My Early Hour: Claudia Carvalho, founder of Piupia

“As I was on maternity leave, it seemed the perfect time to combine my design experience with my dad’s experience in textile manufacturing. So while rocking my son between naps, I designed the first prints…”. Meet Claudia Carvalho, founder of Piupia kids’ clothing…

Claudia Carvalho, 36, lives in London with her partner and their son Noah, four.

What’s your home like?
Modern and clutter-free but comfortable. I love being at home!

What time are you up in the morning?
Between 7.00/8.00 am.

What wakes you up?
My son. Usually demanding breakfast while cuddling and then jumping on top of me.

How do you feel?
Like I could sleep longer.

What do you do first thing?
My partner or I will prepare breakfast. After that it is usually a big rush to leave the house.

In three words, describe mornings in your home?
Tired, rushed and cuddly.

What’s for breakfast?
Usually porridge with toppings for my son. If I have time I will have a coffee & toast, otherwise I will grab something on the way.

How might the rest of your day pan out?
I will drop my son to his childminder and then I head to work. I always prepare a to-do list for the day, which helps me keep focus and most productive through all the different tasks. At the end of the day I will pick my son and head back home. Usually my son had dinner already, so we play a little bit and get ready for bed with a story. This is my favourite time with him when he tells me all about his superheroes and little adventures during the day! After he is in bed I’ll prepare dinner with my partner and if I still have some energy left I will try and squeeze in some extra work before bed… otherwise I will just relax and rest to be ready for another day.

What’s your workspace like?
I have my little corner in the house with my desktop. I usually do most work on it, but when I’m working on a new collection I tend to carry my tablet with me so I can doodle on the go. My son goes to the childminder four times a week and we spend one day together just the two of us.

Tell us about your business, Piupia…
I launched Piupia in 2013 and the idea came about from my recent discovery of kids’/baby fashion right after my son was born. As I was on maternity leave, it seemed the perfect time to combine my design experience with my dad’s experience in textile manufacturing. I wanted to bring something fun and with great quality… So while rocking my son between naps I designed the first prints and the first collection was born!

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What’s the greatest challenge when running your own business?
I think the hardest thing to do when running your own business is to disconnect, especially with social media making it harder these days. You really need to set some boundaries and enjoy the moment sometimes.

What makes it all worthwhile?
For me, every time I see a new collection for the first time it feels like Christmas. Getting all the great feedback from clients is just the cherry on top of the icing that makes it all worth it.

Are there aspects of the production that you delegate to others?
I cannot deal with accounts. I tried and failed miserably. When there is something I don’t like to do I tend to push it and push it away until I have no choice but to do it. So yes, I do delegate. But need to start delegating even more.

Are you a happy lone worker, or do you enjoy the buzz of a shared workspace?
I really enjoy the buzz of having people around me, but when I’m going through the design process I tend to try and isolate myself.

What’s the secret to career success?
I think perseverance. Understanding there will always be obstacles along the way, but you have to keep going.

Is the juggle real for you… do you find it difficult balancing motherhood/relationship/me-time/time for friends/career?
Yes I do find it quite hard and I doubt myself constantly – whether I’m spending enough quality time with my family.

Describe an ideal weekend?
The most casual ones when we plan as we go.

If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?

At the beach. With salty hair and sand on my toes.