#GOODTHING: Bonnet maker Catharina from Tiny People Organics talks about classic designs with a fresh twist

In our blog series #GOODTHING, we introduce you to creative and inspiring people who make the world a better place with their products and ideas. Such as the lovely Catharina, the founder of Tiny People Organics.

Two years ago, Catharina started her own label for stunningly beautiful and sustainable baby bonnets. We've been fans of her adorable collection and sustainable philosophy for quite some time now and couldn't be more excited to introduce you to Catharina and welcome her amazing label to our shop! In our interview with Catharina, you'll find out what makes her bonnets so special, what her mission is with her label, and what has been her greatest challenge as a mompreneur so far. 
Tiny-People-Organics-OrbasicsImage by © Catharina Biester


Dear Catharina, please could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your family? How did you grow up, where do you live now and what is your family life like?

Hey! First of all, a big thank you for having me here. My name is Catharina, I’m 34 years old and live in Berlin, with my small family consisting of my husband Franz and I, our son Emil and our dog Margarethe.
I grew up in a small village in Lower Saxony. I was one of those children who was told to "be home before it's dark”. My parents' house is right on the edge of the forest, on a quiet street where children can play. There were 27 other children my age growing up in the neighborhood. So there was always something going on, whether it was soapbox racing down the hill or building little houses out of sticks in the forest. When I wasn't outside, we did arts and crafts, painting or sewing inside with the family. My mother and grandmother played a very important role in shaping me.

I studied dual fashion design, trained as a women's wear tailor and am a certified pattern cutter. Due to dementia, my grandmother sadly did not live to see who I have become, but I'm sure she would be proud today!

And now onto my everyday life. Our daily rhythm as a family has been quite challenging to be honest and demands a lot of strength from us. Since we don't have any childcare and with me running Tiny People Organics as a one-woman show, my life is quite consumed by family and work. I develop every product all by myself and also do some of the manufacturing. I'm a purchaser, social media manager, customer support and sales agent all in one. We had it planned differently, but we all have to adapt to the current situation and the realities of the pandemic. I am extremely blessed with a wonderful husband who supports me wherever he can, gives me space when I need it and organises the day with me. We usually manage a 50/50 split between us for caring for the little one, the furry little one, housework and work.

Tiny-People-Organics-OrbasicsImage by © Catharina Biester


Can you tell us what exactly Tiny People Organics does and what mission you have with your label?


My current focus is on organic headwear from 0 to 4 years, but I'm also working on new ideas and designs right now. The current collection for example, includes the popular Sunbonnets, which are an absolute favourite of mums and dads. It gently protects the head, frames the face and can be closed with ribbons under the chin. The sunbonnets' highlight is the reinforced visor which gives a clear view, even when the sun shines a lot.

I would say that my mission is constantly growing and changing with me. When I made the first piece of headwear, the goal was simply to create a beautiful bonnet for my son, without any frills or cheesy prints. I had fallen deeply in love with bonnets, but didn't want to have them shipped halfway around the world from American suppliers. When we got the first positive comments from friends and parents on the playground, my husband said to me: "You should start selling them online and see what happens!". Thank god he gave me this advice, because I don't think I would have had the courage by myself!

Today my mission is to make gorgeous textiles for babies and toddlers that are not only of fantastic quality and comfortable, but also ethical and sustainable. I always check in with my manufacturers, talk to the tailors and also sew things myself, if I want to make a change. I would call myself a textile nerd and absolutely love to watch fibers being recycled and different machines refining different types of fabric.


What makes Tiny People Organics unique and how do you try to differentiate yourself from other brands?

What makes the label unique is that I took one specific product and became an expert at it. But I actually don't think that uniqueness is so important these days, I see authenticity as being far more important. Pretty much any design you can think of already exists somewhere in one form or another. My strength is that I can let a product grow and flourish, until it is perfect. I want my customers to say, "I love the Bonnets because all the elements work so wonderfully together and because the quality is just so great." I'm a firm believer that a good product will always win over hearts.
Tiny-Peole-Organics

Image by © Catharina Biester

How do you come up with ideas for your designs and how do you choose your great materials and shapes?

My current design is inspired by classic baby bonnets that have protected baby heads for centuries. New bonnet models will definitely follow someday, but our current model has a very classic design with a fresh twist.
Selecting our materials can be quite the process. Selecting our final linen, for example, was a journey of 9 months and 16 sample caps. I went to many trade shows, took samples from countless vendors and asked them a million questions about their processing and dyeing. I finally found a manufacturer in Lithuania, where everything is produced and grown locally. All materials are thoroughly screened, grown in the EU and carry an official sustainability certification.

Tiny-People-Organics-OrbasicsImage by © Catharina Biester


Do you have a personal favorite among your products and do you have any plans for new baby products?

Absolutely. I love the Sunbonnet in "Sand" and my biggest love is a new addition, the Pale Banana Pixie. The Pixie Bonnets are cuddly, have a nice stretch and are made for the youngest among us.
We are currently in the development process for a new collection from newborns to toddlers. Sometimes I get annoyed with certain kids' clothes, thinking "Why is there a button? It's so impractical for a baby!" Since I have grown the label without any outside capital and do everything myself, everything happens in smaller steps.


What do you especially care about, when it comes to manufacturing your clothes?

First and foremost, quality. I have to admit that I can be exhausting sometimes. If something doesn't pair up with my vision, then it's basically out. Another thing that is very dear to me, are team members and partners. If someone puts a lot of heart into something, then it has to be rewarded fairly.


What does sustainability mean to you? How do you live it with Tiny People Organics and privately?

Sustainability to me means durability and natural materials. The most sustainable piece of clothing is always the one, that you already own. I prefer spending a bit more money on a piece of clothing, knowing that I can wear it for a long time.
Sustainability also means taking care of our resources and being mindful of the world around us. I only buy unpackaged fruit and vegetables and pay attention to my diet, which is mostly vegan now. When I do buy new clothes, I always ask myself if I really need them first. I also prefer to hang garments outside in the fresh air rather than washing them every other day.


Tiny-People-Organics-OrbasicsImage by © Catharina Biester


What did you do before you started Tiny People Organics?


I worked in a leadership role at OUTFITTERY. I had the most amazing team there, full of wonderfully warm and positively crazy people. I was able to learn a lot that I took with me on my journey. Unfortunately, it didn't really fit after my parental leave ended, so I said my goodbye’s after almost 7 years and started to work on Tiny People Organics fulltime.

Tiny-People-Organics-OrbasicsImage by © Catharina Biester


What does a typical morning look like for you ? Do you have any specific routines?

I definitely do, probably like all the moms and dads out there. After waking up, everyone gets their time in the bathroom, followed by porridge or cereal. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, everyone is already dressed by the time we have breakfast. I always have to laugh, because getting dressed in the morning often becomes the first drama of the day. After that, one of us takes the little one to daycare with our dog. Or we go for a walk, depending on whether daycare is open or not.


Which role models inspire you?

I love listening to the OMR podcast. For example, I find Lea-Sophie Cramer from Amorelie really inspiring. I also think Sissi von Hardenberg is great. After BLOOMY DAYS she started straight into her next project while being pregnant.

And then there is Anna Alex, who used to be my boss at OUTFITTERY for a long time. I was always supported and really grew as a person there. I was allowed to take on a management position with HR responsibility and I can apply a lot of what I learned there in my job now. I'm incredibly grateful for that!


What has been your biggest challenge with Tiny People Organics so far?

The biggest challenge has definitely been Corona. For over a year now, work has only been possible with restrictions and I had to put many plans on hold for the time being. If someone had told me over a year ago, that we would only have sporadic childcare and that families would not really have a safety net, I would have shaken my head in disbelief. But it is what it is, and we are managing it as a family!

Tiny-People-Organics-OrbasicsImage by © Catharina Biester


How do you combine being a mom and running Tiny People Organics? Do you have any special tips to share with fellow mompreneurs?

Good planning and structure is key for us. We make a weekly plan at the beginning of each week and set specific blocks for work-time and kids-time. And if that plan doesn't pan out, we try to take a deep breath. I think the most important thing is always your attitude. Don't create impossible tasks for yourself, celebrate the small wins and be kind to yourself. You can't do everything by yourself and that's okay. Sometimes you also have to say no to things, they will still be there tomorrow!


What do you wish for yourself and your company in the future?

I hope that I can continue to work on the things I love. I simply love clothing – it protects us every day and reflects our personality. At the same time, the fashion industry shouldn't cause any harm, which unfortunately is still a long way off. I wish that with Tiny People Organics, I can continue to play a small part in making the textile industry more sustainable.

Tiny-People-Organics-OrbasicsImage by © Catharina Biester


Please complete the sentence: “Children are wonderful, because…“


... they allow us to experience things for the first time again. They teach us to appreciate the little things and to refocus on what is really important. Children make us slow down and become more mindful of our surroundings.

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Thank you Catharina, for this fantastic interview, your insights into Tiny People Organics and your honesty! We love the way you took such a classic piece like a bonnet and gave it your own style whilst also making it sustainable. We're beyond excited to have your bonnets in our shop now, and of course we're incredibly curious for everything that you have in store for the future!

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Header Image: © Catharina Biester

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