At little P, Philippa Briscombe designs beautiful heirloom and bespoke rugs, ideal for nurseries or playrooms. Philippa shared the inspiration behind her brand, her take on motherhood and creativity and her favorite way to pamper herself.
We love your designs—what prompted you to start little P?
The idea of little P bloomed when I was visiting mills in India with my husband and our youngest child (then 8 months old) in tow. We were already developing The Palmer Studio, a bespoke rug company, and thinking about our point of difference in the market.
As a mum of four kids, it was hard to ignore the lack of selection for children’s rugs. Most appeared ‘cheap,’ with generic design and poor quality. With little P, we wanted to create beautiful products with attention to unique design and quality that would be lasting, functional and hypoallergenic.
Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration abounds everywhere…. I don’t design to follow fast fashion, but I do keep abreast of the trends. So although fashion has some influence on our collections, for me, travel and art are very inspirational in the design process.
Everything we design and produce has to pass the ‘little P’ test. Is it high quality? Is it original? Is it fit for purpose and going to stand the test of time (i.e., the wear and tear of kids)? Is it beautiful as well as functional?
We try to create products that are multi-functional and can be used for long periods of time. They are intended to be the opposite of fast fashion and furnishings.
We’ve seen a lot of debate about whether motherhood boosts creativity or saps it. As a mom of four, how has having children affected your creativity?
Nobody gets something done like a busy person! Motherhood has increased my creativity. My experience as a mum to four really informs my design process and has shaped my product ideas. I also love that my older kids are creative, and I value their feedback and ideas when it comes to new designs.
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
I love cooking, but I hate the monotony of planning our evening meals, and dread the question “What’s for dinner, Mom?” I would love someone to do that for me.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
I have two favorites. In Hong Kong, where we live, it would be sneaking off for a foot massage by myself in the middle of the afternoon. My other favorite is flying long haul without kids, and no Internet. It is such a treat being able to get immersed in a movie without distraction.
What is your best parenting hack?
Pretending macaroni and cheese was from the box (sitting on the counter), when it was actually made from scratch and very healthy!
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
That when I became a mother, I was given the phone number for Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy— so I have a direct link in case I need to report bad behavior!
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
My eldest is in his final year of school. He is driven, disciplined, dependable, caring and respectful…. He still tells me he loves me and gives me hugs. He has grown into such a beautiful young man and that makes me very proud.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
Do what you love, but don’t expect things to always come easily. Success is grounded in hard work and perseverance.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
As a mother: Don’t be afraid to enforce boundaries with your kids and to be the one in charge. It is okay to be unpopular—it’s part of the job, especially with teens.
As a mother with a business: I used to think that I had to wait until everything was in place and perfectly planned before starting my own business. I realized that in as a mom, there is no perfect time – there’s always going to be some level of chaos around you!
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
Balance is a tricky notion and I am not sure I have it yet. Motherhood is hard work, and the challenges are constantly changing depending on the age and stage your kids are at. Honestly, it is mostly a juggle between the needs of my kids, the business, and my relationship – and then my personal needs for time out.
My business is part of the family. Ultimately it is a team effort, and it wouldn’t have happened without my kids or my husband. I feel blessed to have my family along with the satisfaction of building a brand, however hard it may all sometimes be.
What was the last book you read?
Hot Milk by Deborah Levy – a fabulous, immersive holiday read.
Favorite Beauty Product:
Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow
Favorite Form of Exercise:
What is on your DVR?
On my last long haul flight, it was Patrick Melrose (TV series).
Favorite Kids Store: