I'm very excited about my chit chat today. Today's chit chat is with Natalia from CultureBaby. If you haven't heard of CultureBaby, do get familiar with them. CultureBaby is an online children's boutique that specialises in interesting and beautiful items from all over the world with a focus on sustainability, products that are better for our world! Owners Natalia and Monica are two savvy mums that have traveled the world over to find beautiful, traditional, conversation starter products. Their products aren't just an ordinary product, they have a story behind them that can be passed on to your child and to theirs. Check out their lovely collection here: http://www.culturebaby.com
Read on for my lovely chit chat with Natalia:
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I'm a UK born, naturalized American who can't sit still. I'd lived in 4 countries by the time I was 12 and I haven't wanted to stop seeing the world since. My husband, who is in the military, suggests I married him for the travel budget :) Not true but it is much more a perk for us than a challenge. We have a 2 year old son who will likely be forced to be a global nomad too, whether he likes it or not...so far, he has been a real sport...a consummate traveller.
HOW DID CULTURE BABY COME ABOUT? WHAT DOES CULTURE BABY STAND FOR?
CultureBaby came about shortly after my own baby. Because we moved so much, we are very fortunate to have friends all over the world. When the new baby gifts came rolling in, I particularly loved the ones from abroad that said something to me about the places they had come from. Reminded me of those cultures, those people and I was really glad to share that with my new baby. It was a pair of baby blue Spanish Espadrilles, still on the site, that put me over the edge. I incorporated CultureBaby when my baby was 6 months.
CultureBaby stands for welcoming baby to the world. We want to offer parents and friends access to innovative global designers and
entrepreneurs who have a new creative take on tradition. We want to start baby off on the right foot, getting to know the world they will inherit. We hope each CultureBaby item can be a conversation piece and a learning opportunity. Everything from the fabric, to the artistry. We want them all to have a global story.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN FINDING PRODUCTS FOR CULTURE BABY?
In addition to the aspects mentioned above, we want the piece to be well-made, safe and sustainable. We want a lot more from our products that just a traditional shoe, toy or dress. We want to be sure not only that the designer has put a modern touch on it, but also that it is made of organic or toxin free materials, that it is fair trade, has a low carbon footprint...things that make the purchase one that makes the world a little better for baby. We don't expect all these things in one product, but we like to see that our vendors have this in their minds when they create.
YOU CARRY PRODUCTS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, HOW DO YOU FIND THE UNIQUE PRODUCTS YOU HAVE IN YOUR SHOP?
Some products come to us, either directly from their creators who through our network of "CultureBaby Moms", international women who are on the look out for us. There are so many entrepreneurs out there doing fascinating things. Sometimes we find them and their products on our travels. Sometimes we commission them especially.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CHILDRENSWEAR DESIGNER AT THE MOMENT?
I love what Ode is doing, we carry a lot of their products. Some other designers that I hope will join us on CultureBaby soon include Waddler, Tane, Nui, La Coqueta. All brilliant.
IS THERE A NEW DESIGNER YOU HAVE FOUND THAT YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT?
I am very excited about AltoVolta - a Spanish designer creating really modern geometric and simple prints out of Palma. He is on the site right now. Also Isossy was just added, a UK based designer with global inspiration.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE? DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WOMENSWEAR DESIGNER?
I am very functional (I have a toddler after all) but I do wear what I preach. I love Banana Republic basics jazzed up with jewelry, scarves or fun shirts I find on my travels. If I had my druthers though...and lots of cash...I would wear Alice Temperly, Sarah Burton with Anya Hindmarch bags! I like Brit style :)
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CAFÉ, BOOKSHOP, STORE THAT YOU VISIT TO GAIN INSPIRATION?
I very much miss Kramer's bookstore in Washington DC. It is loud but I love their selection. I love to get a sandwich and tap away on my laptop at any Pain Quotidian too. But store wise there are just soooo many! In DC I like The Propper Topper. Here in Rabat, I like Fenyadi or Alchemy which sell modern updates on Moroccan products. In New York, there are too many to name!
YOU TRAVEL A LOT, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE TRIP SO FAR? DO YOU HAVE A DREAM DESTINATION?
I loved going up through Spain from Morocco. We took the ferry from Tangiers then through Andalucia by car all the way to Alicante and then ferried to Mallorca where my parents live. That was amazing. I never go wrong with the South of France.
I also must give a shout out to Petra in Jordan and Kyoto...two all time favs. I still want to do Istanbul (we go late this month) and Croatia, South Africa, Chile, Scandinavia, ....some day!
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE SOMEONE HAS GIVEN YOU?
That perfect is the enemy of the good. Sometimes, as an entrepreneur...mother...wife...friend...you get so hung up on making it exactly right that you do nothing, or feel down about what little you did accomplish. We are our own harshest critics and it is important to give yourself credit where it is due. Don't always measure other people's seemingly perfect exteriors with the messy interior of yourself and think that you are the only one that doesn't have it together. Odds are, all those perfect people have their own little messes swept under the rug!
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR US?
Is Carpe Diem too cliche? I think that there is nothing that breeds regret more than a great idea that you let wither on the vine. If something excites you, occupies your thoughts or keeps you up at night....act on it. Even if you start small....don't ignore the universe when it sends you a message!
ANY EXCITING PLANS FOR CULTURE BABY, ANY NEW YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
Well I head back to Washington DC in September and I am excited to get more involved with the community there. We hope to run some events and pop ups for moms so stay tuned to our blog, twitter and facebook for updates.