Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing.
To start off our new Behind the Design Wednesdays and to kick off our new Modern Mexico collection for girls and boys, we thought we’d post a video of footage shot while our designers were traveling around Mexico. We’ll release more of this collection in the coming weeks! We hope you feel as inspired as we do.
Today we have a guest post from Ana, who works in Graphic Design at Tea. Every year Tea employees receive a dividend from Tea to use towards international travel. On Studio T we’ll be sharing travel stories of our employees as they travel around the world.
This year my international travels took me to Paris to meet my first niece Sofia. She is a gorgeous half French half Venezuelan healthy baby girl. So for this particular visit to the City of Lights, it was all about family time and not about sightseeing. I’m excited to see her grow up in a mix of cultures, and right now I’m undecided about a little detail… do I want her to call me Tia Anita? Tante Ana? Or Auntie Ana? French and Spanish will definitely surround her, but in me she has a very American aunt! So she will have a little bit of everything I guess.
Ana and Sofia
There are different things I would love to share from this trip, and I have a hard time selecting which ones to share. But I’ll share highlights of my favorite things!
This trip was not about the Eiffel Tour or Champs Elysees; it was about spending quality time with Sofia and my family. So on a Saturday, my mom, dad and I walked to a local market: Saxe-Breteuil Market in the 7th arrondissement. It was a bit overwhelming because it was crowded and the locals have their way of navigating their way through their market… and there were so many different things that you just didn’t know where to start! From cheeses, to hand-made Italian pastas, to jewelry and hats… you could find anything you wanted. On this visit we got a variety of raviolis and fresh vegetables to make pasta for lunch, and of course a cheese platter for dessert.
One afternoon, my mom and I took a walk on Rue de Sèvres and visited the Hermes store there. Amazing. My family had told me about how beautiful it was inside and the minute I saw the window displays I knew I was in for a treat! The entrance had a flower section with orchids and mini flower arrangements on one side and on the other it was all about horses and the classic Hermes scarf. But what really drew me in was once you started walking down the stairs into the main floor this enormous three pear-shaped tee-pees made out of wood and in each of them a different theme: beach, home linen and home china. My eyes were flying all over every detail. The floors, the leather handles on the staircase with the wood… forget about the product the experience of being in the store was just perfect for inspiration! And right next to the Hermes store there is a children’s bookstore: Librairie Chantelivre that I definitely recommend checking out. We were lucky enough that a Chinese illustrator was signing his books and he didn’t just sign the books–he drew illustrations with ink and brush on the spot. I think the parents were more excited than the kids to see the man at work!
The highlight I could go on forever about is Roland Garros. My hobby is tennis. I’ve been playing since I was a kid and now in my free time I play competitively (and for fun of course). So to get to sit in the stand of Philippe Chatrier during the 40th anniversary of Roland Garros was an amazing treat. I was only able to go to one day, but the tennis I saw was amazing: defending champion Francesca Schiavone, Novak Djokovic – winning his 38th straight win in 2011! For a tennis fan this was one lucky day to get all this great tennis on the first round of the open. I wish my pictures could show how amazing the tennis was, but my main focus was to capture the tennis form of the players so that I could improve my game!
The last little thing I’d love to share is that on one of the walks to the metro to go from our place to my sister’s place, there’s a little park across the street from Le Bon Marché…as we were walking by I spotted a trailer and my mind clicked: they’re having a photo shoot at the park! I’ve been doing a little bit of photography at Tea and now I can’t help but pay more attention to photography so I had to go check it out. I’m a little bit shy so I didn’t go and talked to anyone, but I did take a minute just to see them work. I have no idea what they were shooting for; there were two very tall models that looked like they were wearing something straight out of Lagerfeld’s sketchbook:
Last Thursday we launched a brand new event for Tea - we invited local bloggers and media to our headquarters in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, to give them a sneak peek of our Fall 2011 Back to School line before it’s released later this summer.
Our invite list included fashion bloggers, parenting bloggers, writers for local media like Red Tricycle and SFGate, and representatives from local mother’s groups such as Southern Marin Moms. We welcomed them to our showrooms to share margaritas with us and meet some of the team at Tea. They chatted with the founders of the company, and had the opportunity to hear the design inspiration and outfitting messages of our Fall 2011 line directly from our designers and merchants.
And we all had a blast! It was a great opportunity to network and meet people face-to-face whose blogs we all read and love.
(above) Amy Graff from SFGate shows off an outfit she styled
We made a lot of new friends and loved the opportunity to show off our upcoming collection, which will be appearing in stores and online in the next few weeks. The destination hasn’t officially been announced yet, but if you look closely at the photos above and below you may be able to guess where we went…
(above) Maria from Geekymummy and Nancy Davis Kho from Normalarkey talk to Leigh Rawdon, co-founder of Tea
Here at Tea, we love the excitement of welcoming new little citizens into the world. With our 9th Birthday happening this week we also wanted to say Happy Birthday to all of the Tea babies born in the past five years- and there are quite a few of them!
Cristina in Tech Design welcomed Tallulah
Emily, our Chief Creative Officer, welcomed Georgia James
Jeff in Marketing welcomed Christian
Leah in Finance had Clara Ilo
Elisabeth in Marketing Operations welcomed Sean Elliot
Brooke in Wholesale Marketing welcomed Lucy
Cindy in Tech Design had Weston
Lauren in Merchandising welcomed Lauchlin
Tim. the VP of Sales, had Ty
Leigh, our CEO, had Matthew
Emily, our Chief Creative Officer, had Clement Osceola
Krista in PR welcomed Harrison Jake
Cindy in Tech Design had Madelyn
Kristine on our Wholesale Sales team had Maisie
Tracy in Product Development had Nicholas
Leigh, Tea's CEO, had Adam
Laura, our VP of Finance and Operations, welcomed Max
Sarah, a Wholesale Rep, had twins Maya and Sasha.
We feel so lucky to have so many cute (and well-dressed) babies at Tea!
When Tea was started 9 years ago it was with a few baby sweaters. One of these is still in production and is a Tea favorite – the Kimono Robe, now in sizes 6-12 months through 12 years! In the words of Emily, our Chief Creative Officer:
“The Kimono Robe was inspired by the distinctive lapels and minimal construction of a Japanese Kimono. The pure function of this traditional garment is modern in principle – efficient use of materials and timeless, elegant styling.
This cardigan represents the values that Tea was created on - an interpretation of the beauty found in cultures around the globe. Japanese aesthetics have always been highly inspiring to us – in shapes, prints and colors. We brought it back over the last couple of years because it can be easily worn with anything, and almost any time of year (at least here in the SF climate!).
And I love that it is a bit of accessible luxury for a child’s wardrobe - cozy soft and machine washable, elevates any jeans outfit.”
We currently have the Kimono robe in Prune, Walnut, and Indigo. Summer is coming but warm layers are always needed for nights around the campfire, or on rainy afternoons!
Announcing Stylista Finalists! What is a Stylista, you may ask? Check back to our post a couple months ago, describing Tea’s search for a young fashion-forward 8-12 year old to show their unique sense of style using pieces from our line. Reaching out through our stores, we asked for fashionable kids to visit their local retailer and style their own outfits using at least two pieces of Tea clothing. The winner would receive an expense-paid trip to San Francisco and a behind the scenes look at Tea’s headquarters, along with their very own photo shoot.
So how did it go? The answer is – it exceeded our expectations! We were so inspired by all the different ways to style Tea. Over 100 stylish kids participated, both girls and boys. Tea retailers went all out, many hiring professional photographers, and one even brought in a teen stylist to help organize the day’s events. The results were astonishing, and submissions were judged by a team from Tea’s Creative Group on the kids’ creativity, visual flair and embodiment of the spirit of the Tea brand. It was incredibly difficult to choose, but we’ve narrowed it down to three finalists:
From Euguene, OR, 8-year old Lilieauna likes to be called Lavender, and says she likes Tea because she can “really express myself in these clothes.” (store: Bambini Eugene, photographer: Tiffany Rosenbrock)
Also from Eugene, OR, 8-year old Chloe says she likes Tea because “It’s very comfortable and cute.” (store: Bambini Eugene, photographer: Tiffany Rosenbrock)
This 9-year old from San Diego states “I like Tea because of its funky artist style and I’m a funky person.” (store: Magical Child, photographer: Corey Villicana)
Thank you to everyone who has participated so far in our first Stylista contest! And thank you to all the stores who participated – we couldn’t have done it without you. Check back on Tuesday May 17th for the announcement of our winner, and stay posted for our next Stylista contest to be launched later this summer.
Last week it was too beautiful to stay inside, so a few of us snuck off for a little walk on our lunch break. It was such a nice view we asked a passer-by to take our picture. He asked us where we were visiting from. We told him we were from the bottom of the hill.