What’s better than personalized baby gifts? Personalized baby gifts designed by authentic Peruvian artisans of course. While many designers personalize with monograms or insignias, the designers of Blabla’s personalized baby gifts got a little more creative. Their personalization comes in the form of tiny finger puppets, discovered in a quaint Peruvian market in 2001 and currently the signature item of their thriving business.
Today you can find these playful puppets peeking out from the sweaters, hats, strap bags, dolls, booties, pillows and blankets that comprise their charming line of baby clothes and whimsically childish creatures. In fact, since their encounter in that Peruvian market five years ago, Blabla designers Florence Wetterwald and Susan Pritchett never fell out of love with the little puppets, or the skilled Peruvian knitters that produced them. Inspired by the “talent and gentleness” of the artisan community, Wetterwald and Pritchett set out to produce their own special line of personalized baby gifts with their Peruvian muses as sole crafters.
This result of this remote partnership? An incredibly unique style of personalized baby gifts, along with a creative process that is far from orthodox. Here, the creators describe the experience: “Working with the artisans has been challenging, inspiring, exhilarating, and hilarious, upsetting at times, but never boring and always humanly rewarding,” states their website.
But why would the designers of these wildly successful personalized baby gifts go through such a complicated process to get their merchandise, when they could just get their baby gifts mass-produced in the States? The answer may lie in a look at the creators’ captivating backgrounds.
The French-born Wetterwald grew up as the daughter of a Bordeaux family who printed wine labels, so culture and branding was in her blood from an early age. Growing up in an old Bordeaux Chateau with “no TV or washing machine, only a grand piano and lots of books,” Wetterwald first found inspiration for her personalized baby gifts collection from a children’s book called La Fontain’s Fables, illustrated by Dore. The collection of stories about talking animals in hats and suspenders clearly inspired her own whimsical collection of the charming stuffed animals that feature prominently in her personalized baby gifts line.
Despite studying Art History in Paris and Industrial Design in Florence, Italy, Wetterwald found creating personalized baby gifts was her true passion. “I like the freedom and lightness of creating for children,” the designer explains on her website. “I enjoy working with knitters, adapting my ideas to their skills, seeing the threads intertwine and the product slowly take shape.” Wetterwald also pinpoints the delicate nature of children as an inspiration for her personalized baby gifts. “I love kids, their fragility moves me,” she says, “I like to believe that my designs comfort them, make them smile.”
Furthermore, Wetterwald’s extensive history of travel makes outsourcing her personalized baby gift line to Peru seem more natural than it would for many. “I started to travel very young,” Wetterwald explains. “The villages of deep Africa, the crystallized salt trees along the banks of the Dead Sea, the whiteness of Greece, the stillness of Portugal…all of these have shaped my ideas of beauty.”
For co-creator Susan Pritchett, the desire to create personalized baby gifts stemmed from her reverent legacy for homemade delicacies. The granddaughter of an award-winning poundcake-maker and the daughter of a reverent rose-garden tender, Pritchett was raised with a deep respect for family mementos and hand-created objects. Her personalized baby gift collection is her individual expression of a greater family tradition.
As for her desire to outsource her personalized baby gifts to Peru? Pritchard says she gets her love of antiques from her mother, her sense of adventure from her father. The two combine with her personalized baby gifts line, one part exotic (Peruvian artistry) and two parts sweet and familial (personalized baby gifts.)
But the launch of the best friends’ personalized baby gifts line could never have been a success without a healthy knowledge of trend and beauty. Luckily, neither woman is a stranger to style. Pritchard worked at the classic clothing designer Halston during the Studio 54 era, and Wetterwald’s art has appeared in museums and galleries around the world. It is the ruling sense of style, undergirded with the women’s mutual love of unique handmade goods that inspires their adorable menagerie of personalized baby gifts and trinkets. Check out the precious Lemonade dog here.
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