Style icon Iris Apfel once said, ‘more is more and less is a bore.’ And, well, this idea fairly accurately sums up the littleWren editors’ approach to fashion. We love bold statement garments, an over-use of bright colours and items that scream, ‘I’m an individual. Hear me roar!’. This is exactly the reason we have fallen head-over-heels in love with Australian jewellery label Ingo. We spoke to Hats and Grace, the duo behind this fun-focussed company to find out where they seek inspiration …
Tell us, who’s the makers and shakers behind Ingo?
We are best mates Hats and Grace, both 24, from Brisbane. Hats is studying to be an occupational therapist, and Grace is a graphic designer.
What inspires your super fun designs?
Our designs are very simple. They have mostly emerged through imagining what we would want to wear, playing with simple shapes and seeing what works.
The best part is then bringing the designs to life with colour – we draw so much enjoyment from creating different colour combinations and seeing how different they make each pair of earrings feel. More recently we have started themeing our collections in terms of colour; for our New Year’s Eve collection we focused on glitter everything – and for our current Australiana collection we have drawn on the amazing colours found in the Australian landscape.
Who are your style icons?
People who are really true to what they love and also like to have fun with what they wear. All of our customers who visit us at markets or post pictures in our earrings constantly blow us away. In terms of the Ingo brand, our style icons would be people like Iris Apfel or Solange Knowles; people who have a sense of brightness and joy in how they dress.
What’s your approach to fashion and dressing up?
Comfort is key for us. As cliché as it is, as long as you feel comfortable and good in what you have on then that will be ultimately reflected in how you carry yourself and how others see you too. We are both predominantly very casual dressers, but also love an opportunity to get fancy. And Ingo dangles always of course.
Did you always want to run your own business?
We completely fell into it! It was one of those classic scenarios where we started making the earrings for ourselves, then friends wanted pairs, then we did our first market and it just grew from there! We feel so lucky to be supported by our friends, family and especially our customers who are seriously the coolest people.
What do you love most about what you do?
Being able to participate in markets like Finders Keepers and meeting our customers face-to-face has us almost in tears with happiness every time. It really is the best feeling to see people get excited about something you’ve made and everyone who buys from us is always so warm and friendly – and when they come and visit us more than once it is truly special.
Also spending so much time together! What started as a fun activity between friends has grown to such a wonderful project and being able to do it with your best mate is amazing.
What’s the biggest challenge you face owning a small business?
Balancing Ingo with our busy schedules – we both work or study full time as well as maintaining other hobbies and pastimes and the hardest part is staying on top of orders and finding time to push the business forward.
What’s your advice for our readers who’d like to start their own creative business?
Just start. You’ll be amazed at the support people around you give once you put yourself out there. And make friends with other makers!! We have this great community of people we’ve met at markets and they all support and share each other’s work – and it makes you feel like you’re part of something instead of trying to make it happen alone.
What’s your best style tip for snappy dressing?
Figure out what clothes make you feel best when you wear them (and why) and keep that in mind when shopping. And when in doubt, add giant Ingo earrings that will both distract everyone from the rest of your outfit and are almost guaranteed to get you compliments all day long.