Behind the Seams Series – On the life of the Designer: Dian McManus

Runaway Pony Photoshoot

Hello! I think you know that I am Runaway Pony’s designer. I am Dian McManus, a mom of two little darlings below the ages of 8. When I started Runaway Pony, Fiona, my 4-yo was almost 1 year old. Keira, my biggest is almost 8 now. It was a true-vintage baby sunsuit that Keira’s Grandma Sally gave me when Keira was born that sparked the love for creating vintage-inspired baby and little children’s clothing line Runaway Pony. That sunsuit was worn by Grandma Sally in the 50s. That’s how Sunkissed Sally sunsuits were born when Fiona was still carried in the baby carrier:) Here is a photo of me and my sweet family from our summer vacation in Paris last year.

The McManus Family

I have been meaning to post this series on a regular basis ever since we launched more than 2.5 years ago! Oh dear. How time flies! Having a business of small children and having small children definitely makes time move in the speed of light right before my eyes!

This is an overdue post. I promise I will be better sharing stories here on the blog because it is always fun to share. This journey of idea-creating, garment-making and product-selling is so fascinating to me. Our line has grown and it has been such a blessing. Before LAST YEAR’s holiday season in fall 2015 (it’s been that long since I wanted to share this), we have been blessed to fulfill overflowing (at least to our world!) orders for Spring 2016. (And we are now working on getting things lined up for Spring 2017 orders that have been pouring in as well. THANK YOU!) So my busy days have gotten extremely packed and a week is like an hour. In early Spring this year, between deliveries, we had to restock and reproduce some of the best-selling styles multiple times fulfill more orders! I had never thought that we would be where we are. We are so grateful that now our line is carried at over 40 stores and more than a dozen more will be new retailers next Spring. We count our blessings everyday and are extremely grateful for our wonderful ladies at Lindsay’s Loft and Southern Fried Chicks Showroom*. The stores that carry us are so darling and amazing. We love them and we love our customers!

The collections have definitely grown right before my very eyes. I have learned what styles and designs make my heart putter faster and what make you love our line. Everyday I can just come up with a new look or design in my head. Ideas always burst out. Sometimes, I have to kind of stop myself. Not because I want to, but a lot of times the creative juices flow in when I am driving on the 110 freeway on the way to work! Anyway, we now have the latest collection being shown at markets with Lindsay’s Loft: the Spring 2017! Be sure to check our line at markets if you are a retailer :) Here is a sneak peek! There are SO MANY more cute ones!

 

Runaway Pony SS17 - A Sneak Peek

Runaway Pony SS17 – A Sneak Peek

Runaway Pony SS17

Grabbed from our linesheet. Pardon the numbers on these sweets!

I am trying to share more on the blog for this Behind the Seams, a behind-the-scenes series, that posts about work days, the daily stress and triumph, the failures and achievements throughout the day or the week, the things that I cannot type so much on social media. Those who have followed us for awhile on Instagram and Facebook probably have seen glimpses of our behind-the-scenes. You can tell that I cannot keep captions short most of the time. That seems like a natural thing for me to NOT make things “simple”. Ha ha! I am sure not a minimalist. That shows a lot in the way I am dressed everyday (and how I “dresss” our home and atelier, too). – I am a big fan of the American interior designer icon Dorothy Draper (and interior designer Kelly Wearstler, for the modern take of Hollywood Regency style) – My neighbors and moms at school are used to seeing me “fully decorated” on a daily basis, I think? :) Even when I am not in downtown at the atelier and just working from home.

Without FURTHER DUE, here are some pictures from our atelier and how it looks like when we are busy delivering and producing with little ones in tow!

Some of the first batch deliveries…Runaway Pony Shipping Spring 16

Everyone got busy! Especially on their school break! (A really dear friend Sandra and her kids came to say hello to us and then I got extra help! Thanks, Mommy Sandra, Audrey and Alex!)

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image6

After water-color painting and helping mommy with “decorating” a pattern, she needed some downtime…I don’t give her this luxury often ha ha!

Runaway Pony

Runaway Pony

I wanted to cuddle next to her so much! But work needed my cuddles too.

Runaway Pony

Runaway Pony

I also wanted to share some behind-the-scenes photos I never shared earlier this year! Julie Daniels from Julie Daniels Photography has been our photographer for our lookbooks and I just love working with her and our French stylist friend Karen Ayadi (with her gorgeous jeune fille, Emily).

Julie Daniels

Runaway Pony Photoshoot

They created those super cute clouds!!! (Among many thoughtful props they brought to the set!)

Runaway Pony Photoshoot

For more story of how I juggle this whole thing, an amazing documentary and an award-winning wedding photographer Erwin Darmali wanted to follow me around one day. He wanted to capture my everyday story that he thought could inspire others to bring more positive vibes to the world. I asked him why me. He said because I was the most positive person he had ever known and my life inspired him. I am very honored. So I told him my days were crazy and full of gear switching, suggested him to take a lot of coffee and see if he could catch up with me. He said “Even better.” So I let him follow me from dawn to way over dusk. He arrived at 6am in the morning and I forgot he was there as my shadow as soon as the day started. This 8-min clip on Erwin’s site captures a glimpse of my day at our home and work. Home was in Santa Monica, where Runaway Pony was born before we grew more and moved my atelier to downtown LA. This summer, our family just moved to a new house we just purchased, a California ranch house, in Palos Verdes – which we LOVE. I especially love our backyard, the ocean and city views and space. Phew, we got a lot more space now. The film was taken in our tiny old place but full-of-memories home in Santa Monica. Though we miss our friends there, we love our new house in Palos Verdes. It’s like living on the countryside but it’s only half an hour from downtown LA! (That’s amazing for LA traffic). We keep the atelier in downtown for more efficient and effective work flow. Love that we make our garments right there in downtown. In the atelier’s “backyard”. To see my short documentary he created, click here.

Erwin preparing for my  interview. This guy is so focused no wonder his work is second to none!

Interview

Runaway Pony Movie on www.erwindarmali.com

Runaway Pony Movie on www.erwindarmali.com

 

My life still has been pretty much the same ever since we moved to the new house – still driving back and forth with Fiona almost everyday while Keira is at school – only more exciting with more home-improvement projects and home decor things, another passions I love doing. It’s amazing what space can do and what decorating can do to space. Just like what fashion can do to how we and our little darlings feel. It definitely feels more relaxing now that we have a big wrapped-around backyard for the girls to play more – no electronic gadgets at all everyday!!! They play Barbie endlessly, make arts and crafts, ride their wagon around the yard or run around through the sprinklers.  When I am in our backyard, I feel so peaceful. Sometimes peacocks show up to say hello. I always love country living yet I am still a city girl.  Maybe one day we will have chickens, cows or horses! But for now, I love decorating our farmhouse with French and Southern countryside style mixed with Hollywood and Parisian glam touch. All that. I love many things, but I am still picky. Follow my days on Instagram @dianmcmanus  (I will soon launch my personal blog/site!).

Thank you all for reading! And most of all, thank you all for supporting Runaway Pony and celebrating childhood moments with us! It means the WORLD to me.

Smooches and blessings,

Dian

My Little Darlings

  • Southern Fried Chicks showroom is no longer represents our line. For our sales rep info, please go to here