Interview with Lucy Bestall, Founder of What Ted Wore


Tell us a little bit about how What Ted Wore started. 

Before I started What Ted Wore, I was a visual designer for a handbag company. The plan was for me to go back to work, however they couldn’t offer me flexible hours. I always wanted to start my own clothing brand, but needed to build up the courage. After having Ted, I really missed being creative. We decided to move to Bristol and that was when I made the decision to start What Ted Wore. Now Ted goes to nursery one day a week and business is getting busier and busier. At the moment it’s a great balance. It works.

How do you manage the constant need to use technology, (online sales/insta etc.) while looking after Ted?

What Ted Wore started on Instagram. There's no physical shop. It's all done through online sales. Most of my customers are online, so I have to be present on social media. I'm a stay at home mum, that's my main job, so when Ted is awake I focus on him. I use time when he’s napping or after bedtime to catch up on social.

How do you fit What Ted Wore around family time?

Family time is the most important time. I try to keep launches and everything about the brand between Monday and Friday, so that I can spend time with my family over the weekend. My husband works in London for some of the week and commutes from Bristol. Thursday is our designated family day. Work life balance is really important to us.

Before What Ted Wore you had an Instagram featuring Ted in all sorts of cute outfits. What gave you the push to start your own brand?

Moving to Bristol has made things easier as we’re now so much closer to grandparents. It’s really helped having family around who love looking after with Ted. Nurseries in London were really expensive too! Initially, I had looked for part time jobs in Bristol but nothing stuck out enough to make it worth putting Ted in nursery. I loved hanging out with him and wanted to find something that could work around that. It was when Ted was around eight months old that I made the leap to start What Ted Wore.

Were you as stylish as Ted when you were his age?

I take inspiration from my mum! She's really stylish. I used to have a home cut fringe (lol). I have a fashion design degree from Bristol and I had visual merchandiser roles in London. I've always enjoyed doing visual displays, photoshoots and flatlays.



Tell us a little bit about embroidery and what attracted you to the idea of having embroidered designs for What Ted Wore? 

I love the quality of embroidery - it looks great but also lasts (which is what you need for toddlers!). It really makes a design stand out. I spent a lot of time finding embroiderers that were UK based and found this amazing little company in Shropshire that has been a huge help to me!

The ‘Milk Teef’ design is so sweet! Where did the idea come from?

I always keep my eyes open for inspiration. One day, while I was brushing Ted’s teeth, I noticed it said ‘Milk Teeth’ on the toothpaste tube. The idea around ‘Milk Teef’ began. We’d had a rubbish few days when Ted’s teeth were coming through. I know every other parents goes through it, so it’s something we can all relate to. I kept coming back to the idea. I knew I wanted the design to have the colours of the rainbow and to be bright and cute. It happened organically. I played around on the computer with the design. I tend to overthink things, but I've learnt that when it comes to designing sometimes you just have to go for it.



There’s an oriental feel to some of the designs, is there a story behind that?

I love Japan! Me and my husband went there for our honeymoon and we absolutely loved it! It blew my mind. Back when I was working in London, one of my coworkers spoke Japanese. While I was pregnant with Ted, she would call my bump ‘momoko’, which means ‘little peach child’ in Japanese. It’s now the design for one of What Ted Wore’s sweatshirts. I definitely want to take Ted to Japan one day.

How does Ted feature in your creative process?

Each item is something I’d love Ted to wear - stuff I wish I could find in the shops for him. I also knew I wanted the designs to be unisex. When shopping for clothes for Ted, I used to see a big disparity between the boys’ and girls’ sections. There was so much more to choose from if you had a girl. I wanted to help remove some of the stereotypes and create something all kids could wear.

Does Ted know that he's the official model for What Ted Wore and that his mum is behind it?

He sees himself in the pictures for the website. He seems to like that. But, to be honest, he’s pretty hard to capture on camera. He's not one of those children who just lets you take their picture. Sometimes I have to run ahead and start snapping, or my husband helps me by getting his attention so that I can finally take one!

What would you like your customers to know about What Ted Wore?

I’d like them to know that it's just me doing it. There's nothing fancy. The stock is literally a stack of clothes in my closet. I’m so grateful for every single person who likes or comments on one of my posts or buys one of my designs. It means a lot. Customers are great at sending through photos of their kids wearing the products too. That really helps. I really appreciate it. It means I get to spend more time with Ted.

What would be your one piece of advice for mum entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

If you have an idea and you think it could work, just go for it. So many people said that to me when I was starting out and it really was the best advice. Just think, what have you got to lose? I was really scared of starting my own thing. But then I looked ahead and realised I didn't want to get old and still be wondering what it would have been like to have tried. I was afraid of what people would think. I also knew I wanted to launch on Instagram and I knew how important Instagram stories would be. That was a really scary concept to me at the time. But I knew that people would want to see that I was a little independent brand. People like to get to know the people behind a brand. So I needed to build up some courage before I could start. And then when I did, it felt so right and I kept thinking ‘Why didn't I do this sooner?’. You just need to believe in yourself.



Thank you to Brunna Pimentel for conducting the interview and writing the article.

Leave a comment and let us know what you think. Shall we do more stories about how women started their businesses?


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