Interview with local kids clothes designer and maker Caroline.

This week I am speaking to an inspirational local mum and the women behind the kids fashion brand The Forest Trail. Caroline lives in Forest Hill with her husband and two adorable boys lucky enough to be wearing beautiful clothes designed and hand made(!) by their own mother. Caroline has found her #workthatworks by doing something she loves which still allows her to spend valuable time with her young children.

Caroline with her youngest son.

Tell us a bit about yourself! I live in Forest Hill with my husband and our two boys (5 and 2). I’ve lived here for about eight years but grew up between London and Stockholm. Inspired by Scandinavian design, I make children’s clothes using sustainable fabrics. I love coffee, wine, Scandi Noir and sewing (don’t ask me to mend anything though).

Caroline’s sons modelling her collection.

How long have you been running your business and what inspired you to start it? I started The Forest Trail just over a year ago. When my youngest son turned one, I started looking at going back to work but really struggled to find a job that would both cover childcare costs and be flexible enough to allow me to spend a decent amount of time with my kids. The idea of making and selling kids’ clothes had been percolating for a while and I figured I didn’t really have anything to lose, so I opened up a shop on Etsy (an online marketplace for selling handmade items).

Gorgeous boys in matching PJs.

How do you juggle family life with two small children and running your business? My oldest son is at school but I look after my youngest full time, so I can only really sew when the kids are asleep. They used to be terrible sleepers but I think we’re finally through that now. Most of the time I feel really lucky to be able to do something I love and still spend a lot of time with my boys but if they won’t sleep or are unwell and the orders are piling up it can feel pretty tough. Since starting though I have met lots of others in a similar situation and it’s so nice to have a support network; people to bounce ideas off, to inspire you and have a whinge at. My husband is really supportive too.

Beautiful flamingo dress.

Where can we buy your stuff? You can find my Etsy shop at www.theforesttrail.co.uk. I’m also on Instagram (@theforesttrail) and Facebook (The Forest Trail).

Favourite piece from your collection so far? The milk sweater is my favourite — sweaters are my absolute favourite thing to make and wear — comfortable, practical and cosy! Plus I really love this print, maybe because it reminds me of Blur’s “Coffee & TV” (90s music really was the best!).

Caroline’s favourite — the milk sweater.

What’s your favourite thing about living in Forest Hill? I love the Horniman Museum for the views, the Walrus, the animal walk, the aquarium and Busy Bees — their brilliant story sessions for under fives. I also have a lot of love for all the coffee places, pubs, shops, restaurants and the lovely community spirit in Forest Hill.

Interactive storytelling at Horniman Museum.

What improvements would you like to see in the area? The traffic is crazy, especially on the Perry Vale side of the station and I feel there really should be some lights there. I’d like to see a better and safer cycling infrastructure too, I love cycling but not on the A205.

Thanks for your time Caroline! Now head over to www.theforesttrail.co.uk to see more of the collection and place your orders. Use the code SE23delivery for free local delivery.

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