When I first started up Petite Chou-fleur Designs I did not want to tackle sleepwear. I mean, I absolutely did – in fact, it’s all I wanted to do but I was afraid to. I hadn’t sewn any sleepwear and the logistics of it scared me. Children's sleepwear is heavily regulated in the US and Canada and starting a new business was daunting enough let alone doing something that meant meeting regulations. So I avoided it but as I opened the store and started making sales and producing different pieces, I found I kept getting drawn back to looking at designing and making sleepwear.
Enter my ever frustrating experience with applying to markets. In Calgary, there are a number of very talented women making absolutely gorgeous sustainable and eco-friendly baby clothing. From beautiful vintage pieces from Littles & Spice, to modern sustainable pieces from wylo+co, to pretty and minimalistic European fabric pieces from OLE designs – it’s an understatement to say that the market is fierce. Your competition to get into markets is tough and I just could not break into it. Every brand guru will ask “what makes you different?” and the reality was, I wasn’t different. What I was making was beautiful and well-made and organic and extremely well received by my clients but it wasn’t different or original – at the end of the day, it was just a different fabric, a different print and a slightly different design. I knew I couldn't stay this way and grow, I was going to go nowhere fast. Okay, so pause that thought for a moment.
When Mila was born the first thing I needed that I did not have was a sleeper that fit. I had bought a couple in a few different sizes but it seemed like the "newborn" sized sleepers weren't truly newborn sized and I was on the hunt for some decent, well fitting sleepers.
Sleeper shopping became one of the running jokes in the first 3 months of Mila’s life. I was constantly looking for sleepers and constantly looking for ones that I liked. I can't even tell you how many times I told people I was going shopping for sleepers when asked what I was up to. Weekly. I could not find anything I liked. I found myself buying what I could out of desperation. They were ugly, expensive, cheaply made and not what I wanted but my options were so limited. It was one of those terrible mom moments where you found yourself buying something that you hated and did not want but felt like you had no choice.
The more I talked to other moms, the more I realized that I wasn’t the only one struggling with pajamas. Everyone gripped about sleepers and pajamas and the lack of options. And organic options? Psshh…. If you thought the options were slim before you decided you wanted some say over the fabric and the chemicals used on them now your options were basically slim to none.
So with hours (and hours... and hours...) of research, pattern design and testing, fighting with zippers and snaps and seeking out from other moms what they *really* want for pajamas I am headed to solely producing baby and children's sleepwear. I'm so excited - I’m making something I’m passionate about and that’s different from many others. My goal is simple - to create children's sleepwear from organic fabrics in prints that are original and delightful while being practical and as true to size as possible.
I can barely wait to release the line in the fall and hopefully, fingers crossed, get into some markets so you can see it all in person!