Singer and actress Kimberley Walsh talks kids’ fashion, raising two boys and growing her family…
Tell us about your latest project, Kimba Kids for Next. How did it all begin?
It came about quite organically. I mentioned to my family how I was struggling to find things for my eldest son, Bobby.
I felt that everything for boys on the high street looked the same – nautical or dinosaur prints. My brother Adam works in the retail manufacturing world, so together we started it as a side project.
It quickly became more than an idea, but, it still took a while; we started when Bobby was one and he’s four now, so that just shows how long it’s taken!
I’ve had a lot of other things on, and had another baby since then (Cole, 19 months). It’s been a learning experience, but there’s never been a better time to launch than now. We’re really happy with where Kimba Kids is at.
How was it working with your brother: Any sibling squabbles?
We haven’t argued since we were about seven or eight years old, we’re both quite chilled out really, probably because we’re the middle children of four. We have our own opinions though. I’ll find a colour I like and he’ll reply that it’s “not that commercial.”
I have strong views on what I like and don’t like, but Adam respects that – I’m representing the brand and need to believe in it. With the same token, Adam really knows the industry and I can’t argue with that.
The connection you feel when you’ve made something from scratch is totally different. With that comes pressure, but the reward is so much greater. It was exciting seeing it come to life at the recent campaign shoot.
Do you have a favourite piece?
I love both the camo combo and the camo sweatshirt. I can’t wait to get Bobby in it! Cole’s not quite big enough yet, but he’s been trying to put stuff on. I also love the girls’ grey jersey dress.
I wanted the collection to let kids have a bit of fun with their clothes. Once they like wearing something they want loads of different versions of it. Nothing in the collection has complicated fastenings, so children can dress themselves easily.
Having two boys, was it fun to design for girls too?
It was! Obviously, I’ve got my own taste and I drew on that, but I’ve also had a lot of input from friends with daughters – especially when it came to how they would dress their girls.
The little girl who would wear Kimba Kids is a bit of a tomboy and wants to be both comfortable and girly. That’s me, I never wanted to go down the floral dress route.
Kimba Kids’ sizing starts at three years old – will you look into a line for babies too?
I’d love to do baby sizes. I think it would need to be a separate entity and maybe start with gift sets. When you’ve had babies, you know what they like to wear, what to give your new-mum friends, and what’s actually useful. I’m big on comfort. I hate to see babies looking uncomfortable in jeans or anything too twee.
Being one of four, do you want to have any more children?
I always said I wanted four, but maybe I’ll have to accept three. Justin might need a bit convincing though – we’ve just started sleeping again!
We could leave a bigger gap next time, as there are only two years between Bobby and Cole. They’re very cute together though, so I’d still be happy if it was just two. We’ll see.
How were your pregnancies?
I didn’t find either pregnancy hard, so there’s nothing to put me off a third. Even if I had a bad third pregnancy I’ve got away with two good ones!
Would you say motherhood has changed you?
Motherhood changes you on so many levels. Being a mum is like joining a new club you never knew existed. From the minute they’re born, you put them before absolutely everything. It also made me way more emotional!
What were your favourite gifts when the boys were born?
The Sleepyhead was amazing for Bobby, but Cole wouldn’t go near it! My favourite gift for Cole was his personalised blanket from My First Years, he still loves it.
Where are your favourite places to shop for the kids?
I genuinely shopped at Next all the time, which is why we teamed up with them. Playful, comfortable clothes is what Next does best – and the next-day delivery is amazing too. I’m also a big fan of Scamp & Dude, Fred & Noah, as well as Inch Blue and Step2wo for shoes!
How about the kids’ bedrooms?
I’ve got to this point with neither of them having a themed room or nursery. Is that really cruel? I’ve let Bobby fill his with Stormtroopers.
Both of them are decorated with Farrow & Ball. Cole’s nursery is a lovely shade of green.
Where is your go-to for a day out with the kids?
We love Willows Activity Farm near St Albans and Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire. Bobby likes his home comforts, but Cole is such an outdoorsy kid.
My sister has three sons and none of them are anywhere near as boisterous as my two.
Where do you like to go in London for a date night?
If I’m going to treat myself, I love the food at Nobu. I went to the one near Old Street in London with some girlfriends recently.
What’s next for Kimba Kids?
We’re working on a spring/summer 2019 collection. It’ll include swimwear for boys, and mini-me designs for girls.
We’re also in the process of launching a retail website – it will mean we can release limited edition designs quite quickly, so that’s exciting.
Kimba Kids is available to buy now from Next online, prices start from £14.