Reach for the sky, little dudes! The Natti Natti universe is playful and beautiful, modern yet nostalgic, full of the love and joy that childhood memories are made from. This Brooklyn-based brand with Swedish roots creates unique bedding & accessories for kids that are quite literally like out of a dream – ‘natti natti’ means ‘nighty night‘ in Swedish.
Shannon Althin founded Natti Natti in 2015 with her husband Eric. Together they had run an art gallery in the city for several years, but after becoming parents for the second time their entrepreneurial bug was ready for a different adventure. In the year since their launch, Natti Natti has blossomed into a beautiful family company which the kids are a huge part of. Shannon tells us more about the inspiration behind the brand, their small-batch process, raising kids in Brooklyn, and their plans for the coming months.
How did Natti Natti come to be? Why bedding?
When our daughter was born in 2011, my husband and I owned and operated an art gallery in Chelsea. The arrival of our daughter had a profound impact on us, as it does with all new parents. We felt more and more that we wanted the flexibility of working from home with her. We began exploring the world of textiles and design, and we had soon produced our first fabric. I starting using the fabrics to sew Emma leggings. It was something fun that we really enjoyed and it got me thinking how I would love to start a little Brooklyn brand for children.
When I was pregnant with our boy Lukas we began transitioning Emma into her new big girl bed. It was a very big deal for her. She was so excited and also really looking forward to becoming a big sister! We wanted to make her bed extra special so we designed and sewed her a custom duvet cover! She loved it so much! We realized then that our passion for art and design was a perfect fit for a new venture in children’s bedding, and so, Natti-Natti was born!
The Natti Natti universe is so unique and playful. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Thank you! Our inspiration comes from so many things. Japanese toys and cartoons, our kids, nature, and of course Sweden! Scandinavia is known for their beautiful design. Often white, modern, and minimal. We love a clean white canvas. We were designing our first collection a few years ago while visiting Sweden in the summer and this became the main inspiration for our “Forest Collection”. Picking mushrooms and berries in the woods, rainy swedish summer days, and spending all day outside in nature.
For our most recent collection, “Nostalgia”, our kids were a huge inspiration. We wanted to create a collection that evoked nostalgia and brought back magical memories of childhood. Our daughter Emma was even involved in the designing process which was a ton of fun! We love incorporating cute characters throughout our designs as well. My husband Eric has been drawing and designing characters, or as we like to call them “dudes”, haha, since he was a little boy! We really are kids at heart and this is such a wonderful way for us to collaborate and create together. We strive to create organic, unique, modern and playful pieces that kids and parents alike can enjoy and feel good about.
Your products are truly small-batch. What does the process look like, from design to production?
They really are. We design everything in our at-home studio and I also sew our growth charts here as well. Sometimes we hand paint onto paper and scan these designs into the computer and other times we go completely digital using a tablet.
We work with an awesome local print shop who screen print everything by hand! A screen is created from our artwork and then printed onto our fabrics using water-based inks. This screen printing process is truly an art form, its very cool to watch! We have a few products that are digitally printed as well or a combination of digital and screen print.
Since everything is local I am able to personally deliver the printed fabric to our manufacturers, who are located just a couple blocks away from the printers. This way we can oversee, be involved, and be present every single step of the way, which is amazing! A lot of time, hard work, and love goes into each and every piece we make.
Raising little ones in Brooklyn is awesome and challenging. What do you love / struggle with?
It’s so true! I love that the kids are growing up in a culturally diverse city with so much to offer. From food, to museums, to zoos and parks, there is always something enriching we can take the kids to see. We can walk to playgrounds, art classes, or just run across the street to the pet shop for a quick animal encounter. We are also super fortunate to have such wonderful friends here! Since moving to Brooklyn we have met so many talented, creative, and like-minded people and we are truly thankful for that. We have the best neighbors who also happen to have a daughter around Emma’s age and they have become such good friends.
On the other hand, it’s smaller living, expensive, traffic can be a nightmare, and parking is constantly a struggle. Despite these things, we love Brooklyn very much and its the place we call home.
What does your typical Saturday look like?
Usually a lazy morning, haha! Definitely some snuggles in bed together. Our weeks are so busy so by the time Saturday arrives its so nice to just relax and enjoy each other without any particular agenda. Once we are all up we’ll make breakfast and usually talk about what we want to do for the day. If the weather is nice we like to go outdoors. A trip to the park, playground or something fun with the kids and usually ends with a yummy dinner with friends. Sundays we often make our way to Smorgasburg for the amazing abundance of tasty nibbles and flea market finds.
The response has been fantastic since you launched Natti Natti. What are your goals for the coming months?
I can’t even believe it’s been a year since we launched! For Fall, we have a few new products in the works which we are super excited about! We are also really looking forward to the Brooklyn Babyccino Shop Up event in September! Since we are an online shop this is such a wonderful opportunity for us to meet our customers and reach out to the local community. We would love to release another new collection next year so we will start bringing those designs to life in the coming months. Exciting times!
Photo credit: All photos by the über-talented Molly Magnuson and courtesy of Natti Natti.