Thursday, 10 April 2014

Work.Life.Balance? Carly Hardy of Little Titans talks work-life balance

Carly Hardy is the founder of Little Titans.  As a forces child, Carly Hardy grew up all over the place. Her Dad was a fighter pilot in the RAF and she moved around a lot. Carly currently lives in Blackheath, London with her husband Crispin and her two children Matilda and Kit. She worked in environmental sustainability until the birth of her second child Kit in 2009.  It was during her maternity leave that Carly became frustrated with the dirth of cool stuff for little boys and decided to design tights with little boys in mind.  The super-cool designs have featured on Vanity Fair, You Magazine, The Telegraph magazine, Sunday Times Style, as well as numerous international publications (for press coverage have a look here).  Carly loves design, avocados and Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.

1.     What are the greatest challenges in being a working mother?
For me it’s the switching from one role to the other and the bits and bobs of time that you get. My youngest hasn’t started school yet and although he does go to nursery I never seem to get huge chunks of time when I can really get stuck into a task. That said, it works both ways and because I work for myself, I can always juggle things around to ensure I make the school play or can volunteer for afternoon story-telling at nursery.

For me, being a working mum also seems to come with a lot of guilt. We women seem to constantly beat ourselves up about stuff – guilty if we do work, guilty if we don’t! Where on earth does it come from? I guess that’s a whole separate interview topic…

2.     What is your personal top tip to making it work - or what should you really avoid as a pitfall?
I don’t feel that I’ve totally nailed this whole working mum thing, so I’m not sure how worthy I am to offer advice here! However, I’ve known my husband Crispin since I was 12 years old (although we got together much later) and he understands that I will always need to work. It’s a natural drive I have and often I see Little Titans as my mental health policy. I found it very difficult having the children as my sole focus. Of course, Kit and Matilda are without doubt the most important thing in my life, but I think it helps our relationship that I work. It means that I don’t get too fixated with their lives and achievements and that everyone around the dinner table has their own activities and projects to talk about. I am lucky too in that Crispin has his own business and makes time to share the childcare duties. Quite frankly, if he worked for a big corporate and faced the workplace inflexibility that many of my friends face, I don’t think that Little Titans would exist. I see things changing slowly with regard to flexible working, but it’s still an uphill struggle for working mums and dads.  

3. What do you love most about being a working mother?
It makes me feel proud. It’s tough, but incredibly rewarding. I want Kit and Matilda to see that if you work hard and believe in something you can make it happen. That has to be one of the most important lessons in life, right? I don’t remember school telling me this stuff (I probably wasn’t listening!), but I truly believe that you can make amazing things happen if you want it enough and you work hard enough. Simples.

4.     Describe your perfect day
Sunny day at a cracking British Festival with our kids and friends. There’s something so wonderful about being outside all day and night. We normally do Glastonbury, but tried Wilderness this year and loved it: brilliant Kids’ Field, a magical lakeside spa and the most amazing Midnight Masked Ball. We transport the kids around in a sheepskin-lined wheel barrow when they get tired!

5.     When in doubt, what is your killer confidence booster - this could be an outfit, a beauty trick or a mantra
Ok, maybe it’s not cool to say this, but I absolutely love Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. If ever you need reminding of how fabulously intelligent, ambitious and caring women are, just tune in!

6. Who or What inspires you, as an individual, as a mother, and as a professional?
Inspiration is everywhere, isn’t it? It’s that mum at the school gates who’s still cheery and brave despite a seriously poorly child. It’s my parents, who started life with very little and worked so hard to achieve amazing things. It’s that moment in the school play when the little ones all sing that song that you have heard piecemeal at the dinner table/ lights out time (driving you mad!) and suddenly it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard (god, if there’s one thing that gets me every time it’s a choir of small children). Life’s so crazy busy these days, the problem isn’t finding inspiration, it’s slowing things down so that you actually feel it.

And finally…
Cupcakes or cocktails? Cocktails

Handbags or shoes? Shoes

Kindle or paperback? Paperback

What else would you like to talk to Mama and More readers about?
During the past few years I have asked so many people for advice and guidance on how to start and take my business forward. Not once was I rebuffed and it is these small kindnesses that have made Little Titans a success.  I would recommend that anyone planning to start their own business speak to as many people as possible.  I am still completely green in so many areas of business, however, if anyone reading this article ever wants to chat, please do get in touch. I have garnered a lot of kindnesses that I need to pass on.

If you would like to hear more about Little Titans, do check out the links below:

I hope that you enjoyed reading this Work.Life.Balance? interview.  If you would like to see past interivews, the archived posts are here, and they are also grouped onto my Women and Work.Life.Balance Pinterest board, so do check it out and follow the board for regular updates.

If you would like to take part in the Work.Life.Balance? interview series, please email me here, I'd love to hear from you.

Carly has kindly offered a set of 3 Little Titans tights for boys as a competition prize, and they will ship internationally also - all you need to do is follow the rafflecopter instructions below.   The only mandatory is following on Facebook, and if you wish you can then have extra entries through the other mechanics.

I ordered 2 sets of Little Hero tights a year ago - one as a gift and one for my boy for those days of staying at home, and wearing with a t-shirt, and I have to say he looked super-cool!  The winner will win a pair of Regatta Stripe, Atomic Orange Socked and one novelty pair of the winner's choosing (i.e. either Little Sport, Little Hero or Wild Thing).

Little Hero

Regatta Stripe

Atomic Orange

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great giveaway! So true, mothers cannot stop feeling guilty... Mel #BrillBlogPosts

  2. Lovely story, very inspirational to the rest of us! I'm with you on the school kids singing together - that song that drives you loopy for weeks when it's sung at home, but suddenly with the rest of the class it's the most tear-jerking thing ever!

  3. What fabulous advice. Her relationship with her husband sounds so solid too - important to have that behind you. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo :) x

  4. Great post...the feelings of guilt, comparisons, inadequacies, etc. never cease.
    Thanks for sharing Carly's story with us. Now where did she get those booties?? I love them!

  5. Adored this interview, think it might be my favourite so far or one of them at least-love how honest she is about not having fully nailed the motherhood/work thing because I relate to that, balance and the juggle is always a challenge but I like Carly, need to work to feel content. Adored this. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  6. I'm responsible for my little guy for 12 daytime hours a day with no grandparents or helpers around, I totally get the feeling of not having enough time to really get into a project. But I have to say....judging by the design of those super cute tights she is doing something RIGHT!! These are so missing from boys fashion and are so much more comfortable and practical than pants, LOVE THEM and jsut entered the giveaway (thanks for hosting btw!)

  7. all babies NEED TIGHTS! i swear by them for my boys, fab giveaway

  8. Ah what lovely tights- have entered!
    I work from home and still find the work/ life balance thing tricky. So easy to keep working once the kids are in bed...


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