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It's a child's life, with founder of Bonnie Baby, Tracey Samuel

If only she had known then, what she knows now… Founder of Bonnie Baby, Tracey Samuel, turns the clock back to a reimagined childhood

Posted: 10 September 2013
by Catherine Hudson

Tracey Samuel, founder of Bonnie Baby
Bonnie Baby AW13
Bonnie Baby AW13
Bonnie Baby AW13
Bonnie Baby AW13

If you were five years old again, what is the first thing you would do?

Build a den, or as we called it in Scotland, a 'Gang Hut'. I used to be a master Gang Hut builder, much to my dads dismay. I would pilfer anything useful from his garage to make the perfect den.

What advice would you give your five-year-old self?

Have as much fun as possible, don’t worry about silly things and give your family as many hugs and kisses as humanly possible.

What rules would you stick to?

Tell the truth and be kind and thoughtful to those around you.

What rules would you break?

Be loud, be adventurous and above all, always colour outside of the lines!

If you could, would you do anything to change your character?

I would have liked to have been more confident as a child. I have totally grown into having red hair and pale skin. It's become my trademark, so I wouldn’t have it any other way now but as a child I got the usual ‘ginger' teasing that kids do. So, to have been able to stand up for myself at an earlier age would have been good.

Would you play more or try to learn harder?

Play more, definitely. Then I fully believe that you are more open to learning better.

Knowing what you know now, what would you want to be when you grew up?

It sounds a bit clichéd, but I always knew I wanted to do something artistic from a very early age, so I probably wouldn’t change anything. I’ve been really lucky to have a great career in fashion design. I’ve seen the world and done some cool things and now I’m on the rollercoaster that is running your own design business; and it’s a pretty thrilling ride!

What would you do for fun and hobbies?

I grew up in the countryside near Dunblane in Scotland, so I was always outdoors doing something: making Gang Huts, building dams in streams, off on my bike... I think we had so much more freedom in the 70s and 80s. I would go off exploring with friends and my mum would know I’d come back when I was hungry. I feel really sorry that my children don’t have that feeling of freedom.

What pearls of wisdom would you pass on to your five-year-old friends?

Use your dads' tarpaulin to roof your Gang Hut: mine was the driest for miles! Also, be creative. Make as much 'stuff' as you can and, lastly, remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

How would you dress yourself?

I was a bit of a tomboy. My mum used to cut my hair short so I was quite often mistaken for a boy! I think my favourite outfit was my bright yellow stripy T-shirt and my Osh-Kosh dungarees; mostly because it wasn’t a home made number that my mum was quite partial to making in the '70s - think swirly print dresses, usually in a matching set so my sister and I looked like a pair of curtains...

What would you ask to have for a slap up dinner?

Nostalgia about food from the 70s, now that’s tricky! I think it would have to be a prawn cocktail, followed by a gammon steak with a pineapple ring on top, and a banana split ice cream to finish. All washed down with a bottle of cream soda.

What would you insist upon doing if you only had one day to spend being aged five before returning to adulthood?

I’d go back to the days in the '70s when we actually had really hot summer days - even in Scotland. We used to go to a local river and swing out on rope swings and jump in the water. It was really quiet and only a few families knew about the spot, so we had it to ourselves. 

What are you currently working on, as an adult in 2013? 

The spring summer 2014 collection for Bonnie Baby. We have just shown at trade fairs and have had a fantastic response: think dip dyed yellows and melting pink lollypops mixed with fun tiger motifs and bunny rabbits.

I’m also looking forward to launching autumn winter 2013 to retail over the next few months and can't wait to see our penguin sweaters, geometric prints and stripes in stores.

For a list of stockists or to buy online, visit

Did you know? Bonnie Baby was Highly Commended in the Baby Designer Fashion category in the Junior Design Awards 2012 


Don't miss... The Junior Meets hub of exclusive interviews, inside scoop interviews and quirky Q&As, with exciting interviewees including: Tommy HilfigerSir Paul SmithStella McCartney and lots of other influential fashion designers, authors and illustrators including Quentin Blake and Jeff Kinney, great business minds including Lord Alan Sugar and, everyone's favourite fashionable frog, Kermit.

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