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  • Ettie Wexsteen

West Bridgford entrepreneur's unique clothing stocked across the globe

Entrepreneur Ettie Wexsteen has seen her small business go from strength to strength just one year after she left her day job to focus on her side-project full time.

The 26-year-old, who's nominated in the Rising Star category at this year's Nottingham Post Women In Business Awards, has seen her children's clothing company Wexbaby expand far beyond her West Bridgford home base, which is where she currently runs the business out of two bedrooms.



Miss Wexsteen left her job as a trainee assistant buyer at Matalan last year after setting up her children's clothing business as a source of extra income in 2014.


She now spends her time managing the company alongside her sister Sally Wexsteen who hand draws the unique designs inspired by her French heritage, while the sisters' cousin in France hand writes designs for the garments.



"I first started Wexbaby on the side just as a way to make some extra money, but as soon as I started to make the same wage I left my job to focus on it full time," she told Nottinghamshire Live. "It's all French inspired as our biological dad is French, and it's just been a great way to get people interested in a different culture."


In addition to the family members working together on hand crafted the designs, the company's mascot is also a cartoon design inspired by Miss Wexsteen's grandfather.


The business first came about after a trip to visit their biological grandparents in France when Miss Wexsteen noticed her sister's doodles as she sketched the mascot, named Pepe.


She said: "Sally was sat doodling and I asked her to elaborate on some of her sketches. A light-bulb moment, these would look great on a t-shirt.


"Having grown up being a bit of an emo, her creations usually have a bit of a dark edge to them, something I think she really nails with Pepe. The moment she finished her first version of Pepe we knew we were onto something. We both fell head over heels in love with him.


"On the back of this euphoric realisation, we set about designing some other tops. This snowballed into samples, sourcing our materials and setting up our website and social media."


Miss Wexsteen's designs are now sold in 23 boutiques worldwide and are available in as far afield as France, Australia, and China. The designs have also been exhibited in the National Gallery of Melbourne alongside the Dior exhibition.


The entrepreneur is also doing her bit to give back, working closely with The Fostering Network campaign after both she and her sister grew up in care.

Wexbaby first collaborated with the charity last year before teaming up again with the company this year by donating £3 from the sale of each specially designed tote bag available via the website.

"It just felt like the right thing to do," she said. "Kids in care are often overlooked and it's a bit of a taboo subject, so it's important to highlight that.

"I think it's also helped out customers to hear more about our story. The response has been lovely."

She added: "Wexbaby is my creation. It’s something I made, and nurtured, and that grows as I grow. The stronger I am, the stronger it is. I learn new things every day, and it fills me with the strongest sense of purpose. I’m very protective of it."


She now has plans to expand the company even further, with the hopes of one day opening her first Wexbaby boutique.


"Right now it's just about manageable but I walked by an empty shop next to a bakery the other day that gave me a lot of ideas," she said.


"I'd like to have a shop one day where we can have kids coming in and colouring and we can have t-shirts printed in store."


The entrepreneur is also doing her bit to give back, working closely with The Fostering Network campaign after both she and her sister grew up in care.


Wexbaby first collaborated with the charity last year before teaming up again with the company this year by donating £3 from the sale of each specially designed tote bag available via the website.


"It just felt like the right thing to do," she said. "Kids in care are often overlooked and it's a bit of a taboo subject, so it's important to highlight that.


"I think it's also helped out customers to hear more about our story. The response has been lovely."


She added: "Wexbaby is my creation. It’s something I made, and nurtured, and that grows as I grow. The stronger I am, the stronger it is. I learn new things every day, and it fills me with the strongest sense of purpose. I’m very protective of it."

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