with this crazy urge to make a quilt! When my son was tiny I would strap him to my back, bounce on a bouncy ball, and quilt! I was working on maters at this point in the nights. I needed to make some money, and because I had a little one and really wanted keep working on my schooling I decided to try and sell quilts. It is very hard to make any money selling quilts as they take soooooooo long and cost tons in materials that it wasn’t really a great use of my time regardless on how much I loved it. When Jack was 8 month old we moved to the Comox Valley in search of a slower life where we could spend more time together as a family and live a cheaper existence. We moved out of our tiny downtown apartment and into a big old character home on the water for the same price. In this new home I got the whole attic to use as a studio! Heaven to me! And began working on a product I could sell. As a baby wearing mom I was always in search of a hat that my son would keep on, and the boys fashion I was finding left a lot to be desired. So baby bonnets it was!
I made my first set of about 18 hats for a local market out of scrap quilting material. The table cost 75$ to be at the market, and I sold 2 hats at 25$ each. I attended a few more markets, usually sharing the cost of a table with my friend Bailey who was making baby leggings at the time and has now moved on with her new company called Born (@born.fashions). I sold very few items at local markets and was ready to give up when a mom on Facebook bought 4 custom bonnets from me. We emailed back and forth a bit and she was so so pleased wit her purchase. She then told me that she was a mom blogger and that I should check out her Instagram, so I did. And so I met @carmenthemodernmom with 50k followers! She then supported me to immediately open up an Instagram account, she sent me her photos of the bonnets to use, and hosted a giveaway for me! I got 200 followers on my first day and I will be forever grateful for her support and encouragement!
And so official @rain_people was born.
Looks like you've grown your company recently and surrounded yourself with some amazing women. Can you share a bit more about them?
When this business started it was just me, I did everything, some things better then others :). When my life got busy it was either close the business or start something new. I got the honour of hiring these three rad ladies, each with their different skills and passions.
Last year I finished my practicum and I got offered my dream job, working as a childhood trauma consultant. In this job I get to work with mothers and babies who have experienced trauma and help them build healthy attachments. I took a weekend to decide if I could begin the full time job on the Monday! I was faced with a big decision; I knew I could not do both well. I had my two dream jobs to choose from!
So I asked around at my local Fabricland to find someone to help with sewing. I met Beverly, bonnet maker extraordinaire, and she is a dream come true. She is so fast and reliable, and is so so great at what she does. Once I found Beverly I knew I could try and swing both. So I said yes to the job with the Children’s Health Foundation. Beverly and I formed a great team just the two of us for about 6 months. I did everything but the sewing, and a bit of sewing when things got crazy.
In January 2017 I met Kelvie. She and her family had just moved to the Comox Valley from Vancouver. We started talking and brainstorming, and with her support we decided to release a clothing line. Kelvie became my business partner and we hired my friend Jordan to make all the clothing (ed note: Small world, Kelvie is a super stylish mom I followed in Vancouver as her adorable son is close in age to Theo and our city adventures were quite similar! Love that she has joined Rain People) . Jordan is a super hard working, stay at home mom of two, and runs her own business as well @cottonfoxshop !!
I have had many opportunities in the past year to get things made cheaper through manufacturing. When these opportunities have come up it has been so clear that that is not for Rain People. I feel so much pride in the fact that I can employ three women and support them to take care of their families. None of us makes more than the other, we talk all the time and I have found three amazing friends who rely on each other and support each other.
Each garment that comes from Rain People is made with love, and the care of four great women who love what they do.
Thank you so much Alison for sharing a bit more about your incredible brand.
This post is not sponsored but I am proud to be a brand ambassador for this wonderful Canadian company. You may have seen Mae in a few of their Instagram posts :).
Rain People has kindly offered 15% off for 3 days only with the code ** 600SQFT ** . Ends June 30th at Midnight. Click Here to jump to their website.