Posts tagged "Interviews"

A Conversation with :

Courtney Klein of Storq

By - POSTED Apr 1, 2015

Maternity Clothes - Storq

Meet Courtney Klein, the San Francisco-based entrepreneur and founder of maternity label Storq! Courtney founded the brand with the belief that your wardrobe and sense of style shouldn’t have to change during your pregnancy. The brand debuted with four pieces (leggings, a skirt, tank top, and midi-dress) that can be purchased as a bundle and worn for all nine months. Each garment is available in a luxuriously soft black or white modal fabric (although the spring dress just launched in three new colors!), designed and manufactured in California, and meant to be mixed and matched with your current wardrobe. All-natural, pregnancy-safe creams and beauty items have also been added into the mix. We caught up with Courtney recently to ask her all about life with her baby Nell, newborn and maternity must-haves, and what’s coming next for Storq. Thanks, Courtney!

1. First off, congrats on your new baby! How has motherhood been so far?

Like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It’s unreal. One of my favorite parts of being a parent thus far is getting to experience everything again for the first time through my daughter Nell.

2. What have been your go-to newborn essentials so far? Any favorite baby brands?

White onesies, Aden + Anais swaddle blankets, and the Baby K’tan wrap. As for baby brands, there are so many good ones. Obviously Estella bamboo baby clothes but also Makie, Bobo Chooses, Little Hip Squeaks, Moon et Miel, Wolfechild, Mini Rodini, Tane, Misha and Puff, Goat-Milk Kidware, Nature Baby… I could go on and on.

Maternity Clothing - Storq

3. What about for you? Anything new-mom items you can’t live without?

My Fjallraven Backpack in lieu of a diaper bag, a wide brim palm-leaf hat for shading the babe when we’re out and about, Storq tanks and leggings for getting comfy around the house, Portland Apothecary New Mom Tea to keep things running smoothly, Fat & The Moon Face Spray when I need a quick refresh, and WhatsApp to keep far away friends and family up to date on all things Nell.

4. Switching gears, tell us how Storq was created. When, why, and how did you put your idea into action?

The idea for Storq came about after listening to pregnant friend after pregnant friend passionately discuss maternity fashion, or the lack thereof. There’s a real desire to preserve a sense of identity and style while pregnant and not a lot of options out there for doing so.

Maternity Clothing - Storq

5. How would you describe the Storq aesthetic? What is the spirit of the brand?

We believe pregnant ladies are human, too. Our aesthetic is clean and minimal, the ideal canvas for a women to express her own sense of style.

6.  You also offer a body bundle and a beauty bundle. Why did you think it was important to offer these options, and how did you decide on the particular items to include?

Pregnant women have a unique set of concerns when it comes to what they can put on their skin and it can take valuable time to wade through everything out there to find great products. We’ve tested them all and selected our beauty and body favorites that are not only safe for moms-to-be, but also effective and luxurious.

Storq Maternity Line

7. Many women struggle with getting dressed and feeling like themselves while pregnant. Others don’t even think purchasing maternity wear is a worthwhile investment. What advice do you have for them?

To the women who make it through pregnancy without buying a single maternity item, more power. And for the most part, they’re right, you’re not really making an investment, per se. We focused on the pieces that help to fill in the gaps in your wardrobe so you can make the most of what you’ve already got and still feel like yourself, just more comfortable.

8. What is your favorite part of designing & producing maternity apparel?

Empowering women who are pregnant, who are doing this mind-blowing thing, to look and feel amazing.

Maternity Clothes - Storq

9. For moms (or any women, really) starting their own businesses, what advice would give?

The hardest part is taking the plunge. I say just jump!

10. What’s next for Storq? Are there any upcoming projects in the works?

More chic essentials from your friends at Storq. Stay tuned.

11. Your talent speaks for itself through everything you’ve already accomplished with Storq. Is there anything you don’t do well that you wish you could?

You are way too kind! Seriously. There are so many things I wish I was better at, but I’d be pretty excited if I was a great chess player.

Bamboo Baby Clothes - Estella NYC

P.S. – Here’s a picture of Courtney with baby Nell in our baby bamboo!

(Images via Mother Magazine, Racked, & Storq)

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A Conversation with :

Jak of Baby Does… NYC

By - POSTED Feb 3, 2015

Organic Baby Rattles - Estella Taxi Rattle

We chatted with Jak Burke, founder of the website Baby Does… NYC, on her favorite baby-friendly restaurants, hidden NYC gems, and how to survive long winters with baby:

1. Tell us about Baby Does…NYC and why you decided to start the site.

I’m a London born and bred girl but when I visited New York in 2001 I was instantly hooked. Within 12 months I had sold everything in the U.K and shipped out to NYC. I quickly began to work with families and small children in the city… I soon realized that there was an info gap for the 0-24 months age group. I also wanted to host a site that offered healthy, locally made goods and services for busy parents. In 2007 I registered my company and trademark Baby Does NYC. In 2012 we fully launched with a team.

2. In your opinion, what are the best parts of raising a baby in the city?

Oh where to begin! NYC is literally the best place on earth to raise a family. The city has everything: nature, enrichment, culture and some of the most progressive companies in the juvenile market. The city also feels like a collection of communities. Each neighborhood has its own unique scene and cultural vibe. Events for kids in NYC are also superior simply because of the concentration of talent and ingenuity here.

Organic Baby Toys - Estella Taxi Rattle

3. Can you let us in on any hidden NYC gems (parks, museums, play groups, etc.)?

To be honest everything in NYC is pretty spectacular and it’s difficult to pick a few things in particular but I am always pleasantly surprised by classes aimed at babies. For example, the Guggenheim has a stroller tour that is interactive (tots get to do stuff) as well as deeply enriching visually. It’s also a great social mixer for parents. The Mahayana Temple in Chinatown is an oasis of tranquility in a noisy neighborhood. See how your baby responds to the giant golden Buddha. On a similar theme, The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden in Snug Harbor, Staten Island, is sublime in terms of peace and beauty. For more boisterous fun I love to go to Coney Island and enjoy the historic boardwalk amusements and beach.

Baby Toys Taxi Rattle by Estella

4. Winters in the city can be tough for anyone, but especially when you have a newborn. Any tips on surviving the season without just hibernating at home?

Yes, in fact I recently wrote a post all about winter and how to survive it. Feeling isolated and trapped while undergoing sleep deprivation can be brutal for new mothers. I recommend that moms prepare for inclement weather by weather-proofing their strollers and baby carriers, then get outside! If your building has a community garden or rooftop grab some sunlight and fresh air at least once a day. Book regular drop-in classes for baby in your neighborhood - Kidz Central Station lists hundreds of classes for infants by zip code. We partner with them every week to promote different events. Also check out what’s going on at your local library. The NYPL has a variety of weekly free events for children and babies in most neighborhoods. Join a local parent forum and attend meet-ups at places like Barnes & Noble. Reach out to other parents in your neighborhood and building – host coffee mornings or breast-feeding dates. Last but not least accept help. Allow a relative or a friend to babysit for an hour or two while you nap or take a walk. Remember a happy baby needs a happy mama too.

Organic Baby Toys - Estella Taxi Rattle

5. And when the weather’s nicer…What are some can’t-miss outdoor spots?

Once the weather is temperate it’s fun to go further afield and explore other boroughs and even islands! Take a ferry ride to Staten Island and visit Snug Harbor with its wonderful children’s museum and exquisitely themed gardens. Visit Roosevelt Island and take a tram ride and see the lighthouse. Take a free ferry and grab some art on Governor’s Island. You can also enjoy a bike ride and picnic alongside some amazing outdoor art installations. I also recommend that parents attend some of the glorious parks in Queens and the Bronx. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to enjoy springtime’s Cherry Blossoms.

6. Favorite baby-friendly restaurants?

NYC is pretty baby-friendly at least during the day and early evening. Navigating a tightly packed restaurant with a stroller is trickier though so bring a baby seat or booster seat and park your stroller outside. I personally love Bubbys on the weekends when the neighborhood’s families are feasting on pancakes. For an early supper try Cowgirl Hall of Fame in the West Village. Uptown The Indian Road Café in Inwood serves locally farmed foods and they also host live music. Brooklyn would require a food page of its own – neighborhoods like Fort Greene and Park Slope boast amazing eateries for families. I recommend you just wander. Queens has some fun ethnic beer gardens with outdoor music events. It also has some of the best Indian family-friendly venues in NYC. The Bronx hosts quite a few tasty Italian restaurants like Villaggio Ristorante and Patricia’s. For fun-dining on Staten Island why not go for some steak and sushi at Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar or Bavarian cuisine at Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn? It’s good to remember that because your child is under two you can still opt for a menu that does not involve fries and pancakes – so make the most of it and be adventurous!

Organic Baby Toys - Estella Taxi Rattle

7. What baby gear or accessories do you think all NYC mom’s should invest in?

A good light-weight but robust stroller with a compact diaper bag (one that straps easily to the stroller) and a stroller organizer are must-have items as well as a supportive baby carrier. You can buy just about anything for a baby within a block or two’s radius so new parents can afford to travel light.

Thanks, Jackalyn! Head on over to Baby Does…NYC for more on all things baby.

(Image 2 via Bel & Beau, 4 via Annie Dean.)

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A Conversation With :

Rosie Pope

By - POSTED Aug 28, 2014

Rosie Pope Maternity - Interview

Entrepreneur Rosie Pope wears many hats. In addition to her her eponymous line of maternity clothes & three stores in New York City and Los Angeles, British-born Rosie is also the founder of MomPrep, starred in her on reality show, Pregnant in Heels, and just launched a line of baby clothes. Most importantly, though, she’s a wife &  mom of four! We had the opportunity to ask Rosie a few questions about pregnancy & motherhood, maternity fashion, & what’s to come. Thanks, Rosie!

1. Tell us how Rosie Pope Maternity was created. When, why, and how did you put your idea into action?

It was created with the belief that women should be able to feel their best while pregnant. Looking good, helps you to feel good which in turn gives you the confidence you need to enjoy this amazing journey into parenthood. For too long pregnant woman have been ignored in fashion and so I set about to change that and give them a destination for clothes that can make them look and feel good. I wanted to provide more than fashion though, as part of enjoying pregnancy (and then parenthood) is having the confidence in yourself that you are going to be good at it. Knowledge gives you this confidence and so from the very start I wanted to provide expert education as well as fashion to create a well rounded experience for pregnant shoppers.  As my husband and I started trying to have our first baby I was overwhelmed with the need for a one stop shop like this and so decided to launch it for myself and women like me yearning for something different and relevant to them in the maternity fashion and prenatal education space.

2. How would you describe the Rosie Pope aesthetic? What is the spirit of the brand?

Contemporary in color and prints, yet classic in cut, fun, flattering and smart in innovation and education. I strive to help people Love With Confidence – both themselves, their partners and their children.

Rosie Pope Interview - Rosie Pope Maternity

3. Many women struggle with getting dressed and feeling like themselves while pregnant. Others don’t even think purchasing maternity wear is a worthwhile investment. What advice do you have for them?

Firstly when you are putting on a significant amount of weight which you need to during pregnancy, you normal clothes are simply not going to fit and if you do manage to get them on they aren’t going to be very comfortable. People often go out and buy larger sizes in non-maternity but this really isn’t the best option. My maternity clothes are designed to grow where you grow rather than all over. For example your arms don’t get longer but simply buying a larger size in non-maternity the arms of the garment will get longer. Same goes for over all length and shoulder width. The result is very unflattering and I truly believe in feeling as good as you can during pregnancy. It effects your mood and your baby. Added to all of this and contrary to what you may think, you can get a lot of use out of your maternity clothes. Firstly, you wear them far more often and over and over than anything in your non-maternity wardrobe and you need them afterwards before you get back to your pre-baby weight. So buy ones you love and make you feel good in the budget you have.

4. What is your favorite part of designing & producing maternity apparel?

Happy customers! I love it when a design finally hits the floor and makes someone feel so special and comfortable in their new bodies.

5. In addition to your business, you are also a mom of four! How do you balance your career with being a mother?

It’s not easy and I don’t want to lie to you, I struggle everyday with this balance we all seem so obsessed with these days. There isn’t a lot of balance for me right now. It is all work or all kids and not much  in between but I am okay with that. I see life in stages and this stage is all about the kids and building my business. I think this gives me the stamina and the excitement to keep going.

6. What do you wish you knew before you became a mother that you now know?

The things you stress about so much at he beginning are not the things that are going to define the health and happiness of your children – no matter what the very judgemental onlookers can say!! I wish I had had more confidence in my choices early on to enjoy all of those moments instead of worrying so much!

Rosie Pope Interview

7. What are some of your pregnancy & newborn must-haves?

Give me some Aden and Anais swaddle clothes, some Belly Butter by Fairhaven, a BabyBjorn ONE Carrier, some Medela microwave steam sterilizing bags and EVERY item for my Rosie Pope baby layette collection and I am ready to go. I’m pretty low maintenance in the gear department – less is more for me!

8. Favorite toddler & kids’ brands?

Rosie Pope Baby! I also love Rikshaw Design, Hanna Anderson, Mini Boden, Tutu de Monde, Oscar de la Renta kids for very very special occasions, and Mini Melissa.

9. Has your style changed at all since becoming a mom?

My clothes involve less dry cleaning because there is far too much spit up for that and I probably wear less skirts…too much squatting down to play trains!

Rosie Pope Baby Fall 2014

 

10. For moms (or any women, really) starting their own businesses, what advice would give?

It’s not easy and it won’t happen as quick as you think it will. You will make mistakes but the trick is to admit them, identify them and change course. It is also one of the most amazing things you can ever do, when you love what you do. If you have guts, and you need guts, you can be brilliant.

11. You’re also a published author, TV regular, & founder of MomPrep. Are there any upcoming projects in the works?

So many ;) Today though, a big focus of mine is Rosie Pope Baby (layette – 2 years old). I launched the line in February and it has been received with such success that I am expanding the line in depth and price point for January.  I am so excited to make it available to as many beautiful cuddly babies as possible!

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A Conversation with :

Ola Omami of OmamiMini

By - POSTED Aug 21, 2014

Leggings Girls Omamimini Faux Leather Fall 2014

Designer Ola Omami of OmamiMini, a new brand we are carrying this season, took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with us about why she launched OmamiMini, the line’s fall 2014 collection, & her views on children’s fashion. Enjoy!

1. We are excited to be carrying OmamiMini this fall! How would you describe the brand & its spirit?

We believe children’s clothes should not be very different from what we, parents, consider stylish and would wear ourselves. Kids are cute enough naturally, so there’s no need to add extra cuteness through clothing. And since I personally like all things simple and precise, I strive to make our garments very uncomplicated, but awesome.

Girls Dresses Omamimini Polka Cat Dress in Grey

2. You worked in interior design before launching OmamiMini. Why did you decide to shift gears and start your own children’s line?

When my daughter was born and I couldn’t find clothes for her (everything was so pink and cute I ended up buying half of her layette in boys’ sections) I decided to try and do it myself. I asked Natasha, a friend of mine and genius graphic designer who worked for Metropolitan Museum of Art at the time, to help me with logo and she got so excited about the idea that we ended up working together on the first collection and do it ever since.

3. Are there any similarities between designing an interior space and a children’s line, or they completely separate?

I think any design process is similar in a way. You have your general aesthetic vision, concept for a particular project or collection you’re working on and biggest chunk of work is always the technical details. In all cases design is turning something that exists in your head into something you can hold in your hands and it’s equally magical in all fields.

Faux Leather Skirt for Toddler Girls Omamimini Fall 2014Faux Leather Leggings Girls Omamimini

4. What has been your favorite part of designing children’s apparel?

The fact I can dress my daughter exactly the way I want to!

Girls Dresses Omamimini Colorblock Dress in Grey & Green

5. Walk us through your design process. How (or where) do you find inspiration before you begin a collection? Does sunny Los Angeles influence your design aesthetic?

We start with general concept and color palette, working in tandem on developing prints and patterns. Since we’re a bi-coastal duo (Natasha is in NY), we exchange hundreds of emails with ideas, links to inspiring pictures, fill up Pinterest boards, and text each other little schematic drawings when all else fails. Los Angeles is major source of inspiration to me – most of all that feeling of permanent vacation that is so easy to tune into with this perfect weather year round.

6. Your entire collection is designed & manufactured in LA. How important is it that you keep production close to home?

Very! The first aspect of it is practical – I have to overlook every step of production process to make sure everything is made in according to our specifications and standards. I also believe that we have to give back to the city we live in. In our case we do so by creating jobs and using local resources when it comes to every single detail of our garments, from zippers to labels. This is a great way to become a true part of the community. It might not be the most business driven decision, but it just feels right.

Toddler Girl Coats Omamimini Fur Coat Grey

7. On your website, you say that a “wardrobe is not the most important thing in life. But the right clothes just make it way more pleasant. And fun.” Do you have a particular philosophy on how children should dress?

First of all, children should never sacrifice comfort for fashion. Second, there’s no reason for comfortable everyday clothes to be boring! I think parents job, among 10,000 other things, is to plant seeds of good taste and personality and one way to do it is through the way we dress our kids.

8. What other brands does your daughter wear?

Honestly, hardly any. We do have to get the shoes elsewhere though and I love the simple sandals by another LA based brand, Zuzii, as well as amazing Italian brand Pepe and French Pom D’Api. In general I tend to like European labels – they always have such elegant, timeless appeal.

Girls Dresses Omamimini Polka Cat Dressfaux-leather-leggings-girls-omamimini-lifestyle

10. Are there any fall trends that you are particularly fond of? What pieces from your fall collection at Estella are you most excited about?

I’m a true purist at heart and could just wear grey on grey all day, so I love the variety of textures this season brings – all the furs, chunky knits and quilted details are great for mixing and matching even if you stay within a very minimal color palette.

I absolutely love our faux leather leggings with lining. It’s a very simple item that takes any outfit to another level without trying too much. The silver chinchilla fur coat is another favorite. The fur is super soft and print of dots and cats on the lining adds even more fun to this stunning piece.

11. Do you have any fashion advice or stylish tips you could give to our readers?

Never underestimate the power of accessories! There’s not so much children would agree to, but think suspenders for boys or little scarf and hat for girls do wonders to upgrade any look.

Faux Leather Skirt for Toddler Girls Omamimini

Thanks so much, Ola!

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A Conversation with :

Winter Water Factory’s Stefanie Lynen

By - POSTED Aug 7, 2014

Winter Water Factory Organic One-Piece Under the Sea Print

Stefanie Lynen, the designer and co-founder of one of our customer’s favorite organic baby & toddler clothing lines, Winter Water Factory, was kind enough to answer some questions we had on the boutique brand’s fall/winter 2014 collection! Enjoy…

1. How did you decide to get into fashion?  Did you happen upon it serendipitously?

I’ve been fascinated with making things and mass production since I was in Kindergarten. I moved to New York in 1999 from Germany immediately after completing medical school, intending to change careers and find work in the design industry. Working first as a freelance crafter, I started selling knitted hats and felt bags to a small boutique on the Lower East Side.

When I rented a silk-screen studio with my friend Margaret, we learned how to screen-print, and were excited to explore the possibilities of textile design. That’s when I knew that I had found what I wanted to do. We made women’s clothing, bags, pillows, and children’s clothing. Eventually, we began to focus on designing for kids since it gave us the room to be whimsical and playful. We ended up being very successful with our baby and children’s lines, but I have to admit that it’s always been about the prints for me. I love the process of designing a new pattern and then seeing stacks and stacks of clothing made from that print!

Winter Water Factory Organic Baby Clothes

2. What adjectives would you use to describe Winter Water Factory?

Whimsical, fresh, fun, organic, American-made.

3. You’re based in Brooklyn; does the borough influence your designs in any way?

I don’t know if I’d say that Brooklyn really influences my designs, but it provides an incredible support network of amazing, inspiring people that are committed to quality manufacturing.

Winter Water Factory Baby One-Piece Construction PrintWinter Water Factory Organic One-Piece Space Print

4. Winter Water Factory’s prints are unlike any others out there. Where does the inspiration for these bright and bold graphics come from?

I’ve been inspired by a broad range of sources: children’s books, envelope liners, vintage wallpaper. I’ve always been drawn to designs that appeal equally to a three year old and a graphic designer. I look at a lot of graphic designers that have done work meant to appeal to children rather than looking at fashion designers. The right balance of whimsy and intelligent design.

5. Is there a print or style that you are particularly fond of? Why?

I’ve always been a big fan of Polar Bears so I’m very excited that we’re introducing a Polar Bear print this fall. The High Seas and Outer Space are two more of my all time favorites which are also popular with the staff and our customers.

Winter Water Factory Baby Clothes Polar Bear Print

6. Take us through the silk-screen processes. Is it still all done by hand in Brooklyn?

Screen printing is an old printing technique where ink is pushed through mesh to create a design.

All of our fabrics used to be screen printed by hand in a print shop in California, but we’ve since outgrown their faciities and all of our production prints are printed by machine in Los Angeles. We continue to print samples and the occasional limited edition item in our Brooklyn studio which keeps us in touch with the process. It allows us to experiment with print and color until each one is perfect.

7. How far in advance do you work on your collections? And how does the design process start each season?

Design work for future seasons starts about nine months before the collection will be released, which usually means that I’m designing for next spring before the fall collection comes out, and vice-versa. I always keep a notebook handy to sketch whenever I have some time, usually on the subway. Some prints have been on my mind for years and just take more time to fully develop.

8. Do you have a particular philosophy on how children should dress?

Above all, children should wear clothes that are easy and comfortable. Kids like to run around and play, so their clothes should allow them to do so! I know they sometimes like to mimic their parents but I feel like kids should dress like kids, not like mini adults. When else in your life are you going to wear a dress covered in polar bears or a tee shirt covered in UFOs! Parents tell us all the time that our clothes make it easier to get their kids dressed in the morning, they actually want to put them on.

Winter Water Factory Baby Gown High Seas Print

9. You recently launched a collection of dresses for women using your signature prints. Is there anything you’d like to design but have been unable to do so yet?

We’ve got a few new products hopefully coming soon – we’ve been working on backpacks and children’s bedding. I have so many ideas it’s hard to find the time to do them all. The biggest challenge is sourcing fabric that’s organic and made in the USA, but we’re always searching.

Winter Water Factory Baby Clothes Outer Space Print

10. Are there any upcoming projects in the works that you can tell our readers about?

I’m very excited that we’re setting up a printing table this fall in our studio. We’ll be able to hand-print fabric ourselves at a much larger scale than ever before. There are very few facilities like this left in the US – it will allow us to print yardage for home decor. We’ll also be able to add home goods such as napkins, aprons, tablecloths etc. to our line. Customers have been asking for many years if they could buy our fabric by the yard and soon they’ll be able to. So stay tuned!

Thank you so much, Stefanie! Be sure to check out our Winter Water Factory collection & organic baby clothing boutique, too!

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