Baby, it's getting cold outside! One thing that struck me when I became a mother was how hard it was to find cute and practical winter wear for my new baby. Even now, my toddler needs cold weather gear that is well designed. At Culture Baby, we fell in love with the line of accessories at Cabbages & Kings for several reasons.
First, the products are well thought through! An infinity scarf is just right for a little one since it avoids the pitfalls of a traditional scarf (trailing on the floor, getting caught). And the leg warmers are ideal for boys and girls who seem to get their poor little frostbitten calves exposed to the elements every time they are carried!
Second, all Cabbages & Kings woolies are handmade by women's cooperatives in the Andes Mountains of Peru and bought fair-trade as a means of strengthening local community groups and promoting self-sufficiency among the artisans.
And thirdly, the company is mom conceived and mom run by the ever so stylish Alexandre Gizela, a former model and natural entrepreneur. Below, she takes a moment to answer our questions about how the product line came to be and how she manages motherhood and her career.
Culture Baby: How did you first get inspired to start your company?
Alexandra Gizela: The birth of my daughter, Luella. She was born in September so I was searching for cute layerable clothing for winter to keep her warm...couldn't find much! So decided to do it myself. I double majored in Business and Anthropology in college, so I found it to be the perfect way to actually put my degree to proper use!!
CB: Why did you focus on working in Peru with women's cooperatives?
AG: I studied a lot about Andean cultures in college, specifically various groups in Peru, and so it seemed like the obvious place to start. I knew I wanted to be fair trade and to somehow help people in impoverished countries in taking steps to improve their lives.
CB: What sets your products apart?
AG: The line is a great mix of style, quality and functionality. It's hard to find all 3 in 1.
CB: How do you balance being a mom and running a business?
AG: It's hard, I am not going to lie. The last thing I want to feel is like I am neglecting my child. So HELP is key. Luckily my mom lives very close and she is able to help me out a tremendous amount. Scheduling is also very important and I save the things that need my full attention for when she is napping....it's good because as soon as she goes down I am on a countdown and so I find myself to be quite efficient :)
CB: Is introducing your child to the wilder world important to you? If so, how do you bring culture and diversity into your family life?
AG: Ever since I could remember, people have been calling me a walking melting pot (because of my mixed ethnicity). My dad's side is of European decent and my mother's is of Asian; and the mix of those two very different worlds have been a fun and very interesting way of growing up.
It taught me a lot about acceptance and to embrace what is different in people. It has encouraged me to want to travel and explore the world....and that has not changed one bit since having Luella.
Luella is only two and has had her passport stamped a thousand times, having been to Mexico, France, Portugal, England, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago...as well as many places in the US. It's amazing. She loves it! And she has a love for food and flavor like no other.
CB: Where does the name, Cabbages & Kings come from?
From The Walrus and the Carpenter poem from Through the Looking Glass. Alice & Wonderland is my favorite childhood book. O'Henry, Lewis Carroll...my favorites!
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."