My sister Sally and I grew up in care from 1999, the year our wonderful vivacious Mother finally gave in to her overwhelming demons and became unable to look after us.
We both developed an insatiable need to succeed and do well, in order to exceed others expectations of us as looked after children. We didn’t want to get lost in the system. Our foster parents are potentially the best human beings to ever grace the planet, and their unconditional love and support only fed our desire to chase whatever dream it was we wanted.
On one of our many holidays to France to visit our biological grandparents, 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. Sally has always been good at drawing little whimsical characters and cartoons. 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. I didn’t want to just churn out the designs onto any old rag, so I learned to pick and print using vinyl. This process is incredibly time consuming, and more expensive, but its worth it for the quality. Each item is individually hand crafted, like a little piece of wearable art. I didn’t anticipate how much other people would love Wex Baby, but they did. Orders started rolling in, a buzz started, people were excited. I got so excited, that I handed in my notice at work so I could focus on the project full time, a big risk, but one that has more than paid off in how happy its made me. As Wex Baby is a kids clothing brand, people are often surprised to discover that neither Sally or I have any children of our own. I half jokingly refer to my Labrador Bear as the official Wex Baby. What I will say is that Wex Baby 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. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out. Sometimes it makes me cry, both with despair and with unlimited joy. Wex Baby is our baby, and we can’t wait to share it with your real ones.
Even though we lost the opportunity to grow up with our biological parents, we have been able to live a very "normal" life. With both of us finishing school and having Universities degrees, I now have a successful childrens brand that celebrates both our childlike imagination and our French heritage, something we would have lost forever were it not for our foster-parents determination to maintain ties with our biological grandparents in France.
Unfortunately, other children who find themselves taken into the care system are not as lucky. A huge shortage of Foster carers results in kids being constantly moved a lot and split up from their siblings. Children with such unsettled home lives are often overlooked and miss out on opportunities.
By treating yourselves to products from our collection, you are supporting The Fostering Network who work tirelessly to ensure all children in the care system experience stable family life. After we proudly collaborated with the Fostering Network team last Christmas, we want to continue to support them and the +64,000 children who currently find themselves living in Foster homes by donating 20% of sales to them.
For more information on The Fostering Network and their amazing work, please visit - www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk