What do you use these gorgeous pieces for?
They are incredibly versatile. We use them as a burp cloth, bib, drool catcher, bandana, accent scarf, for pretend play, as a nursing cover-up, as head bandana, to wipe up spills, as a wash cloth, or cleaning rag etc. etc. Someone just recently sent us a photo, she used her nuscheli as an ice pack for a head bump. She simply filled it with frozen peas and tied up the corners!
How did you go about finding suppliers and building the business from inception through to launch?
It took me a good year from my first thoughts about this to actualizing anything. I studied the market first, and other brands to make sure there wasn’t anything exactly like ours out there already. I had no idea where to start looking for manufacturers, but I did know I wanted to make them as sustainable and possible. Through researching, I found out how abusive the fashion industry is to our planet and the people working at some of the manufacturing plants. I looked in various countries and ended up at a mill in Switzerland with whom I was able to become Cradle-2-Cradle Gold certified. Initially, I asked them for a quote because they were also GOTS certified. But once I found out about Cradle-2-Cradle which makes our product compostable, and a step beyond GOTS, I could not turn away.
How does sustainability play a role in your business?
It’s everything! Our product in itself is a simple item, the sustainability aspect sets it apart. We’ve used 100% renewable energy and zero waste in the production, and they are compostable at the end of their lifetime. It’s a full-circle model where everything that goes into making our Nuscheli is borrowed from nature and can safely return to nature. Even our packaging and our flyers and nuscheli sleeves are compostable. We truly care!
Your pieces are absolutely divine. How do you select the colours?
I think this is where my two businesses overlap. I love color and I work with color a lot for the interior design business. I’m not in the fashion industry per se and studying trends etc. So the choices for the nuscheli colors come from within, and what I feel like looks good with children’s skin colors and against nature. I love chroma in our nuscheli. It’s a great way to add something cheerful and lively to a child’s outfit. To me, the colors are like characteristics of children.
Where do you look for inspiration across both your businesses?
Nowadays you can find so much inspiration online. It’s good and bad. I try to be authentic and solve problems by thinking about the challenges or trying to resolve it by myself before I go down the rabbit hole of sites like Pinterest or Instagram. For the nuscheli, I’ve not searched for any inspiration, I’ve truly pulled the colors out of my mind and my mood. Things that remind me of my children, or places we’ve been, things we’ve seen, suns setting etc. For the interiors, there are a lot more factors to consider to find the inspiration that meets the challenge. Historic references and nature always inspire me the most.
You now have two children - Ray and Luc. How do you make the juggle work in your family?
I’m not sure, but I think I just keep going. I try to always be the one picking up my kids from school. It’s easy to hand off these things to a baby sitter or even my husband, but they grow up so much I want to be with them as much as I can! We (my husband and I) actually don’t have much help with the kids or our household. We don’t have a cleaning lady, for example, we both don’t have family nearby. We do a lot ourselves for our family. I think the only way I can juggle this all is by staying up late most nights and working after the kids go to bed. I spend time with them from 4pm on when I pick them up until they go to bed at 7pm. That gives us three great hours to be together and I really try to be present with them. Then I work from 7pm to about 10pm every night. Some nights longer and some nights less. I have to say that my husband is so hands-on, I couldn’t do it all without that. We reserve the weekends to travel locally and spend time as a family.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Generally, we get up in the morning around 6.30am. I make the kids breakfast, my husband eats with them while I shower and get ready, I pack their lunches, get them dressed and we are out the door by 8am. I drop off my son with his day-mother (it’s a shared nanny at her house, a small group of 4 toddlers that she watches, and we call her our day-mother!). Luckily she is around the corner from our daughter’s preschool. She goes to a German preschool. I work from 8.30 to 4pm. My day usually includes project site meetings, working at my desk, phone calls, many emails, sometimes showroom visits. When I have time I sometimes go to the gym for 45minutes during lunch. I pick up my daughter from preschool at 4pm and go pick up my son around the corner. We usually go to the park, to the beach, or run an errand like groceries. We then go home, make dinner while the kids play (they actually love being home and playing with their toys, it’s me who likes to be on the go and outdoors!). We eat as a family most nights. The kids take baths, read books, and in bed by 7pm. Both kids are good sleepers, which allows me to get back to work. Sometimes my husband will take a little break before I get back to work and sit down and talk about things. It’s amazing that even though we work so closely we somedays don’t find time to talk about anything! I usually fulfil Hauptli Haus Kids orders in the evening as well.
Do you feel mother’s guilt? If so, how do you work through it?
Yes, sometimes. I’m pulled in many places. But I’m not a super social person, I don’t have an inner urge to constantly be out with friends, so I feel like my kids get a lot of me, besides work and clients. But I sometimes think that I could give more of myself if I wasn’t working so much. I forgive myself by reminding myself how much I show my kids how much I love them. I think they know that. And I hope that it’s quality over quantity when it comes to how much time I get to spend with them. I definitely try very hard to be present with them when we are together.
You visit Switzerland twice a year with your family now - do your children feel a connection with Europe?
Yes, they love Switzerland. They’ve also been to France. But mostly they love seeing their grandparents (who spoil them…), and my brother’s family. Their cousins are close in age and it’s nice they get to grow up together even though we live so far apart. My mother is so great with the kids, I always admire how much energy she has for them. She just keeps going and wears them out! The kids feel at home there. They ask us often if we can move there.
How do you approach dressing each day? Do you subscribe to a uniform?
This is a work in progress! I have yet to figure this out for myself. I’ve made a big shift in my dressing since having kids. One because I have way less time in the morning to think about what I’ll wear. But also because I’ve become more aware of the fashion industry and which brands I stand behind. I have paired down my wardrobe to just a few outfits, and so yes, you could say it’s like dressing in a uniform. Sometimes when I love a pair of pants I’m wearing I’ll wear them several days in a row, because they make me feel good and I don’t have to think about what to wear so much!
Where are your favourite places to shop for yourself, your home and your children?
Well, I barely shop for myself these days! Mostly for the kids. But for myself I like brands like Everlane, Soor Ploom, Doen, Ace & Jig. For the kids I love brands like Mabo, Misha & Puff, Soor Ploom, As We Grow, Millk, just to name a few. For our home, we live quite simply, and I love to find things used.
What’s a typical dinner in your family?
We pretty much always cook at home and very rarely go out to eat. We enjoy it and at dinner time the kids are usually tired. One of our go-to favorites lately are vegetables in a mustard cream sauce with rice.
Do you outsource anything? If so, what!?
To be honest, not much at all. I sometimes hire someone to help with drafting, but that’s just when I get swamped and then it’s temporary. I also hired someone to help with the most recent launch of the new Nuscheli colors. She helped me strategize the launch and coordinated the photoshoot. This was the first time I hired a photographer, prior to that I took my own photos. I’m hoping to get more help for the businesses soon, and as we grow.
How do you make time for yourself? Do you have any side hobbies/passions, or is all your time absorbed by your children and your businesses?
Currently, most of my time is absorbed by my children and businesses. It’s a busy time of life for sure, but I don’t regret it and I don’t feel like I need more time to myself. One day soon, I can take a yoga class again and the kids can stay home by themselves or will be with friends etc. There’s a time for everything. I have little kids and two businesses that are still young too. Everything is growing up at the same time. There will be more time for other things soon again. Time for myself currently looks like this, I sometimes listen to a podcast in the car, or occasionally I go get a massage and don’t tell anyone where I am!
What’s next for you and for your businesses?
For the interiors, I hope to grow to the next step and hire someone full-time. We are moving to a new area in LA this summer, our daughter got accepted to a school that we really wanted her to go to. When we find a home, I hope to set up an office close by and then hire someone. For Hauptli Haus Kids we are working on new products and hope to have a new collection by the end of this summer! A dream of mine would be to one day open a children’s shop selling curated goods and antique children’s furniture. That would be the third business, so we’ll see.