aden + anais x Natchie
Did you see this incredible collaboration between Dumbo's own Natchie, the art studio founded by Nadia Ackerman, and aden + anais, a market leader known for its soft, breathable 100% cotton muslin baby products? It's just gorgeous! This limited edition run just launched in the USA. We sat down with Nadia, and with Mary Ellen Winslow, VP of Partnership at aden + anais, to learn more about how this all came about.
Last year aden + anais celebrated ten years in Dumbo! Can you tell about the history of the company, and how being in Dumbo has impacted its growth?
MEW: In 2008, we opened our first US office in Dumbo, and by 2011, we were a global brand with offices in Japan, Europe and Australia. Today our award-winning collection of products is sold in over 65 countries and includes swaddles, bibs, blankets, sleeping bags, hooded towels, nursery bedding, sleepwear, skincare and more. Our headquarters are still nestled in this beautiful Brooklyn neighborhood populated by artists, and we are continuously inspired by our surroundings.
Nadia, you've been in the neighborhood only a few years but are already a household name! Between your store, performing on our Live at the Archway season, and then joining us last year as an artist for the pop up gallery, it's been so wonderful working together. Can you tell those who don't know you yet a little bit about Natchie - what you're about and how you got started?
NA: Yes! It has been a crazy “Dumbo” ride! Natchie really started out by chance. I never planned for this to happen. I am a singer/songwriter and have been a professional singer for over 25 years. Six years ago, when I was writing songs for a new album, I started to see each song as a finished pencil drawing in my mind. I could see every detail and every pencil stroke. I was perplexed as to what to do because I had not done anything visually creative since high school. I reluctantly began to draw every song on my new album and to cut a long story short, people wanted to buy the originals. Not wanting to have nothing when the original was sold, I decided to have them photographed and that’s when the idea to sell the drawing as a print with the lyrics and a free download code to own the song on the back came to life. I then started drawing NYC images from an Australian’s point of view and the rest they say is history!
This collaboration between aden + anais and Natchie is fantastic. How was the connection made, where did the idea to collaborate come from?
MEW: We met Nadia at Dumbo’s annual meeting in 2017. At the time, both of our companies were being honored for their contribution to the Dumbo neighborhood. We were among the first companies to call Dumbo home, and there is a wonderful synergy between our brands that is reflected in the creativity of this global collaboration.
One the things we love about your work Nadia is that it's multidimensional – it's music, and it's visual, and now it's particularly tactile. Tell us about the inspiration for the designs you created for this line, and about the songs involved?
NA: The multidimensional aspect is often difficult for people to grasp. When explained by me with the Australian accent things get lost! ha ha! The inspiration for this project is Summer and the Ocean. Coming from Sydney and growing up at the beach this was particularly easy for me. “Benita By The Sea” is a tail about a mermaid who lives a carefree life by the sea. She has sailboats in her hair, fish and even a deep sea diver! One day she gets swallowed up by a large wave. Luckily Billy The Squid catches her with his tentacles and they live happily every after! The other line is called “Big Fish” a funny sea shanty about trying to catch a VERY big fish. The fish is never caught!
This line will be a limited run, correct? But also global? What's the thinking behind this?
MEW: In this partnership, we truly believe that we have combined the best of both brands—aden + anais’ versatile muslin with Natchie’s hand-drawn designs. The collection offers something very unique and different from what you might expect, not only in our core prints but also in the children’s lifestyle space.
The distribution mirrors our global footprint and the collection will be sold in some of our key regions including the US, Japan and Europe.
How can Dumbonians get this product?
What's on the horizon for you, Nadia, now that you've wrapped up this beautiful project?
NA: Next is a line of books called “A Sung Story” I’ll be drawing my songs. The lyrics will become the story. The back of the book will have the lyrics, a free download of the song and a simple piano and guitar chart so you can learn to play the song. It will be for all ages! As always I am always building my brand and adding new images monthly. There is also a new album on the horizon to be released September 2018.
And for aden + anais, what can we look forward to in the next ten years?
MEW: Innovation drove our success in the swaddle category, and we’ll continue to develop products that speak to the needs of our loyal fans. They treasure aden + anais and have always been our brand ambassadors—sharing their experience (and our products) with others. We are proud to be considered must-haves for expectant and veteran parents who appreciate the versatility of everything we create.
We also stay committed to simplifying the lives of parents and caregivers with prints, products, and useful content delivered in a friendly voice that engages them in meaningful conversation. For this particular collection, we will stream music associated with each print to share Natchie’s artistic process.