Behind the Scenes with Lola & Ben

Hi folks! It’s not very often that I do two designer interviews in a row, but I just couldn’t resist sharing our recent chat with Trina from Lola & Ben before the end of the month. It also ties in with the start of the Lola & Ben sale {kicking off tomorrow, scroll down for discount code}. Not to mention that these innovative organic sleeping bags are perfect for this ridiculously cold weather! Brrrrrr!

Lola & Ben Organic Merino Sleeping Bag

Lola & Ben specialises in…
Our ‘4 Seasons in 1 Bag™’ Organic Baby Sleeping Bag with interchangeable New Zealand Merino liners which adapt to each season. The ‘4 Seasons in 1 Bag™’ is our own unique design which is made in New Zealand. Our sleeping bags can be purchased from Lola & Ben and also at a growing number of retailers which is exciting for our brand.

Lola & Ben products are unique because…

They combine the best of functional design with gorgeous GOTS certified organic cotton and superfine New Zealand merino wool. We have designed a functional garment which has interchangeable merino liners that allow parent to dress baby in cotton only in hot climates and by adjusting liners you can take baby through all seasons. Less is more, with one garment!

Lola & Ben products are all proudly made in New Zealand. A local high quality CMT manufacturer allows us to maintain tight quality controls on each garment while reducing the amount of miles they clock up in their production.

Lola & Ben 4 Seasons in 1 Bag

The inspiration behind the 4 Seasons in 1 Bag™ is…
Our children, the New Zealand weather (raining in the morning, hot at lunch, frost over night) and trying to keep baby comfortable throughout…  Modern parents who demand highly functional products and embrace eco ethics in their daily lives… Our German influence of high quality (thanks to Sigi the other half of Lola & Ben ~ AKA Lola’s mum) and the burgeoning German market… Beautiful New Zealand merino wool…

Our original prototypes that were proudly made at the kitchen table… Our friendship & the desire to learn & develop a business enabling us to work from our homes in rural South Auckland around our families… Avoiding cheap Chinese imports and our consciences to keep it real and ethical…. Aaaand paranoid aversion of dressing our newborns in polyester or anything synthetic.

My favourite materials to work with are…
New Zealand Merino & GOTS certified organic cotton and our colour ranges reflect our own choices which is great to be able to reflect in our brand.  New Zealand Merino is adorable and the luscious 300gm I’m Snug winter liner in Cocoa is perfect for baby to snuggle up in.

Lola & Ben Organic Sleeping Bags

Ethically produced and organic products are important to me because…
It is a continuum of my own life. Our business reflects our daily lives in that we produce ethically manufactured high quality garments that are functional and unique. We, like many mums these days are busy and juggle many things on a daily basis. Parents demand functional goods that will be well used. Lola & Ben also believes in one off high quality purchases that are used and loved on a daily basis. We shy away from ‘fast fashion’ and buying stuff just for the sake of it (stuff that is likely to end up in a land fill after a few short uses). We are also aghast at the trend to dress & sleep babies in polyester putting baby at a real risk of overheating or at least uncomfortable and sweaty.

My purchases are often high quality & and always natural fabric & ethically produced in New Zealand or Australia if possible. Being a Coeliac (gluten intolerant) I have to make all my own meals, mainly from scratch, and can’t have many (any) convenience foods without the risk of being sick. Albeit a nuisance it’s opened my eyes to the diet of mainstream New Zealand, and what is a natural progression to the rest of our lives. I never realized what a massive and significant part of one’s life food is.  To complement our diet I grow 80% of our vegetables, spray free. Nothing is more therapeutic than pottering in the afternoon with the kids and we all love getting outside.

My favourite memories from my childhood are…
Gardening with my grand dad, going for long walks in the country with my dad, time with mum, having farm animals and the never being too far from the beach/sea.

Lola & Ben Organic Baby Sleeping Bags

The five most important things in my life (apart from family) are…
Time, my friends old + new, a nice glass of Chardonnay (maybe a cliché but still my fav NZ wine) or Pinot Noir, my computer (if I’m being honest ..), the beach. Oh and I love tennis too.

If I could trade places with anyone in the world for one day (dead or alive) it would be…
Hhhhmmmm that’s hard. I really like my life… mostly. No actually!  Anyone who could eat chocolate pastries, Fish & Chips… anything unhealthy and full of gluten just for one day. Not very philanthropic of me, huh?!

If I was given the opportunity to change just one thing about society it would be…
That everyone reads (& understands) the labels on the foods, cosmetics & clothing  that their family uses and knows exactly what they are eating or putting on their skin or wearing. I can’t believe most people often don’t take ownership for their bodies in this regard.

My goals for the next 12 months are…
Establish new offshore retailers for Lola & Ben products. We are attending Kids InStyle in Melbourne this year, which is so big for our brand and ourselves. Hopefully start renovating (whether that’s achievable with a 2 & 5 year old). Go to the movies more often, see friends more often, entertain more, improve tennis game, more family holidays… enjoy the life I have more !

Thank you Trina, we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you better.

Savings and SpecialsLola & Ben are turning three, and to celebrate are offering 10% off the purchase price of their 4 Seasons in 1 Bag™. Simply enter the discount code THREE at the checkout to redeem your discount. Offer valid online from 1 – 31 July, 2010.


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