Velocitoddler || Unisex Baby and Kids Clothes || Made in USA

clothing for young terrestrials

Down to Business

Exclusive Artwork: The Cuttlefish

Down to Business, SewingTabatha HansenComment

For the last couple of years, I have been yearning and avoiding printing my own artwork for the shop. Yearning because I’ve been drawing and painting for years and my work is the perfect amount of weird and fun for kids and adults, avoiding because it means committing to a risk that is much higher than selecting from bolts of fabric printed with artwork I already like (Charley Harper’s work, specifically). The biggest thing that differentiates VT from other online boutiques is our vision of what gender “neutrality” looks like, though, and what has been happening in my brain is now so far from what has been happening in our real-life inventory that it’s time for a makeover.

The original painting, snapshotted on my broken phone with a breath of relief I had accomplished this beauty how I intended.

The original painting, snapshotted on my broken phone with a breath of relief I had accomplished this beauty how I intended.

The first print I have created is of my favorite cephalopod, the cuttlefish. This creature has the ability to change its skin’s color and texture, and uses this camouflage to hide itself from prey for mealtime and for mating. Males have been observed to change up their do like female cuttlefish to avoid being attacked by more aggressive males. Scientists have found that the female cuttlefish dig this, and it keeps the males alive. They swim using a wiggly, ripply wave of fin that encircles their bod, they can turn their eyeballs to look behind them, and their tongues are swift, absurd coils. I adore this monster.

While I have admiration for clean, geometric art, it’s not how I feel inside and it’s not what I think of when I look at dribbling, chubby wobbling babies dancing and children flying across the park.

The print was created with a gauche line painting in black. While I have admiration for clean, geometric art, it’s not how I feel inside and it’s not what I think of when I look at dribbling, chubby wobbling babies dancing and children flying across the park. Charley Harper’s work is minimalist and colorful—a combination I am captivated by, but does not come naturally by my own hand. It is likely I will occasionally source work of his when I am compelled, but potentially only for personal use instead of for our brand. His work, after all, is not exclusive to Velocitoddler.

“What are you doing? What is that face? Why are you smiling? Who is making you smile for pictures? Agh just look at me!”

“What are you doing? What is that face? Why are you smiling? Who is making you smile for pictures? Agh just look at me!”

How is this fabric printed?

The company I love to work with is called Spoonflower. Many people sewing for themselves browse oodles of designs offered by artists. Every month, a new challenge is offered for designers to compete in and users to vote on. It’s a company that allows people to print as small as a 5”x5” piece of fabric up to hundreds of yards. It is accessible to individuals or companies alike, their eco-friendly method of digital printing uses 100% biodegradable inks, and it feels good to buy from a company who does its work in the United States. As our business grows, we intend on continuing to source and work with USA businesses who keep their business here as much as we can. Because our textile milling industry took a serious dive a hundred years ago and has been mostly outsourced, many of our materials will continue to be imported, but we are committed to keeping manufacturing here. We have a local apparel manufacturer here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I cannot wait to see our growth reach a point to help support our local economy.


Baby bats drink milk, too!

Baby bats drink milk, too!

What is coming up?

The next print I am working on is a project that is heavily influenced by my kid: bats! It has been about six months of reading books about bats before bedtime. Did you know that their wings are actually hands, and they catch bugs in the air to toss them in their mouths? They eat half their weight in insects with every flight. Many of them are downright adorable, some have peculiar, buggy eyes, and they are the only mammal that can fly. This print will be one I am creating with gauche as well, but it will likely have only one colorway, unlike the cuttlefish in two (purple and blue).

What about basic clothing items?

Creating more unique pieces means I’m devoting less time to organic basics, but there are a bajillion of companies out there that offer solid organic clothing. Right now, I don’t mind those pieces taking a backseat to the fantastic creatures and scenes I am working on. This also means I get to only grab the fabrics that reach out and grab me first to make tonal clothing out of. Right now, I’ve got three unusual colors of corduroy that look like 1990s Nickelodeon and they pair energetically with the cuttlefish. They will be chopped into pants with a roomy crotch and legs, with elasticized ankles and waistband and huge important pockets. My kid calls them “comfy pants.” Pair a color of kiwi corduroys with a purple cuttlefish raglan and kid will look rad.

(insert picture of that combo ASAP!)

Goodbye, IRL Shop

Down to Business, Life Outside(ish) BabyTabatha Hansen3 Comments

I had a shop, and then I didn't have a shop. It's been two weeks since we broke up, and it's time I let you know. After all, you were a part of our relationship, too. The most important part. But this breaking up thing, it's not you at all. It was Them. 

Know what we like waaaaay more than being inside? Being outside, around town, at events, at markets, listening to local music, eating food made by our friends, watching kids balloon-swordfight. 

Know what we like waaaaay more than being inside? Being outside, around town, at events, at markets, listening to local music, eating food made by our friends, watching kids balloon-swordfight. 

Call it weakness. That's what I keep calling it. Them. They ruined the relationship, it wasn't me. Kind of a cowardice, isn't it? It is to me, between the moments when I call it courageous. 

So, what happened? That's what some are asking on the voicemail, what some are messaging me about. I packed up and vanished in a night. I was planning on being there for years, but in a handful of hours we vacated, leaving behind a front door of broken glass.

The short story is, that seeing shattered glass for the third time since our lease started broke me, too. There's a much longer story in here about the daily transients who would wander in, some of them aggressive, some of them refusing to leave, some trying to grab items on the way out, all of them requiring that my toddler go hide quietly in the back of the store. The heroin needles in the garden bed outside the door, the occasional person passed out blocking pathways. My dad is an addict, and when he relapsed I'd see him every day, walking down the street. I became more accessible than ever, and I was concerned I was an easy target. I knew I was an easy target. I know. But the short story. 

That senseless violent act against the front door where Iris and I essentially lived forced me to ask myself: what am I doing this for, and does it need to continue in this format? 

I came into the shop two Monday mornings ago to find my front door shattered. Looked like someone shot the door with a BB gun. Our neighbors also had their window broken. I was coming to the shop to grab packaging tape to mail orders. Iris was sleeping in the car. The moment I saw it was the moment I knew I didn't want this to be where I existed most of my waking hours. I don't deserve this. My kid doesn't deserve this. If we were in the shop at four in the morning, if I stayed late, being in that space meant being unsafe. I went to counseling to learn how to set boundaries in my relationships, yet here I was, subjecting myself and my kid to a place where people broke boundaries every week. Where people mumbled at me that I should have money to give them, why don't I have money for them, but not out in the open street with a small safety net of other people; in a small, enclosed space with walls that made every uncomfortable word louder. That senseless violent act against the front door where Iris and I essentially lived forced me to ask myself: what am I doing this for, and does it need to continue in this format? 

We had a sewing studio with a shop in the front. We were in the shop to be able to be a part of a neighborhood we love in a city we love. We wanted a place where people could visit with their babies, where we could design custom shoes and listen to music and sometimes I'd talk politics with customers, talk music, talk about living in our city. We were there to give more structure to our lives, to have our kid be a part of our family business, to get our studio out of the house. All of these reasons shouldn't require our safety as a tradeoff. 

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Goodbye, cute shop. We might revisit this again in a different location. We might not. We are, after all, freshly broken up, and it's hard to say if we'll ever get back together. Right now, we've got things to look forward to: 

1. The Downtown Growers' Market! The market season starts in a month. We're going to be bringing all of our stock to Robinson Park on Saturdays. Check out the Events page for the specific dates we will be there. 

2. More work on our Webshop! Since many of our items are one-of-a-kind, it's tricky figuring out how to best list those goods. We're going to figure it out. Maybe a "shop our Instagram" type of thing. We were working upwards of 60 hours a week running the shop, the webshop, and attending markets. Making our internet thing cooler sounds real nice, especially since we will still have human interactions at the DGM. 

3. SO MUCH TIME TO WORK ON ART. I've totally failed to work on expanding my own line. Without all of the hours required in the shop, I'm hoping to reallocate that time to creating. 

4. Again, so many extra hours in the day. Cutting out drive time, moving the toddler from place to place, waking the kid up to drag her sleepy body around. 

If you are a local, use code ABQSHIP for free shipping since we no longer have pickups. When the market season begins, pickups can happen there, but until then, I'll ship it straight to you. Tonight, I'm going to get working on our new canopy design. We're going to make our booth as much as a pop-up shop experience as we can. :) 

Until then, see ya on the internets. 

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