This emerging Adelaide designer has your Sweet Pea’s Christening gown sorted

How small business owner of Sweet Pea Souls, Katie Standish, transformed her business into a luxury baby occasion wear brand during COVID.

All images by @ekaterinashipova

Designer and small business owner Katie Standish started her collection of baby and children wear as a self-taught dressmaker and a passionate mother of two by surviving the pandemic bane and transforming her business, Sweet Pea Souls, into an elegant occasion baby wear label.

After over 10 years in the Occupational Health and Safety industry, Katie resigned in 2017. Her first child was on the way and she knew that working in high-risk environments and a fly-in-fly-out lifestyle wouldn’t be sustainable.

In 2018, as a full time mum with a knack for the creative and a love for fashion, Katie used the sewing skills her mother taught her to establish “Sweet Pea Souls”—a small family-owned business specialising in the wholesaling of embellished baby shoes.

“[We] quickly discovered that selling $20 baby shoes was not going to pay the bills,” Katie said.

“When COVID hit in the beginning of 2020, Sweet Pea Souls nearly shut its doors, but we didn’t give up.”

Sweet Pea Souls was among several South Aussie small businesses who, while suffering from the financial difficulty of the pandemic, were able to adapt and operate in a new and innovative way.

Katie was inspired by her own motherhood to reconsider the making of traditional “tablecloth lace” Christening gowns and began attempting bridal lace on a smaller scale.

“I noticed a gap in the market and, as a mum myself, I wanted to see modern trendy occasion wear options in stores.”

“Towards the end of the year, I started designing and wholesaling Christening gowns. 

“Within 18 months my label grew from having a couple of local stockists to having over 25 high-end stockists across the country.”

Katie’s love of textiles and bridal lace is reflected in her signature layered designs that uphold the gracefulness of Christening gowns without being afraid to divert from what’s “traditional”.

She offers dresses in a soft baby pink, floral inspired cuttings that’ll have your little princess looking like she’s resting in a bed of roses, and specialty beading that resembles a shrunken version of an intricate Paolo Sebastian dress.

In the last 6 months, Katie’s business has been “evolving like crazy” with her designs being hired on by Adelaide’s largest bridal centre, Jenny & Gerry’s, to design a custom collection of gowns that will be exclusive to their store.

Katie continues to make custom couture gowns for local clients from an atelier on her property in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs, while her small team of seamstresses hand-craft each gown to uphold the quality of her designs.

“I love what I do, I just sit and draw, because I sketch all my designs before I send them off to my seamstress team in China. It’s very exciting,” she said.

You can find Sweat Pea Souls gorgeous gowns and array of elegant baby shoes and accessories from five baby wear retailers in South Australia including Glenburn Road’s Bimbi, Papas Emporium on Henley Beach Road, Princes & Park in Brompton and Little Elegance Boutique on George Street. Katie’s dresses are on display at Payneham Road’s Jenny & Gerry’s.

​Learn more about Sweet Pea Souls via their website or Instagram.

To become a stockist click here.

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