March break has passed for us here in Montreal and the kiddies are back to school! We had a fun week of chaos & playdates. We had a milestone over here! My oldest had his very first sleepover! One of his best friends stayed with us on Saturday night. They were wild, crazy and very adorable! My younger monkey was in on all the fun as well. A night of pizza, ice cream, video games, movies and popcorn. I think the boys had a great time, and went to sleep WAY too late! I remember loving sleepovers as a kid. They were always such a treat. I don't have any siblings so it was always fun to have the extra company.
Today I'm bringing you a story of the ladies behind Matelele; Mel Serangelo and Lucia Compte. They are a wonderful team who make beautiful, functional baby accessories. If you are currently breastfeeding your baby, or thinking that you may want to once baby is born, you have to check out their gorgeous shop! Breastfeed and look stylish, yes please! :)
Here Mel talks about their beginnings in business, and what inspires them.
I became a mother 3 years ago, and just a few weeks before my first son turned 1, I found out that I was pregnant with baby number 2. It was around then that I met my partner Lucia Compte, who is an amazingly talented textile designer. Together, we realized two things :
1- There weren't a lot of cute, affordable, chic and stylish nursing dresses for breastfeeding moms.
2- My babies kept producing an unbelievable amount of spit and drool and we needed to do something about it. The solution to this excessive drooling needed to be colorful, absorbent and look great on my kids. But most of all, it had to be something handmade. In Argentina, where Lucia and I were born and raised, there is a well-established culture of shopping for handmade items in fairs, small shops and even from artisans selling their products on the streets. From a young age we learn to appreciate things that are one-of-a-kind and created by someone in their house or atelier, not in a factory; Things made with love and care, not with sweat and threats and tears.
That's how Matelelé was born: Two creative friends coming together to address two of the issues that troubled a nursing mom of a serious drooler. That is what we design, make and sell: breastfeeding clothes, other related accessories and funky bibs for small babies with big personalities.
Matelelé is a made up word composed from two separate terms. Mate - are the first four letters of the word "maternity" - and also "maté" is a beverage widely drank in South America, were Lucia and I are originally from. "Lelé" comes from the French term "Le Lait" which means milk. And this is how both my kids refer to their beverage of choice.
Click on the image, to see the next item.
What is your favorite part of your creative process? Are there any people in particular that have helped or inspired your work?
We jokingly say that we started Matelelé to support our addiction to fabric shopping. It's not really a joke, though. We absolutely and thoroughly enjoy fabric shopping: we love colours, textures, vintage fabrics and we love to imagine what will become of a certain yard of printed fabric. We have lengthy and heated discussions (we're both very opinionated) on how we can work towards upcycling, improve or transform old baby clothes, scarves, dresses, tablecloths etc.
We draw inspiration from everyday items, from things babies need and moms find useful. We use all kinds of fabrics in our designs: from designer fabrics to organic cotton, to pure cotton pillow cases with fun patterns or recycled fabrics. In our creative process we'll use anything that we find remarkable, funny or simply cute and that can stand the test of the washing/drying machine and -of course- my kids.
But most of all, since this is the project of two friends, what we love the most is working together, drinking Maté, lattés, coffee, talking about every single subject imaginable to mankind and listening to endless playlists (thanks to Songza!). We are always honest with each other and know how to encourage one another to bring out the best in us. In addition to thread and fabric, we put a lot of love in our products. We are very grateful for every sale we make because every dollar that goes into our pockets doesn't go to a bushy-eyebrowed CEO that runs child-operated sweatshops in Bangladesh.
Thank you Mel & Lucia for sharing your story with us!