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Bob & Blossom

Interview of Teo Boutique’s owner Roberta – Milan, Italy


I met Roberta in Paris quite randomly, in the Playtime shuttle bus. It is always rich to hear fresh comments from retailers so I asked Roberta to share her feedback, her experience and her thoughts about the children’s industry on Pirouette. Although Roberta is Italian and owns a store in Milan, she is not a typical Milanese. She spent all her childhood in San Domingo, on the beach, free and happy, and her mother tongue is Spanish. Married to a diplomat, she came back to Italy and graduated in business economy. She worked in the cosmetic industry, she lived in Paris  and in 2004 she became mother of Matteo. In 2007, her store Teo was born. Fully dedicated to 0-4 years old children, it is located in a residential and quiet area of Milan. Roberta, a very positive and enthusiastic person, has a love for artisanal products, a passion for simplicity, not too commercial, not too loud items.

What brands do you carry in your store?Pepè (Italy), Tammy Donohoe’s (Spain), Kissy kissy (England), Escudama (Italy), Clemence G. (France), Poppy (England), Aymara Daido (Italy),Collegien (France), Lola Coquelicot (France)

How is your store performing compared to the last 3 years? What do you do to adapt to the difficult economical context? After a good start,  I have to say that the global economical climate has certainly had an influence on our volume of sales. A constant search of the right product original and not too expensive has kept us in a very good position. Little by little people start to understand the attractiveness and the benefits of hand made products. Our own personalized production allowed us having less stock and more faithful clients. Our strategy is to offer a very focused service, always more bespoke : birth gift lists, christening ceremony consultancy, meetings with childhood specialists, special afternoons for kids, etc. We aim to create a very personalized relationship with our customers who are always curious to discover what’s next at Teo!

How many shows did you visit this season? Which ones? Can you give a few comments about each one? The 3 fairs I absolutely have on my list are Pitti Bimbo  (Florence), Playtime (Paris), White for Kids (Milan). Pitti  Bimbo is the most important and the most famous children’s trade show in the world, but it is also the most “old style”.  It’s a big mix of independent/artisanal and commercial “fashionist”  where in general the style and scenography is still very classical.  The New View section which is more interesting is too limited in terms of size and content, especially when it comes to the winter collections. Playtime is for sure a show for “complements”, additional lines. Being quite new, it is joyful and it is open to new ideas, concepts, products. I buy almost all of my accessories there, the products that will make a nice window, that will create a buzz and generate impulsive purchases.  It is still a problem though to have a poor offer of in high level products for winter. White for Kids is the newborn. It is very small in terms of size, but I hope it will keep growing in the right way,  i.e to be an alternative to Pitti, not a copy. I do a lot of research online, looking for small labels that can’t afford the high costs of a trade show, and that do original products.  Etsy is a good place for that.

Can you name the brands that piqued your attention this season and the ones you have added to your assortment?Je suis en CP, a French brand, very “classical with a twist”. Good prices and well done simplicity.  Declasse, an Italian brand for boys. Minimalist pieces in good materials, medium high prices. Mebi Nature, a Spanish brand that produces newborn items since over 50 years. Very good prices, classical with great attention to details. Chupeta, the real French style applied to footwear. Simple Kids, from Belgium, vivid colors, a lot of fantasy. Modern and cheerful, especially for boys.

What are your favorite stores? Some stores have a great reputation, internationally. They are a reference point for people who work in the industry, even if sometimes their fame is a bit overrated compared to their real offer. Bonton Paris, Bonpoint Paris, Pomme New York.

Can you give us a list of the hottest places in your home-town?Restaurant Les Gitanes, via Tortona 15, corner of via Forcella – vaguely retro atmosphere for this place filled with Fornasetti furniture. Il bistrot di Giacomo and its patisserie, via Sottocorno – a real Parisian bistrot in Milan, classical cuisine, all nicely done, and amazing pastries. La Trattoria milanese, via Santa Marta 11 – typical Milanese cooking, honest and beautifully made.Hotel Bulgari, Via Privata Fratelli Gabba 7/b. If you have no budget restriction, that’s the place to be. Go there for drinks  in the garden in the summer time. An oasis of calm.La Forestiera di Corso Monforte, a stylish bread and breakfast at a very reasonable price for Milan. It’s the right base to come and discover my sho and then make a stop atLula – a great little chocolate store, sofisticated vintage atmosphere for little delicious bites. If you have time for a hair treat, don’t missArea 6– hairstylist with minimal impact; ask for Alessandro Lisi, the hairstylist who takes care of Anna Wintour when she is in town. Shopping wise, Rossana Orlandifor a great & unique design space, andAntonia, via Pontaccio for fashion treasures.

Teo Boutique, Corso Concordia 9, Milan. Blog http://teoboutique.blogspot.com

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Rare knits

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One remarkable collection I saw at Bubble London is Little Duckling. Founder & Designer of the brand, Rosa Wiland was born near Copenhagen, Denmark in 1975. She studied ladies fashion design at the Danish Design College from 1999 to 2004, on achieving her MA she was awarded the prestigious National Bank Prize for the student showing the most potential. Thereafter she moved to London, where she worked as a fashion designer for the high street from 2004 to 2008. After the birth of her daughter Frida in 2007 she started to look into the world of children’s clothing and found that the market needed a playful brand that combined the traditional English style with the influence of bright Scandinavian kid’s cloths. Little duckling offers wonderfully well made knits, not overly expensive, in a a very focused color range (mainly velvet blue, warm red and cream). Produced in Hong Kong, the knitwear is made with fully fashion finishes, in 100% mercerized cotton. The collection features knitted dresses, girl’s cardigans with embroidered fish detail, boy’s knitted striped tank top and super cotton jumpers providing the perfect cover up for breezy summer days, tieing  together with Little Duckling’s Woven’s skirts & dresses for the girls. For the boys, twill shorts, linen trouser, denim jeans and dungarees with striped straps. Size range 0-7, wholesale prices from £3.60 to £20.50. A real deal.

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Violette Sears, 4 years old – New York, USA

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Violette Sears is a New Yorker, and a sister of two brothers. She speaks French, English, Spanish and she is in Chinese immersion school since last year. Nathalie her mother is a consultant in strategy and global expansion for luxury fashion brands (after running networks for Armani, Christian Dior…).

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From the attic

Nothing better than the grandmother’s attics. I wonder why mine had kept that tractor, brand new, in its box. It works perfectly; the driver turns around. It’s my new toy…

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Fabric application

Born in South Korea, Namhee Lee graduated with a degree in design and worked as a commercial interior designer predominantly in the fashion industry for over ten years. She moved to New York in 2002, started a family, and continued pursuing her passion for melding form and fashion. Now a mother of two sons, Maddox and Ian, Namhee is inspired daily about the role beautiful objects can play in a happy home, both with regard to function and fashion. Namhee‘s creations are available at Yoya, ABC Carpet and Home and Pomme in New York, as well as Etsy.com.

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Australia meets Mongolia

Zamo is a new brand based in Melbourne, Australia. The collection is composed of a rich and vivid range of patterns from Kazakh Mongolia. All garments are made and designed locally, then embellished with exquisite embroidery produced in fair trade partnership with the Kazakh people. The fun range of durable, soft, felted, hand stitched shoes and toys makes a nice complement to the clothing line. That girl in the pictures has a little something of Shinehead O’Connor, isn’t it? For more info and addictional images, visit www.zamo.com.au.

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Web addiction

I’ve been long addicted to The Sartorialist; in fact I think I haven’t missed a single post in 5 years. But my secret other little addiction is Looks de rue on www.milkmagazine.net. It’s always fresh, inspiring and real. Cherry on the cake, the description texts are always wonderfully written. Totally addictive!

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Hand colored

Crayola teamed with Vans to create a cool and playful collection. Kids already love the skater’s sneakers, they are for sure going to adore this new versions that looks like they’ve been been colored in by crayon. Bright red, yellow and purple are available, as well as two-tone colors like pink and blue, and of course, the classic Vans checkerboard print.

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These images remind French movie A man and a woman from Claude Lelouch (1966) with Jean-Louis Trintignan and Anouk Aimee, music Francis Lai. Same misty background, faded colors, with a feeling of eternity. Another beach (The Hamptons, USA vs Deauville, France) and a child completing the idilic picture. Just play the famous film song and you are there… chabadabada.

Thank you Florence, Laurent and Cassis.




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Something out of nothing



S.O.O.N?, a project by Kompott, was on display at the RCA Show in London. Kompott is a multidisciplinary collaboration between young, creative people (Pawe Jasiewicz, Maja Ganszyniec, Krystian Kowalski and Marcin Krygier). “This project recalls times when Fathers would make and repair their children’s toys by themselves, with the materials they had readily available. Toys created and built by a child’s parents carry a far greater emotional value, they are a statement of individuality and longevity. S.O.O.N is an attempt at reviving the creativity that lies in all of us. Using inexpensive and easily obtainable materials (in this case the IKEA vika lilleby trestel), a few pieces of cloth or felt (for instance an old blanket), simple tools (a saw and a screwdriver) and instructions, we can all build a toy for our child. This is only the beginning of our independence! A crisis is a good time for a change and a return to our roots, do we have to be mindless consumers?”. A questions to ask ourselves as often as possible.

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Djek Max, 6 & Elvis Finn, 4 – Rotterdam, Netherlands


Djek Max and Elvis Finn de Bruin are two fun brothers, the kind of children who make you laugh from morning till evening, and who you want to film or take in picture all the time. Their mother Mother Kellie Smits is the designer and founder of the beautiful children’s lineBuisjes En Beugels +++.

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The Artist's Studio

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When I was a child I spent hours at my grandparent’s workshop in Geneva. My grandfather passed away before I was born so I never saw him busy sculpting his massive Carrara marble pieces, but I was able to  admire the artwork and his working environment. I remember how special and inspiring the place was, the beauty of the tools and sketches still on display. This is the strongest experience I had as a child, and it shaped my way of looking at things. Today I take any occasion to visit an artist’s space with my children. Here’s some images of a recent visit we made to British artist Tim Braden’s studio in East London. The effect is still strong on me. I hope more and more children can spend time close to art and that they find it as stimulating as I have.

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