Today, I bring you a giveaway from SouleMama Sponsor, Urban Baby Bonnets. In Colette's words:
"unique & totally original fabric combinations define our hip, artsy approach to kid’s apparel design. we’re more than just a store, more than just a brand. we move beyond craft and commerce. we believe what we’re doing is art. like you, we’re mamas, too, and we think we’re still kind of hip. we’ve done all of our own product design. our kids have done all of the product testing. with UB2, you get an honest product with distinctive design flair. everything we sell is handmade. no sweatshops, no outsourcing, just beautifully handmade, heirloom quality clothes & accessories for your little one. try us out. join the project. all the cool kids are doing it."
SouleMama: Tell us about the beginnings of your business.
Colette: My grandmother-in-law, Ada, comes down to our house to watch Sabine twice a week. One week, she brought a little baby bonnet with her that she’d sewn for Sabine. I was fanatical about NOT putting my little girl in pink and searched all over for simply black and brown clothing… and Ada knew this… and brought me a bonnet made from a vintage black floral fabric. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the bonnet didn’t fit Sabine… and my obsession was born!
I had been collecting fun, modern fabrics for another installation art project and I went into that stash and pulled some things to make hats out of. The very first hat I ever sewed was the Vines and Goldenrod bonnet that Sabine is wearing in the trademark UB2 picture. I fell in love with the hat right away, but had no plans to sell them. Over the next couple of weeks, every single time I took Sabine out in the bonnet (and I mean every single time—it started to get funny!) people were stopping me and asking where I got such an adorable hat. And I thought, if this many people are stopping me and loving this hat… well, maybe I should make some more! And that’s how UB2 was born!
SouleMama: What inspires you?
Colette: My daughter is my source of inspiration. I do this work for her, to make her life better (financially and emotionally), and staying at home to work is central. We live outside of a very hip and very small town in Ohio. We have 5 acres, lots of gardens, chickens, two dogs, and a cat. There’s a little stream running through our property and we’re adjacent to a nature preserve, a state park, and protected farmland. It’s idyllic. The view from my studio is amazing—one wall is all windows and it overlooks the creek. We’re working a little at a time towards a sort of modified homesteading. We moved here last July mainly so Sabine would grow up in a place where she can be very directly connected to the natural world.
Most of all, though, I love being able to stay home with my gal. I absolutely love being a work at home mom. Working from home allows me so much time with my daughter—it’s amazing and it’s made us very close. We wake up together (we have a family bed), and spend the whole day together, most days. I work in the evenings and Ada, my daughter’s great grandmother, comes over twice a week so I can have some mommy time—usually so I can work. She’s 4 and is learning to read, can do basic addition, write, draw… and she knows the common names for almost every single animal—we have lots of time for learning, reading, making art and even working together. She regularly holds “trade shows” in my studio if I have to work and Ada isn’t here. We’re planning to home school, too, at least at first. If I had to leave home everyday and send her to day care… well, I just can’t imagine turning her over to a school or to a stranger.
One of the coolest things about being a work-at-home mom is that UB2 has allowed me to help other mothers make that same decision. We have contracts with 6 women who do all of our sewing. They are all local—and come to my studio to drop off finished bonnets and to pick up materials. One of our sewists has a young son who is autistic. She can’t work a traditional job because his school often needs her to come and help him when things get a little rough. Another sewist has eldery parents at home as well as young kids—and she does not want to leave them for the number of hours that working outside the home would require. Two other sewists are a very close mother-daughter team. They run their own small business—and sewing for UB2 lets them continue their business and we provide income during their leaner times. I really, truly love this! I love that UB2 money is helping these families do what is best for them. I am proud of this—and I think that my dedication to making sure my products are handmade right here in the US is really important and quite valuable.
SouleMama: What artists/crafters/teachers have inspired your life?
Colette: When I was in graduate school, I took a ceramics class with a professor who ended up being a really instrumental influence in my life. As I was working and trying to refine my own style as a ceramic sculptor (I did not make pottery), he stopped by my work area and said, “that looks great – try making it more of what it is.” I didn’t really understand at first, but eventually, I saw what he was saying. Individuality and authenticity come from finding your voice as an artist and then learning how to speak fluently in that voice. With the bonnets and with all of the other art I’ve done in the past, I have tried to find what it is that I love about what I do and do more of that. It’s a kind of intensification & even transformation that happens. And once you start on the path you can follow the idea of “making it more of what it is” all the way into the tiniest details.
For today's giveaway, Urban Baby Bonnets is generously offering the following gift to ONE winner:
~ an Urban Baby Bonnet!
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To enter today's giveaway, please leave a comment (one entry per person, please) in today's post. I'll close comments by 8am EST on Monday, and announce the winner, chosen via Random Number Generator, shortly after. Comments closed! The winner is...
This would be perfect for my little one :) Thanks
Posted by: Susannah K
Thank you, Urban Baby Bonnets!