We caught up with best friends Mimmi and Selina, the two mothers behind the coolest new name in organic fashion, Tao & Friends, to talk all about business, babies and giving back…
How did the Tao & Friends first come about?
It all started just before Christmas 2014 with the two of us having a catch-up dinner in Stockholm. We had always wanted to work together, and that evening we decided to launch a kidswear brand – we both have kids so it seemed natural to us! We even came up with the name Tao & Friends that first night, setting up an Instagram account the following day.
How has motherhood inspired your work?
Our kids are our main source of inspiration. We even let them be part of the development process of our brand; they get to choose their favourite animals, colours and cuts! We create a brand that is designed to excite and inspire kids, and we have the perfect collaborators to ensure this.
What’s it like working with your best friend?
Honestly, AMAZING – we are the perfect business match! We love and respect each other and share the same vision and profound dedication for our brand. We never remember who came up with what idea, it all comes really naturally.
How do you juggle running a business whilst both having young families?
Sometimes it’s tough and we have to ask for help from friends and family, but mostly it’s great to be your own boss when you have little ones as we can be flexible.
Tell us about the charitable values behind Tao & Friends.
The core value of our brand is not only to dress the children, but also to help children in need. This is why we have decided to give, a fixed amount of €1 for each item of clothing sold to a charity precious to us. Our aim and hope is that by growing the brand we can also continue to spread the goodwill! Of course, no amount we can give is ever enough, but if we can help make a difference then it’s a start. Every year we will introduce a new “friend” to our squad; a little someone who has been through a lot and touched our hearts. We will choose a charity that is linked to this “friend” of ours and help him/her as well as others in the same situation. Our first charity is The Winnicott Foundation. You can read more about our charity programme on our website.
Why is being sustainable important to you?
We want to lead a good life with a conscience and this is reflected in every aspect of our brand, from production to finished product, from our values to our actions. We want to help and guide the next generation into a great life, but not at anyone else’s expense.
Describe a typical day.
There is no typical day! One of us lives in London, the other one in Stockholm and we travel a lot to see each other. We have Skype meetings, we send about 200 emails and text messages to each other every day. One day it’s all about the next collection with new animal prints, the next day it could be interviews like this one, and the third day it could be sorting out deliveries from our factory – there really is no typical day.
You’re both Swedish; how does childrenswear in Sweden differ from that of the UK?
Swedish people in general are very conscious when it comes to nature and health. Organic food and clothing has been growing bigger and bigger over the past decade, and this is really reflected in the childrenswear market in Sweden. Customers will go into stores and ask for 100% organic cotton clothing for their kids. This is a growing segment in the UK too, and as a brand of 100% organic cotton clothing, we of course hope that the UK customer will become just as organic-aware as the Swedes already are.
What was it like growing up in Sweden?
Sweden is a lovely country and it’s really idyllic for kids as well as parents; you can really embrace and enjoy having children. Maternity leave lasts for over a year, day-care is nearly free of charge, the educational system is the very best and it’s a safe country to live in. But then both of us left Stockholm at the age of 20 to move to London… we were both longing for some more excitement and action!
What’s your favourite thing to do with your little ones in London?
There is so much to do with kids in London. Our favourite hangout at the moment is Clifton Nurseries in Little Venice, it’s a plant nursery and garden centre with a lovely café. It’s an oasis even for kids – they have wooden play houses, toys, crayons, babycinos, and the resident cat Mrs Miggins!
Any future business plans?
At the moment we are starting on our Spring/Summer 2017 collections with an aim to expand and help spread the goodwill around the world. Together we can really make a difference and help those in need.