Welcome to our first Future Female of the series, I am proud to introduce you to the wonder Woman that is Anna Cascarina from Little Flea kids directory, a Woman who works with passion and vigour, promoting a strong work ethic.
Anna is a fashion loving mum of two girls living in leafy Hertfordshire. She has a background in fashion styling and has also taught fashion in various colleges. After having her children she became interested in the children’s sector and started her own kids directory and magazine in September 2014.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about your background?
A. After 6 years studying at the London College of Fashion I began my career in fashion styling working for an array of different publications including my favourite job ever at Sugar Magazine. After having my first child 13 years ago, I went freelance and then began teaching fashion at the Fashion Retail Academy and a local college. After years of teaching, I began Little Flea.
Q. Why did you start Little Flea?
A. It was created out of a need for something more inspiring. The unique, the interesting, the style savvy – that’s what was missing and that’s why Little Flea was born. My background in Fashion Styling and having my own children inspired me to create a beautiful website full of beautiful things for kids.
Q. What’s your creative process?
A. I always start with an idea in my head and write loads of ideas around it. Usually this results in a complete change of direction or another idea taking shape. When creating Little Flea magazine, I start researching trends and ideas months before so that I can get a sense of what the theme will be, but of course this always changes!
Q. What do you love about being a your own boss and what are the challenges?
A. I love being able to dictate my own timings, working around the kids, making my own decisions and creating something that is entirely my own. However, I find working on my own incredibly lonely, sometimes uninspiring and such hard work that it is all-consuming at times. It is hard to get motivated in the mornings when there is noone there to push you. I need to work with other people!
Q. Can you tell us a bit about this latest magazine and what inspired you?
A. The latest magazine is called The Rock ‘n’ Roll issue and the Little Rockstars shoot came about while trawling Pinterest. I found myself pinning loads of old Rockstars like Blondie, Marc Bolan, Joni Mitchell and Jimi Hendrix and decided to do a 70s inspired shoot. It nearly didn’t happen as I couldn’t find a location that suited, however a good friend came to the rescue! The magazine is a place where all the independent brands that are on the Little Flea directory are featured editorially. It’s a difficult task as I need to ensure every brand is featured, but without it looking like a catalogue. I want it to have an editorial high end feel and with my background in fashion editing and styling, I hope I achieve this.
Q. There is s shift in how women work and when women work, was it a natural progression for you to go it alone and why?
A. I was made redundant when I was three months pregnant and I feel like this changed my career path forever. It was impossible for me to get another job while pregnant and after giving birth, it was months before I was ready to start looking for another job. Plus the industry I was in is notoriously bad for flexible working, so I couldn’t request part time hours. Therefore I turned to freelance work and then teaching when my children started school. Little Flea has definitely enabled me to set my own working hours. However, it has meant that I am always working in the evenings, constantly on my phone working when the kids are at home. Having your own business definitely has it’s pluses, but it also means you can never switch off. There’s the guilt that you’re working too much or the guilt that you’re not working enough – getting that balance right is so difficult. I definitely see a shift now and people like Anna from Mother Pukka are campaigning for flexible working for parents, so hopefully the next generation will have an easier time when they become parents.
Q. Who is inspiring you at the moment? Whether it’s creatively, on a personal level or a friendship?
A.Hayley Southwood is a constant source of inspiration both professionally and creatively. She has single handedly built up her business (Southwood Stores) and also runs an incredible hub called Southwood Social Hub where like minded women in business can find inspiration and advice. I am so proud to call her my friend. My other good friend Olga, is a huge support and inspires me daily. My husband is incredible and his support means the world to me – without him, Little Flea couldn’t continue.
Q. What are you reading at the moment?
A. I hate to say it, but nothing! I just haven’t got the time. I love reading, so am definitely going to change that. However, at the moment, I barely get time to read the latest edition of Oh Comely Magazine!
Q. If there was one thing you would changed about your life as a woman what would it be?
A. The way society portrays woman as objects. The need to be thin, be beautiful, be better. I would tell my 16 year old self that I am enough just the way I am.
Q. Are there key messages you are passing on to your child/children when it comes to gender equality, how important do you think it is to change the story around gender?
A. I want to give my kids the confidence and the tools to be proud of their gender, to know they can do anything and to stand up for what they believe in. I want the future females to have equality in the workplace, at home and amongst their peers. I have two girls and I hope that they are proud to be women. But it’s the parents of boys that need to really drum it into the next generation of men that women are strong, powerful and equal to them. This is vital in work and life but also in sex and relationships.
Q. What does Future Female mean to you?
A. Future Females are strong, proud and happy in their own skin
Q. How would you describe your style?
A. I would say I have an eclectic style that ranges from high street to a bit of high end to a bit of vintage. I love to mix it up and be playful with my style while remaining true to what suits me – especially as I grow older.
Head over to Little Flea Kids directory Little Flea Kids to discover the amazing independent kidswear brands, moving and shaking up the kidswear market. Which Anna has carefully curated into a one stop beautifully illustrated platform making your life easier!