There are so many cool and cultured moms in San Francisco, it almost makes me want to pick up and move again...almost!
But one in particular takes the cake for me...Janette Crawford of Fashion Loves People and Sun + Dotter. If you, like me, got a major girl crush on Janette through her famous Fashion Loves People blog, you'll be thrilled to know that she's thrown her stylish self into the world of babies.
After the birth of her daughter, Vivian, and her journey to adapt her ethical and design priorities to the world of motherhood and children, Janette founded Sun + Dotter to share her expertise with mommies striving to do the same. The result is a styling and consultancy service that helps new parents live vibrant lives with their children, always a CultureBaby goal. We asked Janette to tell us more about her professional and personal life in the Bay Area and naturally, to curate her CultureBaby favorites.
All images © Maria del Rio
1) Where do you live now and with whom? In San Francisco! Maya Angelou described being “intoxicated by the physical fact of San Francisco” — it's on 42 hills, so a view across the bay, of water, or of the skyline is always just a hill away. I came here almost three years ago via Kansas City, a few hours from where I grew up in rural Kansas. I live with my husband; my 2-year-old, Vivian; and our dog, Stella.
2) You've written about ethical fashion for years through your blog, Fashion Loves People. Now you’ve moved your focus over to a new company, Sun + Dotter, doing home design and personal styling for moms. Can you tell us about that transition? I’d love to. I started blogging about ethical fashion in 2007 after it occurred to me that products I buy could be made in a way that takes advantage of people. Now, I’m passionate about the idea of spending my money according to my values, as well as not thinking of the things I buy as disposable. When I was first faced with picking out baby products a few years ago, I tried to approach them the same way… but babies grow so quickly, it’s like you’re buying things just to throw them away in a few months!
So for baby things in particular, I use a new set of priorities. I think versatility is the most important, like a child’s table used as a side table while a baby is still tiny — and then adding a set of child-size chairs to it when they’re older, for a play table. Or espresso spoons used as feeding spoons. Also important to me is buying used when it makes sense (because things like cribs are short-term use anyway), and only selecting things that reflect our own style. I’ve applied these values to my own selection of baby things, and now I get to do it for other new moms, as well! I’ve been able to work with clients on everything from maternity styling to kid-friendly home design — any area where a stylist’s touch can help maintain parents’ sense of self, as well as to ease stress.
3) Last year you wrote about how, before Viv was born, you were fearful of loosing your interests and sense of self to motherhood. How do you maintain your interests and values with, rather than in spite of, your daughter? When I got pregnant, I had a sort of irrational fear of losing myself — losing my career ambitions, sacrificing my style to sweatpants, and on and on. But none of that was true! One thing that helped shape my (albeit still evolving) perspective was Pamela Druckerman’s book Bringing up Bebé. You can read a great excerpt from it at WSJ.com. She writes that in France, kids fit into their parents’ lives — not the other way around, that parents orient to revolve around their kids. I love my daughter more than I could ever describe, but I believe it’s healthiest for both of us for me to maintain my own sense of identity. That means that my house still looks like adults live in it, that my wardrobe stays up-to-date, and that I get babysitters when I need a night on the town.
The other thing is that I know a magnificent community of moms. That wasn’t true at first, but one relationship has led to another, and we now have a “Cool Moms Club” group on Facebook, of Bay Area women who work in creative industries. Connecting with like-minded moms has been excellent for me, for both friendships and networking. (I’m not sure that it’s enough to connect with someone else if the only thing you share in common is both being moms. The like-minded piece is really important.)
5) What are your favorite CultureBaby products and why?
Peruvian Alpaca Leg Warmer in Charcoal & Cream — Legwarmers are both practical and adorable. And they can double as arm-warmers for you!
Global Print Jumpsuits in Black — I love everything about this romper. And the $30 price point makes it especially irresistible.
Moroccan Leather Baby Booties in Golden Pom Pom — These booties that Natalia found in Morocco are one of my favorite things. Definitely an heirloom piece to save for years to come.Kenyan Pom Pom Garland in Multicolor — A fun objet d’art for a kid’s room, and I love the subtle color palette in this one.
Indian Wood Toys - Go Go — A stacker and a pull-toy in one, and I’d let this end up in my living room any day.
Kimono Pajamas in Black & White — Kimono tops are so practical, especially for tiny babies. I love this subtle Indian block print and fringed tie closure.