We interviewed our friend Natasha, proud maker and owner of Mama Hen out of southern Maine. Bona Fide carries several of Mama Hen's handmade goods including the famous "Grow With Me Pants" for kiddos. Made in two sizes, "Grow With Me Pants" are designed to expand up or down at the waist and ankles to "grow" with your child. Brilliant!
Here's what Natasha had to say:
Bona Fide: Tell us a little bit about your business, Natasha!
Natasha: I am a Maine based crafter specializing in lovingly handmade goods for babies and children. I like to think that my products are both fabulous AND functional.
Bona Fide: They sure are! So how did you get started with Mama Hen?
Natasha: To be honest, I started as a kid, making clothes for my dolls and Barbies. I have always been an artist and have also always been attracted to the art of craft--where the thing that you create also has a practical use. I went from sewing clothes for my dolls to sewing clothes for myself as a young adult. When my child was born 2 years ago I was dismayed by how boring children's clothing can be so I began making clothes and accessories for him. It felt natural to put my work out there and see if other folks were interested in the same styles and fabrics I was. I like to offer fun, vibrant, unique prints that are often gender neutral and are totally devoid of the slogans and commercial characters that so often plaster t-shirts and onesies.
Bona Fide: We love the colorful line you designed especially for Bona Fide! Thank you! As an eco-friendly store, we must ask -- What makes your work "green"?
Natasha: My work is green for several reasons:
1) The products I make discourage waste and disposibility. Items such as cloth wipes which cut down on trash, bandanna bibs, which keep t-shirts and onesies dry from a drool-y baby or toddler, reducing the amount of laundry that is created and "Grow with Me Pants" which fit for much longer than traditional sizes, so your child isn't constantly outgrowing their clothes which can be both wasteful and financially burdensome to parents!
2) I try to keep my waste to a minimum by using scraps to create other products! Scrap woven cottons are used to make quilts, pacifier clips, stuffed animals and more! Scrap knit cottons are used to make headbands, scarves and hats!
3) Whenever and where ever possible I try to support other small businesses in the creation and distribution of my products!
Bona Fide: We love how you've incorporated the key principles, reduce, reuse, recycle, into your business and that you created our line from organic cotton prints! What are some of your favorite things to make?
Natasha: I definitely have fun with all of the children's clothes that I make- pants, hats, shirts, skirts- they are adorable, what's not to like?! But my favorite thing to make is baby quilts. I love to select fabrics for a quilt. I love the careful cutting and ironing of squares. I love watching it all come together. And I love that a quilt is a timeless item- one that a child can keep forever and wrap their own child in one day.
Bona Fide: Is there anything else you'd like us to know?
Natasha: Supporting small business is beneficial in so many ways. When you buy handmade you are directly helping that artist pay their bills. You are supporting the human right to a sound, stable and supportive work environment and a fair wage. You are getting a product made by a person that you can talk to *directly* which means there is more accountability and therefore a higher standard for quality not to mention the products are distinctly unique and, in their own way, perfectly imperfect.
Check out Mama Hen sporting one of her handmade hats! She has the cutest, colorful workstation with a fabric collection like no other! We love her line of "Grow With Me Pants" featured here on her kiddo! Shop Mama Hen in store at Bona Fide Green Goods or click below to visit the Mama Hen Etsy shop: