Danielle Hart became interested in design at an early age. It was something that was encouraged by her talented grandmother, who not only made her own clothes but also designed tights for a major retailer. Years later and now living in Compton Dundon with a family of her own, Danielle took the plunge and turned her creativity into a business, and it’s her children that inspire her brand today.
Danielle: "I founded Livi Lou Loops whilst I was on maternity leave with my daughter, Olivia Louise, who provides the inspiration for the name of my company – she is now firmly referred to in our family as Livi Lou. Whilst the company was started following the birth of Olivia, I think the true inspiration for why I started my little venture was literally at the hands of my son, who was born four years earlier. As most babies do, he took great enjoyment in playing, pulling, and chewing on my jewellery, particularly whilst feeding, which ultimately ended in them breaking. So when Olivia was born I set to work designing a necklace that was not only safe for her to handle and explore, but also something that was a stylish addition to my wardrobe – a necklace that could be worn with or without her, day and night. I think this is also the beauty of my necklaces. Whilst they were initially designed as a baby-friendly piece of jewellery that could be played with whilst feeding, or chewed on when teething, they last well beyond those years, and make a beautiful addition to any wardrobe, baby or no baby."
Danielle’s early inspiration came from her grandmother, but it’s her own children that now inspire her – and her product range.
Danielle: "My children really are the true inspiration behind Livi Lou Loops, and as they have grown so has my product range. As well as necklaces, I have also designed a range of teethers which feature attractive colours and shapes, and provide little ones with a fun item to fiddle with, whilst also easing some of the side effects associated with teething. When personalised with babies’ name, my teethers make a beautiful keepsake and something that will last beyond the somewhat painful years of teething. All of my products are handmade using food-grade silicone beads (the same material used to make silicone cooking utensils) as well as untreated wooden beads and accessories, all of which have been tested to ensure they contain no nasty toxins and are safe for baby to handle. Their shapes, colours, and textures stimulate babies’ senses, making them irresistible to tiny hands, and are a stylish and practical accessory for keeping babies and toddlers occupied."
Danielle’s necklaces and teethers are named everything from Autumn to Zara, and each one means something to her in its own special way.
Danielle: "As well as taking inspiration from my children, my designs are all named after family members and friends. I feel each of my designs has its own personality – whether it be a pop of colour reflecting a more energetic character amongst my friends, or a more neutral, soft pallet, representing a more reserved family member. They are all created with someone special in mind. My online shop contains a number of my pre-made designs, including my first (and most popular) necklace, the Olivia. All of my products can be customised, whether it be with the baby’s name, the colour of the beads, length of the necklace, or the accessories added. Each of my designs is always a little different to the last, and I like to think that’s what sets my products aside from some of the mainstream items you can buy on the High Street. I absolutely love working with mums, dads, grandparents… and anyone else, to create the perfect gift for mum and baby. My products are unique and individual to each mum or baby, and most importantly they are made with love."
And it’s that love that inspires Danielle to keep creating her products.
Danielle: "I love nothing more than attending a baby group and seeing a mum wearing one of my necklaces, or a baby chomping away on one of my teethers. There really is nothing more satisfying than seeing something you have created being enjoyed. I’ve had such wonderful feedback in regards to my products, and whether they have been bought as a gift, or by mum as a little treat to herself, I really do take motivation from the fact my products become a part, albeit a very small part, of a family’s journey."
Danielle’s passion for design and her products is clear, but why does she love Somerset?
Danielle: "My husband and I relocated to Somerset from a large city when we were expecting my son, and we have fallen in love with the country lifestyle. We live in the small village of Compton Dundon, and it is from here, more specifically, my dining room table, that all of my products are made. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by the beautiful Mendip Hills, and – much to my son’s enjoyment – we have tractors and cows passing our driveway every morning. Somerset is a beautiful county and a wonderful place to bring our children up. We really have fallen in love with it."