Emilia is the woman behind the little label Petit Kolibri. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, she started her Kids clothing label a few years ago and has been very successful. We wanted to know a bit more about Emilia and Petit Kolibri and were allowed to have a look behind the scenes…
Can you tell us how the founding of your label Petit Kolibri came about?
As a child, I spent my afternoons playing with fabric in my grandma`s atelier, she used to be a tailor and made gorgeous wedding dresses as well. She taught me all about fabric, stitching and knitting, and all the leftovers from her work I converted into beautiful dresses and accessories for my dolls. Since then textiles had always been rooted deeply in my heart. After finishing my Master’s in Fashion Business in Shanghai and Florence, I moved to Berlin and soon realized that I wanted to make something good for children, providing the best quality for affordable prices to parents that care for the child and about where and how the products are made.
Can you tell us about the Petit Kolibri concept?
Petit Kolibri is minimal but meaningful. Nature and babies are the muses of inspiration for the brand. We aim to transmit their pureness and softness. Most of the clothes are without gender and natural colors are the signature. Instead of printing we take special care to select textures and textile patterns, and most of the models have a different weaving technique. I was born in Bogotá, Colombia and the Kolibris had always caught my attention. These magical creatures are full of life, their energy is contagious and in South America some cultures believe it is a sacred animal. Petit Kolibri is a brand made with love and attention to detail. We celebrate life, movement and we are passionate about our work. I believe children are the future, and only through love and good care can we seed what we expect the future to be. I create the purest collections so the children can be free.
What was the biggest Petit Kolibri-highlight?
Our handmade accessories have a strong impact, especially our booties and hats. The textures are the highlight of Petit Kolibri. However, our blankets and accessories for home are not left behind. The illustrations are part of many families as they bring great vibes.
Which production steps are required before a product can be sold?
Normally I make the design of the collection, make the sample of the fabrics or weaving required for the pieces and approve them. In this process there are some changes because of the textures I would like to achieve, or the patterns will be adjusted in order to fit my idea. Then we move forward to make the samples with the new textures and find the accessories that give the final details. After the samples are ready we normally make some final changes and look that all is clear. Afterwards, I order the material that can take up to 3 months to produce – undyed alpaca is a very special material because there are no grey alpacas, and the colour is made from the combination of black alpaca and beige alpaca hair. Once the material arrives, the production process begins, then final steps like labeling and packaging are made. Last step is sending to Berlin!
What do you pay attention to in the materials you use?
Searching for sustainable materials, I found alpaca yarns. This Peruvian material soon became my favorite and I went personally to Peru to source it, revising the production steps, the company that makes it and their commitment to sustainability and social projects. For me it is one of the most important aspects of Petit Kolibri.
Alpaca fibre is prized thanks to its natural properties. The combination of unique weather conditions and low protein diet allows Alpacas to grow fine hair that is comparable to other special, high-quality fibers such as Cashmere, Angora and Mohair. Alpaca is a soft, silky, durable fibre that has unique thermal properties due to the microscopic air pockets in it. These pockets allow the wearer to breathe through it on warm days and likewise trap body heat in cold weather. Indigenous people from the Peruvian Andes mountains obtain the high quality alpaca wool every 12 months, causing no harm to the animals.
Baby alpaca is the highest quality Alpaca, though it doesn’t come from baby alpacas as many believe. This noble fiber comes from the animal’s back which has the least contact with the ground. The texture is very similar to cashmere. I use it often for Petit Kolibris accessories and products so children have this soft warm feeling.
How important is sustainability to you, personally and for your label?
I believe every consumer decision we make has an impact in nature and social life. Petit Kolibri was born to bring great materials and excellent craftsmanship without destroying the environment and making a contribution in every step. From the material to the production Petit Kolibri creates value. The materials used are all organic and the alpaca wool being used does not have any dyeing process, therefore all processes are natural.
Why should people buy your products? What makes them different?
Petit Kolibri products are made with love and you can feel it, the minimal clean design makes them perfect for every generation to use. We care for every step of production in order to be ethical. I often get the question: Can you make it for parents as well? These products are so special, parents feel proud and treasure them. Often they have a very nice second life!
Where do you want Petit Kolibri to be in five years?
I would love that Petit Kolibri can be part of families around the world. There has been a lot of interest from Japan and USA and we would be happy to open up to new cultures. We are also developing a new line with artisan communities specially designed for a baby home. Petit Kolibri would like to grow organically whilst having a positive social impact.
When you look back on your work and life in 20 years, which memories do you think will be strongest?
Like a “Kolibri”, I have a profound joy for moving around, discovering new places and new ways of observing the world. I love my work and enjoy it every day. When I look back in 20 years, I wish I can bring to this world a strong message bringing Petit Kolibri to different parts of the world and making good memories for children and parents, being part of their stories and their young lives!
Thank you very much for your time and this lovely interview Emilia! We are very happy that you are part of the ManyMiniThings community!
You can find some more information about Petit Kolibri on their ManyMiniThings Feature site.