Thursday 4 June 2015


Philip Thompson was born and raised in Cork, Ireland, but now lives on a small island called Boipeba in Bahia, Brazil. In 2008 he moved to South America with his wife and young son and at first they lived in the foothills of the Andes mountains, where they got to live a carefree life of picking fruit from trees and riding bareback on horses. Initially Philip worked as a print journalist after a career as a documentary producer in London, however, when his wife couldn’t find warm clothes for their children she tracked down a local artisan in Peru. Soon afterwards they launched Waddler, a childrenswear range using organic pima cotton from Peru and alpaca made in Bolivia. They have been conscious of creating their wares using fair trade and leaving a low eco footprint. Alpacas don’t over graze like sheep or goats, Philip says. More than four years later Waddler is sold across the world, but they always find a way to give back to the local communities where the materials are sourced and made.

What was behind the decision to start Waddler Clothing? We were living in South America and my wife could not find warm cosy clothes for our son so she had a local artisan in Peru make up some of her designs. They were so nice we decided to start Waddler - it also gave us a good reason to stay in South America!

What had you been doing previously? I worked in documentary production in London and then as a print journalist in South America. 

What is important to you when designing children's clothes? I think it has to be fun and inspired. Inspired by real life experiences with kids or from stories and always thinking why kids will like it.

How do you try to differentiate your products from others on the market? We don’t. We just make what we like and think looks good. I think it’s more important to be true to yourself than attempt to be “original” in a market-driven sense. 

What has been completely unexpected since starting your business? That we sell globally - from Kazakhstan to Argentina. We thought our primary market would be the UK. 

What is something that people often don't realise about your wares? That we use the finest materials available and that everyone is every stage of the process is paid properly

Where do you look to for design inspiration? Kids stories, the nature that surrounds us, things that happen on our travels, what our kids like...

What do consider when dressing or styling children? That the kids are comfortable and happy and that they like what they are wearing.

What role do you want your products to play in a childhood? To inspire children to make their own adventures whether real or imaginary.

What was the last great children's book that you read? The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. I never liked her Famous Five stories as a child but someone recommended these for us to read to our kids and they are fantastic.

images courtesy of waddler


  1. What a great mission with this business!

    1. Yes, what an amazing adventure they are on. Makes me want to pack my bags!