Hippie in Disguise Sen Chassin for Vans Union Jack Boots in Nico Nico Clothing

Fleet of Foot: Enabled by Vans

Hippie in Disguise Sen Chassin for Vans Union Jack Boots in Nico Nico Clothing

A few weeks ago we were fortunate to get a pair of Vans shoes from Union Jack Boots to try out. As my frequent readers know, I don’t generally acquire anything new that we don’t need, but Sen was in need of new shoes. Let me explain a little more…

As the end of the school year neared, Sen and Ro were both quite excited for summer break. I didn’t ask why, I mean, the answer was obvious, right? No school, sleeping in, playing all day, staying up late.

On the last day of school, my parents, who normally pick up the children from school, were out of town adopting the most adorable little puppy (I could digress quite a lot here describing the cuteness…), so I had a great excuse to get off work early to pick up the children and see their elated faces as they exited school for the last time for a whole two months. Ro came out first, dropped her bags, gave me a hug and then skipped off to socialize with her friends and make very important ice cream-related plans. Then Sen came out, ran to me, but gave no hug — which is very uncharacteristic of this affectionate boy. He dropped his bag on the ground, sat down on the concrete yard and as fast as a superhero removed his sandals. He then pulled his indoor shoes out of his bag and put them on his feet. “Mama!!! I can wear my indoor shoes outdoors! It’s summer!”

It hit me, as he sprinted away and across the playground, showing me and all his friends how fast he was in those shoes, that his excitement over summer was at least 75% related to wearing these shoes outdoors. He felt fast, able, unstoppable in them.

When we got home many hours and ice cream cones later, Sen removed his shoes at the front door and laid down on the couch to decompress. A few minutes later we all noticed a special odour invading the house. (I know these are the exact details you were hoping for). His shoes smelled awful. It seems that the last month of school, in my brilliance of sending him to school sockless in his Salt Water Sandals for outdoor play, that his indoor shoes had over-marinated, shall we say, and developed a powerful odour. His shoes were also two entire school years old, so they had seen better days. We (ok, me) decided it was time to let them go.

So, the offer from Union Jack Boots to try out a pair of Vans ended up being perfect timing. We have a few small production, ethically made shoes in our home from Soft Star and Mikoleon, but have yet to find a typical athletic shoe from a small scale company that could really stand up to tough wear. We’ve been a fan of Vans for a long-time, the aesthetic is great, but more importantly these shoes are made for skateboarding and BMX-ing and so they are made to last. No one destroys shoes like skateboarders. In addition, Vans has quite a few canvas and non-leather options in their collection, so we were happy to find a mostly canvas pair in Sen’s size.

img_5975-1.jpg

To summarize thus far:

  • Vegan friendly – checkmark
  • Durable  – checkmark
  • Stylish – double checkmark

The only challenge left was to ensure that Sen would feel as inspired by these shoes as the ones we were going to have to unceremoniously say goodbye to.

When the Vans arrived Sen loved them at first sight, as he’d seen “cool dude guys” at the skatepark wearing them. He put them on immediately for a test run around the main floor. Fast? Checkmark! He then proceeded to put them through a battery of tests including, running up and down stairs, jumping off the porch, pedalling his bike and riding his skateboard. I’m happy to report they passed all the tests with flying colours. Sen was stoked! I was relieved!

img_5968-1.jpg

Hippie in Disguise Sen Chassin for Vans Union Jack Boots in Nico Nico Clothing

img_5976.jpg

I kept his beloved indoor shoes for a few days in case the honeymoon phase with his Vans faded. But it’s now been two weeks and he hasn’t asked for them even once. And I doubt I’ll ever hear mention of them again.

Hippie in Disguise Sen Chassin for Vans Union Jack Boots in Nico Nico Clothing

{ Sen’s Peace shirt and shorts are organic and made by Nico Nico Clothing in the USA}

Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places:

New Issue Out: Creatures of Light and Darkness

Issue 11 of Enfants Terribles Magazine released a few days ago and what an amazing issue it is (if I do say so myself!). Given the timing of the release being so close to the solstice we chose to focus on light and darkness and all its metaphorical permutations. Our photographers outdid themselves for this issue, you will want to check out the editorials. We also continued with our ‘Children’s Voices’ feature where we share children’s thoughts on the issue’s theme. This time we asked children about their understanding of life and death in humans, plants and machines. This is fast becoming my favourite feature, I could read a whole book of children’s voices.the Creatures of Lights and Darkness issue cover skygge lilleAs always you’ll also find fun projects to do with your children, interviews with artists and small clothing companies, and plenty of visual inspiration. You can access the complete issue online for free, so please have a look and let me know what you liked and what you would like to see in future issues.

This is our last issue of 2015 and we have some amazing things in store for 2016, I can’t wait to share them with you.

xo, Danielle

You might also like my post:

Issue 10: Imagine Education

Drawing a Day: A Summer Drawing Project

Interview with a Minimalist: Katrien (a homeschooling mother of twins)

Odds and Ends

Creative Mother: Kate from A Playful Day

Let’s be friends! Come find me…

Shop Love: Little Heirloom

Last season I had the honour of working with a small Canadian shop, Little Heirloom, to help spread the word about their lovely shop. Little Heirloom is an online store specializing in small ethically produced children’s wear brands. The shop is a little dream come true for Taralyn, a lifelong dreamer and entrepreneur, who took inspiration from her new motherhood to leap into the unknown and follow her interests in a way that would allow her to be more present with her young toddler. The shop is still very small and working to establish itself, so I wanted to help get the word out about this excellent shop, with a most excellent woman and family behind it.

Honestly, I’m not someone who cares much about fashion trends and season releases, but when I started to see sneak peeks of the Nico Nico Clothing fall line I got really excited. Something about the colours and textures spoke to me. I was immediately inspired to capture beautiful moments of my children in the clothing. I’m telling you, this has never happened before! So I picked up a few of my favourite pieces from Little Heirloom and let our adventure-seeking ways take their course, what resulted were some beautiful moments.

image

image

image

image

I’m really in awe with how the Nico Nico line seems to form a dialogue with the landscape, whether we’re in the city or the forest or on the beach, the clothing seems at home, making you feel like you are exactly where you should be. I’m so happy to have invested in this line of organics. And, now I understand a little why some people get excited about fashion.

image

image

I love to learn from mothers who have started their own business while raising children. So I asked Taralyn if she could share her story here. Read on to hear from Taralyn, herself, and to see more photos of the children enjoying themselves in clothing from her store.

Tell me a little bit about yourself, the person behind Little Heirloom. What is your background? What are you passionate about?

My name is Taralyn Fodor, and I am the founder/owner/operator of the online children’s apparel website Little Heirloom. I was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, but recently moved back to the city with my family after living in Montreal and Toronto for almost 8 years. I have a background in Art History and Design, but I also work as a buyer for a local apparel brand here in the city. I do a lot of juggling as a mother, business owner and buyer, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am passionate about my family, first and foremost, but I also have a soft spot for design, travel, and art.

image

image

same denim poncho fits both kids, winning!

image

image

How many children do you have and how would you describe them?

I have one son, Levi, who is 2 and a half. He is the wildest, most engaged, energetic, fearless, hilarious and social little person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He is truly chock-full of personality, and he never stops talking. Any moment spent awake for Levi is full of dialogue – be it with us (his parents), a friend, or someone imaginary. I love hearing him chatter away while playing with his toys, listening to him re-enact scenarios from earlier in the day, or talking about something I had no idea he even knew existed. It gives me fantastic insight into his little mind.

What is your favourite thing to do as a family?

As Levi gets older, our choice activity changes. It used to be a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium or Science World, but now going to the beach is our favourite. We really love getting outside and taking advantage of the beautiful city we live in.

image

image

What did you want to be when you were a child?

This one makes me laugh, because I have always wanted to own my own business. I used to set up these roadside stands where I could sell things. I’d sell drawings, flowers (well, they were probably more like weeds, but who’s keeping track…), and anything else I could come up with. I just loved interacting with people and selling them something that made them happy. I guess nothing has changed!

image

Did your career aspirations change once you had a child?

Interestingly, I became more focused on making my aspirations a reality. I knew that if I didn’t try it would never happen. In the beginning, running my own business also offered me the flexibility I needed to spend more time with Levi.

What is Little Heirloom and why did you decide to start your own business?

Little Heirloom is a website dedicated to selling high-quality, stylish and ethically produced children’s fashion. We like to focus on smaller, independent brands that are a bit harder to find. I originally wanted to create an online store to offer brands I love to the Canadian market, as no one was selling them here, but the demand for our designers has us shipping all over the world now!

image

image

image

I love the name Little Heirloom. What does that name mean to you? Why did you choose it?

When I was thinking of a name for the shop, I kept circling back to the core concept of the store: to offer timeless, high-quality clothes that can be passed down from sibling to sibling, and even generationally. The idea of a sweater, romper or pair of shoes becoming an heirloom, a special memento of childhood, meant a lot to me. The name Little Heirloom sprung from that.

How do you choose the brands you carry?

They have to be beautiful, un-fussy, ethically manufactured, and above all else: well made. I also put them through the “Levi Test” as I like to call it. If I don’t like how the clothes wear and wash with my little guy, I won’t carry them in the shop.

image

image

What are your dreams for Little Heirloom?

I would love to add more labels to our roster, and build out the collection we carry to represent even more exceptional international brands. Maybe there will even be an in-house line someday!

When you are all caught up on work what do you love to do?

I’ve been trying to allow myself “alone” time. It’s harder than you’d think! But when I manage it, just getting to a yoga class or riding my bike is wonderful.

image

Readers: Little Heirloom carries premium brands, such as Nico Nico (the clothing pictured in this post), Red Creek Handmade, boy+girl, Misha & Puff, Soor Ploom, Goat Milk NYC, at excellent prices and ships internationally. She also carries the most charming line of toys, Des Enfantillages, made here in Canada (adjustable skipping rope and felt pompom slingshot pictured in this post).

The Canadian dollar is low now, which makes it especially economical for international shoppers to buy from Canadian shops. You can find Little Heirloom online at www.littleheirloom.com and on Instagram @littleheirloom.

Sen’s salt water sandals and Hunter rain boots are from Mini Mioche. Ro’s moccasins are from Canadian Aboriginal-owned brand Manitobah, offering a complete year-round line of moccasins and mukluks.

A special thank you, as well, to the kind women at Nico Nico Clothing, who helped me source sizes 8 and 10, to fit Ro.

image

image

image

image

image

image

You might also like:

image Interview with a Minimalist: Brian of Less Means More

image Slow Living Project: Explore

image Photography Tips from a Bad Photographer

In their Element with boy+girl

I am honoured to have collaborated with boy+girl this season to celebrate their lovely line of sustainable clothing for girls and boys. boy+girl asked me to capture photos of the children “in their element.” I interpreted this to be when the children are most themselves, most happy, most enjoying life. Some children are in their element when they are in the kitchen baking treats for their family, when they are curled up on the sofa with a book, or when they are building Lego masterpieces. Well, my children seem to be the happiest, the most free and creative, full of zest for life and adventure, and thirsty with curiosity when they are out in the elements. Our recent visit to the Montreal Botanical Gardens  proved to be an ideal place to capture them in their element: in the elements – at least earth, water and wind.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I love hearing people’s stories and what inspires them, so I’m pleased to share an interview with Christine, the designer of boy+girl.  In the interview, Christine talks about her family, cultural and work background, as well as her sources of inspiration for clothing design, the ethics of boy+girl production and what’s new for next season. I hope you are inspired by her ideas and perspective.  { Gallery of images below }

Tell me a little bit about yourself, the person behind boy+girl. What is your background?

I grew up in Northern California in a very tight knit family. My mom was/is the ultimate artist/creative, she made everything from scratch from all our meals to curtains to clothes. She encouraged and inspired me to be creative from the time I was little, so I was always drawing or painting, cooking and baking, lots of hours at the dance studio… that is how I grew up so I always very drawn to a creative path.

How would you describe boy+girl in 5 words?

free-spirited. minimalist. pure. clean. california.

boy+girl, the brand name, is simple and yet intriguing. Why did you choose this name for your brand? What does it mean to you?

It came very naturally to me. I wanted something simple and understated and classic. I think it means a lot of things but I like how it describes very purely what we all are.

How did you get started designing clothing?

I started 4 years ago when I started boy+girl. I had never designed before, but I knew what I liked and I love materials.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

My dream was to be a dancer or a designer.

What are your sources of inspiration for the line?

For the boy, I am definitely drawn to my West Coast roots, that skater surfer California little guy. For her, I like things a little more bohemian, simple yet fresh and always feminine. For both I am drawn to styles that are really comfortable, natural, free.

Craftsmanship and sustainability are important to you. How do you translate these into your designs and their production?

We put a lot of effort into the craftsmanship. I am really proud to work with amazingly skilled people – from our fabric mills, to our dyers, to our cutters and sewers. They are the true experts and I don’t pretend to know more than they do. I am very hands on in the process. In terms of sustainability we try to do a lot of different things. I think for companies and individuals it’s about examining everyday decisions with an environmental point of view. Our hangtags are printed on recycled paper with soy based ink. We source organic cotton. We produce locally. There are little things and big things that you can do to increase the sustainability of your business.

boy+girl clothing is sewn in LA. Why did you choose to work with a local factory/sewers? What is your relationship with them?

Two reasons: one is sustainability, you create less carbon footprint when you work locally. And, secondly, I grew up in a very community-focused culture – you want to be connected and contribute to the area in which you live. Working locally provides jobs to amazing artisans in our area. Our sewers are true artists, I ask them a ton of questions and rely heavily on their work for a beautiful product. I pop in all the time, pretty much every single day when we are in production. I look at samples, and we go over what’s working and what isn’t. And they know I love to eat so they always try to feed me!

What has made you the most proud of what you’re doing?

The line is so personal, the work is so personal. It has been really nice just to have people react positively and have beautiful stores and lovely customers support what you do. I appreciate that every day.

So far, you have only designed one piece for women. Have you designed clothing for yourself?

I haven’t but at some point I’d like to!

Do you plan to expand the line?  What’s next for boy+girl?

Fall is the launch of our baby line. A lot of people have been asking for baby styles since we start at age 2, so that was really fun and exciting to do. There are so endless projects and things I’d like to do so I’m just going where the wind blows.

When you are all caught up on work, what do you love to do?

I love cooking, going to the beach, walking flea markets. Being with the people you care about in the California sunshine is always nice. And I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit this year which has been really amazing. Hopefully there will be more travel in my future, I love going to new places and taking in the culture!

***

Spoiler: Keep scrolling, you might find a discount code…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with g1 preset

image (57)

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with g1 preset

boy+girl has generously offered my readers a discount code worth 15% off all new arrivals. Use ‘HIPPIE15’ for purchases through their online shop.

Find boy+girl on Instagram @byboyandgirl

***

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset   You might also like my post: Reincarnating Fabrics into Modern Bags

IMG_6433   You might also like my post: Celebrating Individuality – an Interview with Carina

fern   You might also like my post: Drawing a Day

Hippies on Nordstrom

As Mother’s Day approaches, Nordstrom is publishing a series of interviews with moms on what motherhood means to them and what they’ve got on their Mother’s Day wish list. When Nordstrom initially emailed me I assumed they had the wrong person or had accidentally sent a bulk email. Oops. But no, after I had a few conversations with the lovely Nordstrom Blogs team, I realized that they wanted to represent a range of moms and perspectives in the interviews. The series does have one common thread and it has something to do with children’s art…I will leave you with that teaser, in the hopes that skip over to the blog and have read.

Thank you, Nordstrom, for including me in your mix! I love an opportunity to talk about my thoughts on fashion and acquisition, and, of course, my kids and their art! Link to my interview here.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Magic Feathers

Last September Kristin, the owner and designer behind the kids organic clothing line, Gardner and the Gang, decided to hold a children’s art competition. Children were encouraged to submit drawings under the theme for her SS15 collection: Magic and Rock ‘n’ Roll. The winning drawing, chosen through open voting, would be incorporated into the SS15 collection.

I loved the spirit behind Kristin’s competition, encouraging children to draw and supporting young artists to pursue their passion. I talked to Ro about it and she decided to submit her Magic Feathers drawing that she had drawn as part of her daily drawing project. The drawing itself had been inspired by a photograph that Kirsten Rickert had shared on Instagram. Isn’t it lovely the way the Instagram community knits itself together, connecting people across vast distances in these beautiful ways?

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Initially, Kristin had planned on donating the profits of the shirt sales to support access for children to art lessons – a very worthy investment I would have to say. The value of art education should not be underestimated. When Ro wrote to Kristin about her inspiration for the drawing and her passion for protecting animals, Kristin decided to invest the money in another way: to protect endangered animals. This is what both Ro and I are most excited about, the shirts are symbolic of a greater cause and will hopefully inspire conversations between parents and children about animal protection.

This morning on the way to school I told Ro that her shirt design was for sale on the Gardner and the Gang website. She replied: “Mom, I’m just so happy that I drew that picture, because so many animals will be saved.” My heart is so proud.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

***

I have an inquiring mind and so I asked Kristin a few questions about herself, the competition and her clothing line. And, now, I can see why she was swayed by Ro’s love for all animals.

Why did you hold a children’s art competition?

I thought it was a nice idea to involve the people I design for and make it a fun happening.  If we can help encourage children to use their artistic talent then that is a good thing and such a good feeling too.

What is the plan for the money earned from sales of the Magic Feathers shirt?

We will donate all the revenue from the sales to a cause chosen by Ro. In this case we will adopt endangered animals through WWF (the World Wildlife Fund).

What is your background, where did you grow up, what did you study?

I am from Sweden, I grew up in the countryside close to animals and nature. I have studied media communication, visual communication, photography and graphic design. My degree is in Visual communication.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I had all sorts of dreams, but the main one was to have a huge farm. However, I have always been terribly allergic to furry animals, so that is a bit of an obstacle, and the fact that even if I am a country girl at heart, I am also an adventurer and I love the pulse of a big city. I get totally mesmerised by New York City. Like seriously, goose bumps constantly whenever I visit. I will live there some day, at least for a little while.

How did you get started designing clothing?

It all started with me having my first baby girl, Ava. With a background in graphic design and a strong fashion interest, these are what made it all start to move forward.

How would you describe Gardner and the Gang clothing in 5 words?

Quirky, fashion, meaningful, fun, comfortable.

Why does Gardner and the Gang mean? What’s behind the name?

It is named after my daughter Ava, she is named after Ava Gardner. I loved her strong personality and her story . The gang is all the other kids that want in.

What are your sources of inspiration for the line?

I always get inspired in the most unexpected places. A thread through all my designs would be a wish to convey a message to all kids: Do not live with prejudice, open your mind to new cultures, you will learn something. Even if the message is not so obvious I always draw characters that are somewhat outsiders, strong personalities. The message is simple, be yourself: that is as cool as it gets!

What has made you the most proud of what you’re doing?

The fact that children really seem to like wearing my designs.

Your design aesthetic seems perfect for a fun youth line. Do you plan to expand the line?  

Yes, slowly but surely.

When you are all caught up on work, what do you love to do?

I love to do yoga, and to go running with some good tunes in my earphones. Clears my mind. These occasions are very rare though, haha, my life is mostly, kids, work, sleep…

***

Thank you so much to Kristin for supporting young artists and the World Wildlife Fund.

If you are interested in buying a shirt visit Gardner and the Gang, the shirts are limited edition!

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

Nena & Co Reincarnating Traditional Fabrics into Modern Bags

Growing up, there was an eclectic, beautiful, and growing collection of textiles in our home. My mother had gone to school for fashion design and loved fabrics of all kinds. ‘Treasure’ to my mother was finding a high end textile in the remnant bin that she could sew into the most fancy romper or dress for one of her girls. There’s no doubt in my mind that I formed an appreciation for colour, pattern and texture through my many visits to the fabric store with my mother. I loved seeing my mom’s eyes light up at a discounted piece of upholstery fabric, that less than 24 hours later she would have transformed into the most gorgeous fall coat for my baby brother. As with most creative types, my mother was always collecting things, mostly fabric and buttons, for future projects, waiting for inspiration to strike.

My father also contributed to the household collection. He appreciated my mother’s fondness for textiles, so when he travelled for work (which was often, far and wide) he would bring her back fabric, table cloths, batiks and other local fabric arts souvenirs. My favourites were always the South American textiles and specifically the Guatemalan ones. I loved the bold colours and embroidery, the geometric patterns, and the animal and floral motifs.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Needless to say, growing up in that environment, Guatemalan textiles and handmade clothing and accessories have become nostalgic for me. So when I came across Nena & Co bags I was immediately smitten. Not only are the bags beautiful, they are handmade (including hand woven fabrics), many from repurposed huipils (hand woven traditional garments), and each bag is one of a kind. The bags seemed to meet my litmus test. Beautiful: check. But more importantly: handmade, sustainable, fair labour, and socially responsible. Check marks all around.

What’s more Nena & Co makes giving back to the community that produces their bags a normal practice. Through a variety of projects, Nena & Co helps the communities they work with by providing purified water, or, more recently, supporting outreach programs that teach women how to deliver babies and provides them with birthing kits.

It is undeniable that I love beautiful things, but more important to me is always the story behind the thing, the creative inspirations, and the production ethics. I was really happy when Ali, the owner and designer of Nena & Co agreed to do an interview with me. I can gush to you about the outstanding quality of my Nena bag and how much I love using it, but I expect you will be more compelled to love the bags when you hear straight from Ali about why these bags are so important to her and to the people who sew them.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

My Nena & Co Day Bag II

Tell me a little about yourself. How did Nena & Co get started?

I started Nena & Co because my family is from Guatemala; I ended up lucky enough to be first generation American (on my mom’s side of the family). This could be one of the reasons I believe in social responsibility. When visiting a third world country you have to ask yourself: “why am I one of the lucky ones to have so many opportunities and these people don’t?” Because of that, my love for design, and my heritage, I decided I wanted to create opportunities for people that want to work and do it in a dignified way, which is important to all of us. The people I work with in Guatemala are amazing talented artists. They have learned complex specialized trades from the time they were children. When these craftsmen have to leave home to work in factories to do jobs unrelated to their skills, they often end up performing jobs that are not equal to their talents, interests or artistic nature.

We are a new business that has only been around since May of 2013! Oddly enough my Dad had been encouraging me to do this for 10 years, but it wasn’t until I met my husband three years ago that I felt I had the vision to move forward with it. And once I did, it all came so naturally!

Where do you find your creative inspiration?

I find creative inspiration all around me but there are two specific things that dominate my creative process: 1) What I perceive as a daily need in a product. 2) I invest a lot of time and money in understanding the various textiles made in Guatemala. By doing this I don’t just learn things like how cotton is grown, dyed and loomed. I always learn the story of the artisan. This might be my greatest motivation as I try and design products that truly flatter the hand made fabrics that come from such inspiring people.

What is your favourite part of what you do?

Getting to know the people that work for Nena & Co. in Guatemala is by far the most rewarding part of what I do. Of course I love designing and seeing a finished product that people love. But the most rewarding part of my job is becoming friends with the artisans that work for Nena & Co. and learning their story. Guatemala is a country whose people have suffered from recent civil war, corruption in their government, and great poverty. Even with all of the negative influences they have pulling on them, they greet you with warmth and will share whatever they have. When we meet with our craftsmen we like to teach them business principles on how to place a value on their product based on materials, technique, quality, and time since most of them do not know how to do this and are used to foreigners “haggling” down their prices. We honor their work and we do not underpay our employees or craftsmen.

We value what we make but also want to be fair to our customers and set our prices accordingly. I think we should all ask ourselves “what is my social responsibility,” and although we can’t all start a business, I’d like to think I’ve created a way for people to give back with meaningful purchases or “shopping with a cause” through Nena & Co. and other brands that follow the same business model. I love what we do, the people I work with love what they do, and I hope you can see the beauty in Nena & Co. products.

The motivation and reason I started Nena & Co was because I am half Guatemalan and it was my dream to one day give back to families from there. It’s been a learning curve but we’ve come to a point where we don’t just manufacture in Guatemala but we’ve created sustainable work for Mayan women and men who are able to earn above just “fair wages” and in a dignified way with our company. It is rigorous work that we don’t take for granted. We are so grateful to be able to share our heritage and their beautiful talents with our customers.

Whenever I get home from a long trip to Guatemala all I usually think is I can’t wait to come home and take a warm shower, eat a hot meal and snuggle my husband and watch a movie. Then I started thinking of all the women we work with and the homes we visited and I know they never get to do what I just described. If they have water, it’s definitely not hot, there is no heater to warm the house or a cozy bed to snuggle in. They work from when they wake, doing household chores, tending to children and livestock and then making time to weave to earn money. Don’t get me wrong, I really like nice things and I don’t feel guilty; rather, I feel responsible. I feel a great responsibility to continue to design, collaborate and build a business to give these women and men an opportunity to create a better future for themselves.

What’s next for Nena & Co? Do you have any exciting new products or projects in the works?

I’m striving to create more and more products where we can integrate newly woven textiles into the products so we can continue to give the Mayan men and women sustainable work. We have created three new collections to do just that: the Resort Collection, the Sustainable Line (we just launched the newest addition to that line the Sustainable Mini Carryall), and the Kids & Baby Collection. All these projects are near and dear to my heart and have created so many more jobs than we could’ve imagined when we first started out.

***

A few photos from our Sunday stroll last weekend to showcase my bag — make sure to scroll all the way to the end for details on the Nena & Co Giveaway that I am hosting.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Sen’s hoodie by Christina Rohde, organic leggings by Moon Fries, and Salt Water Sandals available from Mini Mioche

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

Ro’s linen pants by boy+girl

You have a chance to win your own reincarnation of a traditional garment into a modern, stylish and responsible bag by participating in the giveaway that I am hosting on my Instagram account here. The giveaway closes Sunday April 26th, 2015 at midnight in New York City. Good luck to everyone!
image (45)
Danielle Chassin with Ro and Sen Montreal

Interview with Enfants Terribles Magazine

Danielle Chassin with Ro and Sen Montreal

One day last December I received a most unexpected email. It was from the editors at Enfants Terribles magazine. While I often read the magazine, I was a little confused since I had never written to them. I opened the email and found a lovely invitation to join their creative team! After my heart slowed down a bit, I wrote to them nervously explaining that I was not sure I could produce work to their standard; after all their photography is not only beautiful, but extremely creative and out of the box. I told them I would think about it and get back to them. At the time, I figured I would take a few days to decide. But as the minutes and hours passed that same day, I couldn’t get the offer off of my mind. I told myself I shouldn’t let fear of failure keep me from trying. I wrote back the same day and said yes. And then my heart started beating out of my chest again.

Over the past two two weeks of working with the team, planning and sharing ideas, I have been absolutely delighted by how positive and welcoming everyone has been. The environment is creative and collegial, open and honest.

Today, my first blog post for Enfants Terribles went up on their site. In the post I introduce myself and talk about the themes of kindness, creativity and connection, which are central to my approach to parenting.

Enfants Terribles Magazine ETmag Snow Queen issue

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the magazine, I have a short interview with Celine Hallas, one of the Editors-in-Chief at Enfants Terribles, to share with you. But first, a little bit about Celine, herself. Celine is a mother of two and a photographer with a background in children’s fashion. Celine is a big believer in everyday magic and finding adventure in little things. Her photography is undeniably beautiful and often a little quirky, as she likes to say.

Celine Hallas Enfants Terribles Magazine Editor in Chief

What is Enfants Terribles magazine all about?

ETmag was created by Sos and I and is all about playing and keeping an open heart and mind. It is about bringing together creative people from around the world and giving them a common space where they can inspire others. We want to put the spotlight on amazing real people, not just show a polished picture, but get a little look behind the facade – for better or worse! Enfants Terribles magazine aims to be different!

Why did you want to start Enfants Terribles magazine?

Sos and I wanted to create a place where it was okay to be a little, or maybe very, crazy and a place to publish that work. We couldn’t see ourselves in other children’s fashion / lifestyle magazines, so we started our own. We like having a playful and sometimes over-the-top approach – hoping this rule breaking will rub off a bit on people and encourage them to be more brave in fashion and lifestyle.

On our team we don’t have many rules and our contributors are very free in how they work with us. We hope this freedom, that can feel like abandonment to some and feel limiting to others, will encourage their creativity and spark something original.

What are your dreams for Enfants Terribles magazine?

For the magazine to maintain its credibility and freedom to be different. Which can be difficult in this industry!

Please visit the Enfants Terribles website, where all the complete issues are available for free online. You won’t be disappointed.

And, please, don’t forget to read my blog post for them here.

To see more of Celine’s photography visit her website here or you can find her on Instagram here.

***

You might also like my post:

Simple Photography Tips & Taking Photos of Children

10 Ways to Live a Greener, More Sustainable Lifestyle

What You Can Do To Help Conserve and Protect Wild Plants and Animals

13 Ways to Simplify Your Wardrobe

Ecominimalism: Talking about Sustainability with Robin Kay

Let’s be friends! Please come find me in other places: