Meet The Boss: Heather Watkins and Sarah Greenwell, of online company Great and Small Clothing

THEY say the hardest job in the world is being a parent.

But many will tell you it is also the most rewarding.

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So much so that two friends from County Durham have been inspired to create their own business as a result of their experiences of motherhood.

Heather Watkins and Sarah Greenwell, who have four young children between them, have launched Great and Small Clothing.

The mums have created a limited edition range of matching unisex sleepwear, with styles they say parents and children can enjoy wearing together, either on special occasions or all year round.

Heather said: “We know as parents we are always on the lookout for super soft fabric for our delicate little ones, along with a robust construction that lasts and one that complements our fun and quirky designs.

“We feel we have the right formula for the perfect pyjamas, and to add some fun, why not have them in adult sizes too.

“Each range is bursting with colour, graphic prints and the signature nature influence that defines the brand, with an aim to make you and your little ones smile by providing matching sleepwear your tribe can wear together.”

The pair met through their local antenatal class when they were both pregnant with their first child, and soon became good friends whilst sharing their experiences of starting a family.

“We had a common opinion that every child needs nice, comfortable pyjamas, complete with snuggly soft material to keep toasty warm – especially during the winter months,” added Heather.

“So we were determined to make little ones enjoy getting into their pyjamas and ready for bed, and what better way than creating a fun and stylish range for children.

“To add to the fun, we thought why not design matching adult versions, as it is not just the kids that love snuggly pyjamas and toasty nights.”

The pair’s new venture is quite a change from their previous careers.

Heather left her role as a programme manager for the Tees Valley Apprenticeship Programme and SembCorp Skills Development Programme with Cogent Skills to become a full-time mum.

“With a love for children and design, this was the perfect career path for me, allowing me the flexibility to fit around the children whilst doing something I love.”

Sarah, meanwhile, works around her children as a creative marketing consultant at Glow Creative Marketing, based in Durham.

“I enjoy working with businesses across the North-East on their brand new communications and creative marketing strategy,” she said.

But the pair soon discovered a gap in the market and decided to launch their own creations.

“We wanted to create a collection that was something a little bit different to what you would find on the high street” said Heather.

“The quality of the fabric was very important to us, so we spent nearly a year researching and sourcing the right fabric for our creation.”

Another thing important to the mothers is helping those who are less fortunate than them, and those who have family difficulties which are out of their control.

Because of this, Great and Small is donating a percentage of every sale to the Rainbow Trust children’s charity, which provides emotional and practical support to families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.

Heather said: “As parents, we live for our children and try our utmost to protect them from any harm, but sadly sometimes this is out of our hands.

“Thousands of families have to face the very real possibility that their child may die and struggle to cope on a day to day basis.

“That is a parent’s worst nightmare, so supporting the amazing work of charities like the Rainbow Trust was a must for us.”

Heather and Sarah will hope their designs can bring happiness to families right across the region.