WONDER WOMAN: KATIE BRANNAGHAN // DIRECTOR HIPKIN KIDS ONLINE STORE
Katie Brannaghan is a Wonder Woman.
The personal background to this story began almost 8 years ago when Katie had her first child Milla, and I had just had my first son Maximilian. Katie and I were the first amongst our friends to have children and soon became firm 'daytime-play-daters', sharing countless hours in cafes over baby-cinos, helping each other through the hazy first years of motherhood. I remember vividly the day Katie first told me about her idea to launch an online kids store because she spoke with such conviction and passion about her idea that it seemed a reality before it had even begun.
Katie is a visionary. She is determined and tenacious and has achieved an unbelievable amount in the three short years since she launched her now (literally) world-famous online store. Starting as a home based business selling a select few brands and some hand picked vintage pieces Katie along with Business Partner Bec Cunnington, has gone on to discover and source some of the most premium kids brand names in the world (including the likes of Acne Miniature, Bobo Chooses, I Dig Denim and Cheap Monday Baby) thanks largely to Katie's exacting eye and on-the-money taste. Self taught in almost every capacity - from buying and product sourcing through to photoshop and website maintenance - the store now has a phenomenal following of loyal mama's keen to catch the Hipkin edit on what's next.
We caught up with Katie and gorgeous second daughter Yvie at her beautiful home in Melbourne and asked her to select her pick of our latest range for this magical photo essay shot by Yes! Journal Chief Photographer Breeana Dunbar.
- Kerryn x
Tell us a little about your work, what do you do? Why do you do it?
I am the founder and director of Hipkin, an online children’s boutique that sources and stocks the coolest kids’ clothing from around the world, with an emphasis on Scandinavian streetwear.
I consider myself very lucky, as my work morphed naturally from being a mother; having done a lot of travel to Europe and the UK since before my daughters were born - my husband is British – I found that the clothes I had bought there for the girls would get a lot of comments here in Melbourne. Over time I became aware of a huge gap in the market here and decided to found Hipkin in response. My business partner Bec and I have established Hipkin as the shortcut to the best and freshest global and local brands.
I do it because, although I love my kids to bits and honestly love being a mother, I crave the inspiration and challenges that come with running my own business. It’s tough but so rewarding.
Tell us about your creative process. Do you have any work rituals or habits you follow?
My life is all about rituals and routines, as I’m sure any working parent can relate to.
My creative process is not really traditional, more organic I guess you could say. I derive a lot of pleasure from beautiful design and find inspiration for Hipkin from multiple sources; art, architecture, classic cars, fashion, nature.
I have an array of blogs, websites and other digital platforms through which I trawl on the daily basis, and I follow a lot of really interesting and clever creatives on Social Media, who never cease to amaze me with their talent.
I am also heavily into music, old and new. My husband is a vinyl freak, and he is constantly expanding our music library with great tunes to get me through the day.
Describe your work environment. Do you work from a studio, office, café or at home? How does the space influence you?
Again, I consider myself really lucky in this regard, as technology allows me the flexibly to run Hipkin from just about anywhere on the planet!
We do have an office / warehouse, from which Bec and I work a few days per week. It’s a great environment; we share a building with an architectural practice and some independent film and TV producers, so there is plenty of creative buzz there.
However my workday always starts and ends at home. I run all of Hipkin’s digital marketing and social media, and due to the global nature of the business this takes place at all hours of the day. So if one of the girls is sick, or I need to be home for any other reason, Hipkin still ticks over. We have a beautiful home, we just love it, and many of our Hipkin photo shoots take place there, which makes Hipkin feel very personal.
I’ve run Hipkin from bed, from a beach house, the British countryside, my favourite café, even the school gate!
What is one thing in your life you are proud of? This can be anything, professional or personal.
I’m really proud of having transformed a crazy idea into a tangible and successful business. Had you asked me five years ago if I could see myself creating and running my very own business I’m not too sure I’d have said yes.
I’m also quite proud of my (continuing) improvement as photographer and art designer; 95% of what we post on Hipkin is done by us. I am 100% self-taught, and although I still have a lot to learn, I feel like I’ve actually achieved a lot, both creatively and professionally.
What does being ‘radical’ mean to you?
Radical to me is about busting out of comfort zones; personally, creatively, in business. Trusting my gut to start Hipkin was pretty radical for me to be honest. I could have very easily decided it was all too hard, but something inside my told me I needed to do it. I’m so glad I did.