Appleby Designs: Custom Cuteness and Cushions


Appleby Designs is a newly launched company located just two Tyne and Wear metro stops from our own Fashion North office in Sunderland, and we couldn’t be more excited. The company make children’s clothing and amazing cushions by hand. We’ve given you the low down on the company and given you a little bit of an insight into the story and the people behind it.

Andrea and Mark Bulmer launched Appleby Designs March this year. Their goal was to create something truly unique and completely different for the childrenswear market and they most definitely have. Whether you want a totally original party dress for your younger sister, daughter or niece, are looking for a cool baby shower gift or just looking for a couple of totally one of sofa pillows, Appleby have got you covered.

Appleby Designs is a website for custom handmade children’s clothing. It has a huge range of beautifully stitched, stunning dresses, pinafores and skirts for girls, and will soon be launching boys shirts as a new venture.

Andrea, 38, makes the dresses in her family home where she has a super cool room full of fabrics and rails of her own completely unique designs ready to be shipped. All seams are well stitched, and she even has a new summer range of kaftans which are just as childproof but beautifully feminine and oh-so-cute.


Mark, 40, who is also company director of his own recruitment company said: The fabrics we source come from all over the place, it’s all handmade, really robust. With Andrea’s eye of a parent, we know what kids are like and so we know how to cater to them.

Andrea also makes clothes for her own two little girls, who are four and fiver years old. “We’re going on holiday soon so we’re actually building up the kids wardrobes right now. The girls just love them, when they bring friends over, they just love coming into the office. We’ve only got one tutu left, we had loads but the girls’ friends always ask for them for birthday gifts.”

The reason that Fashion North think that Appleby is going to be a smash hit is the freedom that custom making the clothes gives Andrea and Mark. It means that orders can be turned around really quickly, and there are no size or age limits with customers.


Andrea says: “We get the orders turned around within 24 hours because we want to build a good reputation. Plus, as a customer I like to get things straight away and I don’t want to wait weeks. We work all night if we have to. Also I had an order recently from a woman who had a little girl who was three months and a little girl who was five years old. The dresses start from six months on the website, but she really wanted them dressed the same for a wedding, so I made the smaller dress as well. It’s really good to be able to do that. It lets you know what people are looking for as well.”

On top of all this, the clothing is affordable, which is one of the reasons that the couple decided to start the business. Mark said: “We would go into a boutique, buy a nice pair of shoes for the kids, and you could pay the same amount of money as you would in an expensive store for an adult. We still bought them because they were beautiful. The way we’re pricing things, they’re not so much where people exhale, but they’re enough, with us people can pay for quality. They can spend a little but more and get something different. It’s only a little but more compared to what you would get on the highstreet but it’s something  we’re excited about.”

At Fashion North, we’re super excited too, Appleby designs is definitely a refreshing approach to childrenswear, and we’re proud to say that it’s situated in the North East, a fine example of what North East retailers can do, and a step in the right direction.

Have a look at the Appleby Designs website and find out more:

Photography by Nina and Edyta at Newbornnewbornstory photography, Sunderland.

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