The fun, vibrant and timeless children's dungaree brand Dotty Dungarees was founded in 2013 by two friends, Alice and Georgia, who, similarly to Ruby and Milly, met at a previous job before taking on the rather mammoth task of building a business together.
After chatting more to Alice and Georgia, we realised that both as companies and as people we had so much in common with them; not only are we all obsessed with food and dungarees alike (an unlikely but nonetheless great duo), but we also share many similar values, with sustainability and quality of our products at the forefront of what we do.
We had such an interesting chat with them that we wanted to share all we learnt, as we believe so many of you will love them too! Keep reading and you might also find a little treat to get your hands on your very own pair of their coveted dotty dungers...
- Where did you two meet, and where did the idea for the business come from?
We met at our very first job out of university. We pretty much shared a desk since then - even if it is often virtual as we have travelled a lot and covid and children etc…. but we speak every day. The idea for the business came from having babies (Otto and Dolly - hence the name!) and wanting to find the perfect pair of dungarees, comfy, unisex and practical. We didn’t find what we wanted so created our own! Classic, retro, super comfy… a go-to for the humble dungaree which has to be the quintessential clothing for adventurous kids all over the world!
- What has been / is your favourite part of the job?
The freedom and excitement to be doing your own thing and the pride that comes with even the little successes. Even now every positive customer review gives us a little 'yay' moment, and we love the lovely shops we work with all over the world! And it’s also lovely to be doing something challenging (turns out running a business is harder than I might initially have imagined even if it basically only have one product!), but which involves the kids who test the clothes and do the photo shoots etc.
- Where do you most draw inspiration from for your business and designs?
Our own children - the thing about dungarees is that they have been worn by children for so many years and they really do epitomize childhood freedom and innocence and adventure. The adventures they have now and the worlds they live in, exploring and building castles in the sky, are the exact same as children ten or twenty or fifty years ago. And will be the same as kids decades from now too. So it’s not about reinventing things each season, they are timeless and classic and that’s why we love them, but it’s so fun to see what kids get up to in them and then decide on new themes and prints and colours and tops to go with them. Even increasing our sizing next year to go up to size 10 was because my eldest son has got back into wearing them in a different, tweeny sort of way.
- Much like ByRuby, Dotty Dungarees is female-founded. How important is this element of your business for you?
Super important. It’s hard to juggle children and a business, especially when it’s growing as fast as Dotty, so it’s essential to work with like minded people who understand that the perfect balance is basically impossible. With three children each, there are days when we are not as productive as we’d like to be but we know that’s okay. Women are amazing in their ability to juggle a ton of different things and our business is not only female founded but female focused - our customers are primarily women, the wonderful shops we work with are almost entirely run by women and as our own team is growing, it is women we are hiring too as it’s just a really natural fit.
- Where is next on your travel list, be that for work or pleasure?
We’ve been trying to get to New York for over a year now! Sadly due to COVID we haven't been able to travel to all our usual trade shows and we are desperate to get out there and meet our buyers! Wouldn’t mind a little trip to somewhere hot too, to soak up the rays that were desperately missing in our British summer!
- As busy, working mums with lots of demands on your time, what do you do to unwind?
Alice - I watch junk TV and read history books… the books balance out the TV!
Georgie - I love a movie, supper with my husband or friends, trip to the beach. And also a book - less history for me, more fiction although I do love a good memoir or biography!
- Do either of you consider yourself a foodie, and do you enjoy cooking when you have the time?
Alice - I LOVE food. Sadly - and unlike my mother, sister and brother - I didn’t inherit many skills in the kitchen but I love nothing more than browsing cookbooks and wishing I could do it!
Georgie - I adore food! Set up a food society at university and have a food writer for a sister who I shared a flat with for ten years so I watched and learnt. I cook tons and I really believe that food can literally change your whole day - a good one makes it and a bad one can almost ruin it! I cook a lot with the kids who love it and I feel like it gives them real confidence to know what they are doing in the kitchen!
- Finally (quite a hard one!): If you had to choose just one meal (starter, main and pud) and drink to have for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Alice - so hard. Can I say pasta and have any variety?! Or is that cheating? Starter: Burrata and tomatoes; Pasta or any type, shape or flavour; donuts with jam in the middle. I can’t resist a donut.
Georgie - oh man… I never order the same thing in a restaurant twice so picking one meal forever feels like torture! But I think I might have to go for a salad to start (green, crunchy and maybe you can play around with the dressings and contents a bit?!). Potatoes are my absolute fave so I’d like a main that has a bit of every kind - mash, skinny chips, roast potatoes etc… and a roast chicken (so you could have some days with breast, crispy wings etc and loads of different sauces, gravies, dressings) with chinese aubergines and green beans as a side. Baguette with salted butter as well. And for pudding a mango and some really good chocolate - probably dark with almonds and sea salt. Just re-reading that it sounds like a lot of food!!! But small portions of lots and lots of different things.
Georgie and Alice have very kindly given ByRuby customers 20% off a pair of their gorgeous Dotty Dungarees. To claim, use the code BYRUBY20 at checkout at dottydungarees.com