Friday, September 14, 2012

Handmade Hip: Grass & Clovers on Motherhood, Creativity, and Cool Kids' Clothing!

Grass & Clovers, our latest addition of cool, crazy kids’ clothing, has been getting a lot of admiration here at Psychobaby. Handmade by a mother-daughter duo, Grass & Clovers combine detailed craftsmanship with inspired, hip designs to make one-of-a-kind garments that kids (and parents!) will adore.

We knew these special designs had to have a great story behind them, so we interviewed Sara Sandler-Greisberg, co-founder of Grass & Clovers, for the scoop. Read on for musings about motherhood, flea market finds, and what inspires Sara's daily life. (Spoiler alert: she's a fan of  The Rolling Stones!)

Can you tell us a bit about what inspired your name, Grass & Clovers?
The name came from thoughts of my own childhood—what made me happy and feel good, frolicking around in the grass in the summertime and making clover crowns. It just brought me back to that happy place you can only feel in childhood!

Your mom, Debbie, instilled in you a love for handmade crafts that you have in turn developed into a successful company. Now that you are a mother yourself do you have any favorite craft projects that you enjoy doing with your own children? 
There are SO many craft projects that I do with my girls; we love doing collages from magazines with fabric scraps (of course!), and beads! Also, we do make our own books to help encourage my 6-year-old's blossoming reading and writing skills—in a fun way! We have a huge armoire filled with every kind of glue, clay, paint, paper, crayon, marker, colored pencil—you name it, we have it. My older daughter really enjoys helping me with Grass & Clovers as well!

Any tips for parents who want to encourage children to embrace more tangible arts and crafts in the midst of this digital age?
I do think it's really important to sit down with your kids (when you CAN, of course!). I think what kids want more than anything else, is the attention of their parents. So my advice (and I am NO expert!) is to put the cell phones, iPads, and computers away, and sit at the table with your kids with the arts and crafts of their choice; put on some music and have a blast! Don't worry about the mess, the clean up, or what you have to make for dinner. Just be present and sit there together. It's hard to take the time to do that, but it is so important. It will also create incredible memories, not only for them, but for the parents as well.

Do you have any advice for balancing motherhood with a rapidly growing business?
I wish someone would give me some advice on this one! In all honesty, it's very difficult to balance it all, and do it all well. I found that letting things slide a little—not as many home-cooked meals, for example— is OK. It's okay to delegate, and that was HARD for me, because I am a Virgo and I know how things SHOULD be (ha ha!), but it's important.

Read more of our interview with Sara from Grass & Clovers after the jump!

How does your mother, Debbie, feel about the influence she has had on your appreciation for crafts, and ultimately the development of Grass & Clovers?
I think she just loves it! It's so much fun for her to see me doing exactly what she was doing when she was my age (sewing with a baby on your lap, fabrics all over the house etc.). She is very proud to see how she really influenced everything I do in a creative sense.

When did you decide you wanted to create a line of clothing instead of just creating clothes for your own children as a hobby?
I have a background in wholesale women's fashion and stopped working when my first daughter, Ava, was born. It was such an organic thing to take it out into the world. I really missed the industry, and it was a dream of mine to have my own line one day! What really sealed the deal for me was when I went to meet with the Barney's New York Children's buyer—just to pick her brain, show her some samples and get some advice. She loved the line so much that they ordered the line and had me come into the store to participate in Artisan's Day a month later. Their enthusiasm for the line really helped launch the business.

How do you and your mom divide tasks for each collection?
Mom is based in Chicago, and I am in New York, so we are starting to get our routine going.  My mom makes all the appliques. I get all the orders together and "place and order" with her for all the appliques for the upcoming deliveries. She makes each one, sends them to me, and I do the rest! There are crazy busy times, though, that she comes out to New York to help with all the QC, shipping etc...usually about once a month.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
My inspiration  is somewhat random.  I am consistently inspired by the 60's and 70's fashions, home decor and music. I really feel a strong connection with the early 70's—probably because that's when  I was a child, and have such fond memories. I like to go back and look at all the images, iconography, magazines and art (all genres) and just let my mind go. Believe me, there is a LOT of cutting things out of the line before we actually show; I get a little "out there" sometimes!

A lot of the fabrics in your designs are vintage. Is this something you and your mom have collected over the years, or are you regulars at flea markets? 
I actually started the line with the fabrics my mom saved from my childhood. Several of the fabrics I used in my original samples are from my baby blankets that my mom made for me! We still have that stash, but we also hit up all the flea markets, antique shops, vintage shops etc. It's so much fun! Also, when you do the flea markets there is such amazing inspiration all around you!

And now, Sara Sandler-Greisberg answers few fun questions from our Psychobaby Q & A...

What superpower would you like to have? Time travel.
Walking or biking? Walking!
Macaroni-n-cheese or string cheese? 100% macaroni and cheese!
Bedtime story or lullaby? Bedtime story.
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? STONES!
Any favorite bands or artists you like to listen to when working?
It's very eclectic in my studio—lots of old school 90's hip hop (Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Mos Def), but also a ton of 70's classic rock (Stones, The Who, CSN, Carole King). Some current indie stuff as well—Bon Iver, Tegan and Sara, the Shins...also, I have to throw in some current pop music when my daughters are in there with me!
What did you want always want to be when you grew up? Believe it or not, a fashion designer.
Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time what would you tell your 10-year-old self?  I would tell myself to focus less on friends and boys and more on the things I actually liked to do!

Fashion should be about expressing yourself, and this line of children's clothing encourages exactly the kind of youthful individuality and creativity that Psychobaby celebrates! Big thanks to Grass & Clovers and Sara Sandler-Greisberg for taking the time to answer our questions!

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