Wednesday, October 12, 2011

10 minutes with...

I had the great opportunity to ask a couple of questions to Carina Schott, owner of the wonderful boutique Nonchalant Mom. I knew I was in for a interesting read, when she agreed to do this interview. Her shop opened up almost 8 years ago, when most online boutiques was still unheard of. Today it is going stronger than ever and it basically comes down to, because it is run by one very talented and experienced woman.

Can you tell us a little about how Nonchalant Mom started? What is your inspiration, and how did you come up with the name?

It's hard to imagine but I started Nonchalant Mom almost 8 years ago! My son was 2 years old and we moved up to Rhode Island from New York City. I was a clothing designer and there were no jobs for me up in the beach area of Rhode Island, I thought of commuting but after one freelance job of commuting weekly, I said 'forget it!' (It's three hours each way).
I was also heavily into macrobiotics and so raising my son without pharmaceuticals and minimal intervention was important to me. It sounds crazy now but at the time there was really nothing available on the internet as far as information on parenting in a more natural way. So I chose to combine the two.

I found a bunch of out of print macrobiotic books about pregnancy and child health, and then used my 10+ years of macro knowledge, and the help of Warren King (my favorite doctor in Minnesota) to start my website. A friend called me a nonchalant mom one day and the name just stuck, we were ready to go!

I absolutely love your selection at Nonchalant Mom! You have a kids, mom and a home section, with some truly unique and hard-to-find brands to choose between. I also love your flea market section, what a great idea that is! What are some of the things you look for when deciding what brands would suit Nonchalant Mom?

When I first started it was predominately brands from my favorite stores in New York City that I started my website with; Makie, Erica Tanov, Lucky Fish and Lucky Wang...We all became close friends, this little core group. Because of the concept of a children's web boutique was completely unheard of and these guys had to trust me that I was going to do it right. They did and we are all the more successful because of it. Now because of the proliferation of so many kids stores I am really choosy about my brands, its not that I feel they need to be exclusive to me (I feel that is very unfair to these small brands, I want them to be a success and not to hold them back!) It's the message of easy, fun and uncomplicated kids clothing! And when it's organic to boot...I get really excited!

And the flea market thing.. I drive my husband crazy with my finds... So I needed an excuse to shop the flea markets! He has a rule in our home, if I bring something in, something's gotta go... It's impossible! I believe that flea markets are the best education, I love history. I've been shopping flea markets for over 25 years and I am always learning something new.

You also run a very popular blog at Nonchalant Mom. I love your natural take on raising your kids, and have found so many great tips and ideas on your blog, can you share some of your own favorite blogs/websites to visit?

I love my blog too... as my kids get older I feel bad that I have gotten away from the original idea, but all the information is there. It's just in the archives, maybe I need to make a better way of getting to it... hmmm that 's an idea!

As far as other blogs I am afraid that my true colors will show when I tell you:

You also have your own brand,
Nonchalant Kids in your shop, can you share a little about your inspiration behind your own line of clothes?

I made play-clothes for my kids and then this turned into a kids line because all the kids in the neighborhood wanted them. I keep saying I am going to do more but it's really hard to find the time! One season an amazing store in Japan ordered the collection and I was ecstatic! It was as if I could have given up right then and there... I felt I had hit the top! But now I keep chasing that, I want to do it again. The pantsuits have been a big hit, I am going to do them for adults next summer... look out!

I first read about your home in the Domino magazine June/July 2008 and instantly fell in love with your modern, kid-friendly family home in Rhode Island. The bright, colorful interior with white walls and natural wooden features brought me right back home to my Scandinavian roots. Do you have any interior tips/motto you try to live by?

Oh I have lots of them! But most importantly I feel that American homes are not very personal, I think it's important to tell people about yourself through your home. That said, I have a secret wish to become an interior designer, how fun would that be!!!

Words to live by: White, wood, sheepskin, colorful objects and somehow, yellow and green always work!

You have two very natural and lovely models for your shop, your two children Sander and Franny. Has growing up in the family business meant that they now share your passion for quality clothes? Do they have any favorite brands or styles of their own?

They are amazing! Sander in particular, I can shoot him in about 5 minute and get amazing photos... I never talk about it (you know that!) but it's crazy that boy... his latest thing is wearing Indian shirts. We live in a typical American area, I thought he was going to get beat up the first time he wore one to school (it wasn't my idea! He wears them out of school but..) but it went fine ( I think I attribute it to the strict no bullying at school) Now it's all he wants to wear! Wee buy them at 'Do Kahm' in NYC (on Prince & Lafayette)... They come in all colors and they are prefect! (especially in summer heat). That together with ESP no. 1 jeans in royal blue... total favorite this year!

Franny, well she is a different story (GIRL). She would like to be a princess every day, so we tone it down to jeans, a skirt (over the jeans -- her idea!) and a top - this is the uniform, if her shoes can sparkle it's a huge bonus!

I love your travel guides on your blog, can you share some of your favorite places or memories from this summer?

The travel blog has turned out to be a big favorite, and great excuse for us to do crazy things too! Our camper trip to the grand canyon a couple of years ago was the top! This year I think our favorite is coming up, we don't know where we are going yet, but we are going somewhere for Christmas! (me and the kids are pow-wowing over Paris... but we'll see!)

A new season has just landed on the shelves at Nonchalant Mom, can you share your favorite picks from the autumn / winter 2011 collections with us?

I am completely over the moon about everything! ( I can't say this is always the case!)

For kids: ESP no.1 - Jeans and sweaters + NicoNico I could die for... the colors-- amazing! And Makié's items are just perfect

For women:
I am extremely crazy for the Lem Lem collection, I just think it's so new and the colors.. it's really hard for me not to take everything! That together with Clare Vivier bags -- what else could you want? (maybe a cool pair of clogs?.
I am waiting for the new Lucky Fish for women, which I loved when I bought it and know is going to be great! And these very
cute bracelets, little braided friendship bracelets... simple but really fun! (sometimes it's the little things).

What is coming up next for Nonchalant Mom, any dreams on the horizon?

My main focus is making sure I do a
spring collection for both kids and some things for mom... cross your fingers! Just between you and I (and all your readers) I would like a store to be in our future... We'll see!?

Oh, and I am putting together a
fall/winter catalog - I love making these so you will see that pretty soon on the website!

Huge thanks to founder
Carina Schott, for a really interesting look into the world of Nonchalant Mom!

and while you are at it, check out her truly INSPIRING BLOG as well...

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