The "Meet the Maker" profile lets us get to know the Daylesford Makers Market stallholders a little better. In this profile we meet Natalie and Paul Hennekam, the couple behind the Moederkip brand.
We are also offering a giveaway, a $50 Moederkip gift voucher to one lucky blog reader! Competition details at the bottom of this profile.
What's the story behind your business?
When our son Bradley was born, Paul made him a wooden nameboard, and I started sewing some cloth nappies to use. We both realised that we had really missed making things with our own hands, and so we started doing more and more around the house.
Then over time, particularly as I came to the end of my maternity leave, we just knew that we didn't want to go back to working ridiculously long hours with a young family. So we decided the only way we could do this was to simplify our lives, become more self-sufficient, and look to how we could support ourselves while raising our family. A business focussed on making children's products just seemed like a natural extension of what we were doing and loving anyway.
For us, having our own business is about being able to live life on our own terms. It's about us being able to raise our children ourselves; and to look after the health and well being of our family, as well as our community, and the earth more generally. It's about becoming more self-sufficient, more aware, and having fun doing it.
Where did your business name come from?
MoederKip (pronounced 'moo-der kip') is Dutch for "Mother Hen".
A mother hen is nurturing, but also pretty tough - and we felt this suited our aim to produce children's clothing, toys, and accessories which are both beautiful and practical.
The name (as well as our feature colour orange) also provides a connection to Paul's Dutch heritage.
Have you always been creative?
I hear a lot of people talking about how they wish they were more creative, as if it is some mysterious quality that only artists and craftspeople are born with. In reality, I think people are all naturally creative - although we do sometimes get a bit rusty at the process of thinking creatively. Looking at the world through a child's eyes is actually a wonderful way to rediscover just how creative you can be.
So while I've not always been actively involved in a 'craft', I would say I've always had the urge to create. In fact, I think this need to make something tangible is a very human quality.
What is your favourite Moederkip product, and why?
At the moment I'm really loving our Playclothes range. The fabric (which is made here in Australia) is amazing - it's so durable, and even has a UPF rating of 50+, which is a great benefit in our climate. And the colours just make my heart sing.
Plus, most importantly, when we see children wearing them, you can tell they're just so happy and comfortable.
What inspires you and the creation of your product?
Mainly our son Bradley, and his friends. I talk to them, and watch them at play and at rest, and just learn from them. I like to see what colours they are drawn to; and the sort of styles that are comfortable and don't restrict their natural play. If they can't run, jump, or climb in it, it's not going to make it into our range.
I also lean a lot from our little DestructoBoy in terms of how durable clothing needs to be. We run a pretty free-range household, so if our clothes can stand up to the sort of treatment we put them through, then I can be pretty confident that they'll last the distance in most households.
What inspires you and the creation of your product?
All our products are made in our home - although I have been known to pack up the machines and work somewhere else if I'm feeling like I'm getting a bit stale and need a change of environment.
What's your favourite thing about Daylesford?
For me, I'd have to say the drive into town - coming past all the farms with their fresh organic produce; under the canopies of trees that change with the season; the gradual build up of buildings; and the lack of bright lights and big billboards. It just provides a really lovely gentle entrance to the community.
What are five things about you we don't already know?
My sewing area actually used to be our bedroom. It was the biggest room in the house, with the best light, and so I managed to take it over when the business started getting busier and I needed more room.
One of the things I'm very passionate about is breaking down this false divide people have between 'arts and science'. For example, people often don't realise what a big part maths plays in in art, music, fashion design, etc. I'd love to see a greater focus on maths being taught in school in ways to demonstrate this. It really makes me sad to see people coming out of the schooling system so frightened of numbers.
For a while Paul and I wondered about how we could reconcile our differences to raise a family - then we realised it's actually really healthy for children to be exposed to different ways of thinking. Although we're still not sure if Bradley is going to turn out a meat-eating athiest or a vegetarian catholic!
Bradley has three older brothers and sisters that we all just adore, and not being able to see them as often as we'd like is one of the hardest things about living where we do. It's for this reason that we're very thankful for facebook!
I didn't get my drivers' license until I was 33 years old. My first car - which we still have - was a Prius.
And now for the giveaway – a $50 Moderkip gift voucher!
All you need to do is check out Moederkip's range of of children's clothing, toys and accessories on their website, then leave a comment here telling us what you would buy with your $50 gift voucher if you were the lucky winner.
Entries close at 12 midnight on Sunday 20 June. The winner will be drawn randomly and notified via email.
Good luck everyone! And thanks Moederkip for the fabulous prize.