Pink NouNou the ethical baby toy brand…meet the delightful handmade extravangaza for little ones

The best way to describe Pink Nounou? Modern and playful designs for both kids and those young at heart! The gorgeous brand offers a range of textile and paper products designed for little ones but to be admired and appreciated by the kind of parents who appreciate practical and unique pieces. Pink Nounou’s cheery little softie characters in particular present a visual delight, ones easy to become attached to! There are also a ton of eco products to discover! Designer and CEO Ana Carriço creates one-of-a-kind dolls and soft toysbibs with fairy talesbaby rattles, pillows (mini or square), art prints and so much more. I caught up with Ana, the dynamic creative genius, to discuss some of the coolest toys in our play box and find out more about this exciting brand.

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BRAND?

My name is Ana, I’m 42 years old. I LOVE to draw and travel (although I’m really afraid of flying), also I love chocolate, ice-cream & my beautiful daughter (not necessarily in this order!).

I was born in Mozambique lived in Portugal since I was 4 years old. I am currently based in Lisboa with my 10 year old daughter and my husband. I always lived by the sea which is also something I love and feel very connected to! I have a degree in Graphic Design and in these past few years I’ve been fully dedicated to my brand – PinkNounou.

My work is the result of my passion about kids design, illustration, children storybooks and fabrics. I want to create toys and other designs that children can play + cuddle + love and will mean something special in their childhood. My brand – PinkNounou – has a range of textile and paper products designed for the little ones and also for their parents who appreciate creative, modern and unique pieces.

As a designer, creator and mom, it’s super important for me to design (or illustrate) pieces that parents can easely incorporate in their kids rooms, which will be cherished for a long time. I want these pieces to  play a big role in playing & learning moments, assuring the perfect childhood memories! I know it’s a big aspiration but it’s what drives me 🙂

In 2012, some of my soft toys were featured in Jenny Doh book “We Make Dolls!”. I’ve also been lucky to see my work featured in other lovely sites and magazines. My dream is to grow my brand and live a simple, healthy, happy life with my family!

HOW DO YOU APPROACH SUSTAINABILITY/TRANSPARENCY WITHIN PINK NOUNOU?

I have a business which focuses on handmade products, but some are produced using digital technology to print my own illustrations into fabric in a safe way and with a final high quality. This kind of technique allows me to have fresh, new and very diversified collections (always made in small batches). I’m able to satisfy larger audiences and deliver reasonable prices without having to mass produce my products, I put a little love in each piece, with each one being hand cut & hand sew finished.

The collections with my illustrations are digitally printed onto a 100% cotton fabric using water based dyes. Digital printing is an environmentally friendly printing technique – it’s cleaner, safer, and usually less wasteful, and less environmentally hazardous than other methods.

Almost all my materials are sourced locally and everything is designed, hand cut, hand stuffed, hand sewn. I use a regular sewing machine (especially with an old Singer – which are the best!), and packaged and send them from my home studio in Lisbon, Portugal.

My watercolors are made with cold pressed acid free papers and I dedicate a lot of time and love to them! I value authenticity, trust, quality on the details of how things are made and supplies quality are also of the most importance to me.

WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU FACED WHEN TRYING TO GROW THE BRAND?

Being a creative kind of person, one of my greatest difficulties is finding that balance between the need to create and the business side of my work. I face it by trying to learn something new and useful everyday.
Marketing my brand in a effective and consistent way in order to grow – since there’s only one of me doing it all…it can be a tricky thing!

I haven’t had major setbacks but I deal everyday with the fact that this isn’t a hobby and I have to monetize what I do. On the long term this can be wearing. Which leads me to my “stay-positive-equation”: – You have to really, really love what you do and believe in it!

It is also important to have a clear plan to help go through the hard times, especially being honest and realistic about your goals.

Find out more about the incredible brand Pink NouNou brand here.

Pursuing Your Passion While Raising a Family

Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

It’s 2018, and it’s high time we shake things up. Women are shamed every day, for almost everything. If you’re a mom and you’re not working, you’re judged for not working. If you are a working mom, frowns are thrown around for you not being just a mom. It’s time we put a stop to all of that. Yes, women are superheroes, and we can do multiple things at once. So, if you’re a mom with a dream, a passion that’s been hiding in your heart for a long time and you’ve been reluctant to pursue it, it’s time to put your imaginary superhero cape on, and go for it. Yes, there may be challenges along the way, but you’ll work out the kinks as you go. Here are some simple tips to help you navigate those tricky first steps. 

Take a seat at the drawing board

Ok, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you want to do. Do you have a passion for fashion? Are you drawn to the idea of sustainable fashion and lifestyle? Are you an amazing cook? Perhaps you want to share your parenting advice? Hey, you might even have a way with words and want to write short stories or a novel. Is your passion in the creative sphere or elsewhere? Whatever it might be, you will need to figure out what it is before anything else. That is the first step – pinpointing exactly what it is you want to do. Read more…

A chat with Wee Gallery #EcoBaby
I had my first child this July and as anyone who follows my work knows, over the years eco-design has become more and more important to me. This summer with the arrival of a new person in my life, my search intensified. As a little background, my experience is in the field of sustainability and environmentalism – I love beautiful design which doesn’t cost (us) the earth. I wanted, and want, to find baby products (toys, clothes, toiletries, you name it) which are suitable for the most delicate and sensitive skin, whilst being beautiful designed and cleverly executed with long term durability. Sustainability went without saying, as did affordability because let’s face it, having a baby is expensive. One of the brands I discovered on this journey is US company Wee Gallery, the brainchild of graphic designer Surya Sajnani and her teacher husband Dave Pinto. Founded in 2002, the duo focus on creating simple black & white graphics on children’s toys and homeware, and apparently it’s all down to the science.

Read more…

A little conversation with Mommy Care

I had first child this July and anyone who follows my work know that over the years eco-design has become more and more important to me. As a little background, my experience is in the field of sustainability and environmentalism. I have worked in the area for so long that, where possible, I became interested in putting my baby in eco items as much as possible as the benefits were so outstanding – for the little one and the environment.

Of course, on a personal level,  the usual concerns surrounded my search. I wanted to find maternity products to help prevent stretch marks, reduce swelling, and help my body retain its shape after pregnancy (no biggie!) but finding baby products which were specifically suitable for the most delicate and sensitive skin was at the top of my list too. Balancing costs goes without saying as affordability is at the front of mind for many new mamas too. One of the brands I discovered on this journey was Mommy Care, and quickly fell in love with their Organic Calendula Diaper Cream, Soothing GelLanolin Breastfeeding Ointment and Natural Bottle & Pacifier Detergent (amongst other items). From baby wipes made from 100% natural fabric, without synthetic fibers, to facial creams made with all natural ingredients and rich with Jojoba, Shea Butter, and Calendula, there is a market for it all – you just have to do your research.

I had so many skin reactions during my pregnancy that ingredients have become the most important thing to me, beyond design or even portioning, for me this meant I would rather pay little more for a small pot of goodness. Luckily with Mommy Care I didn’t have to make that compromise. It can be a scary and intimidating time, navigating with a baby and wanting to do what is best for him/her. What I honestly loved about this brand is that they specialises in the development and production of skin care products for expecting mothers, babies and children and makes a point of developing natural and safe products for use during the time when skin is most sensitive.

So, I had a little conversation with them about their ethos, approach and products. Enjoy!

Read more…

Sustainable Maternity Wear

As the world of sustainable wardrobe slowly spreads its wings and includes more diverse options among its shelves, moms-to-be everywhere are starting to flock together around the very same cause – what on Earth should you wear? It’s these special days of your pregnancy that show you how our society still has some adapting to do. Simply put, sustainable wear is not on every corner, let alone garments that a future mom would be able to use.

However, as a devoted fashionista and a clever shopper, there’s so much you can to do diversify your beautiful pregnant capsule wardrobe and still stay true to your beliefs and preferences. Read more…

Leading Ethical Fashion Movements Right Now

Photo by Björn Grochla

Once upon a time, the decision-making process behind buying a simple t-shirt or a pair of jeans didn’t go further than checking the price tag. However, as we strive towards a greener world in all aspects of our lives, it was only a matter of time before fashion consumers everywhere would discover the truth of mass production, unbelievably poor working conditions for people making our clothes, and the toxins involved in the entire cycle.

Our obsession with trends and style has left us blind to the consequences of our own choices for a very long time. Now, however, we’re on the brink of a new era, when the price is not our only concern. We finally have ample insight into the brands and designer names that go the extra mile in their entire design-create-sell cycle. This gives us the freedom to opt for precisely what we want to support, not just merely in terms of fashion, but more importantly, in terms of values.

Read more…

A Wardrobe Detox Guide for a More Mindful Style

By Sophia Smith

There’s no need to wait for the next New Year’s resolutions list, or for the spring, for that matter. When it comes to making the right decisions, it’s never too late or too early to switch to the light side. For example, we’ve all felt that shopaholic need to binge-buy when the latest collections come in, and we’ve all spent more hours browsing online catalogues than we’d planned, but that is no reason to forget the dream of a purpose-driven wardrobe!

In fact, this is your opportunity to truly detox your style from all the dresses you’ve never once worn, the tees that are so old they are literally transparent, and the jeans that are far beyond the notion of distressed. This is your step-by-step guide to restructure your style for the sake of smarter, eco-friendlier, and more sustainable shopping decisions!

Decluttering is a team effort

Emotions play a huge role when choosing between things to discard and things to keep. That is why you need a steady hand, and a keen eye of a close friend who will be the judge and jury along your side once the time comes to ditch or keep your wardrobe essentials. Read more…