Kati Hrivnak, Mamaruga
I see so much creativity in the babywearing industry, whether it’s companies designing innovative products or individuals making an impact on their community with great services and bright ideas to help parents. Everyone has their own unique perspective and ways of helping others creatively. Kati Hrivnak, creator and owner of Mamaruga is one of these inspiring people. I have known Kati for many years and admired her beautiful products and creative flair so it was great to have a focussed chat about how she applies it to everything she does.
Looking at the Mamaruga website you can already see that Kati does not follow the crowd. It’s a babywearing company making a range of exciting and gorgeous products; from baby slings suitable for newborns and up, to luxurious and tactile muslins, towels and blankets. I met Kati years ago at a London show and was captivated by the quirky designs of her woven wraps, she gave me a scrap which I still have up on my wall because I loved it so much. I assumed she had an artistic background but in fact back in her homeland of Hungary Kati studied to become a teacher and librarian. She tells me she would have also loved to have pursued design but funds didn’t stretch to three different educational routes.
Before her son was born here in the UK Kati was working as a waitress and yoga teacher. As a new parent Kati tried sling after sling, trying to find what worked for her family but couldn’t find the right thing. It was her husband who suggested she designed her own and this suggestion gave Kati the opportunity to explore her love of art and innate creativity.
I wanted to hear more about this creative side that went unfulfilled when she was younger and I asked Kati how she comes up with an idea for a new product. She tells me that,
“Ideas are coming to me in different times. For example during the state when I am not sleeping that deep, while I am cooking, taking my dog for a walk or taking a sip from my herbal tea.”
I think we can all relate to this, how the seed of an idea can arrive at the most domestic of moments or when your mind is elsewhere. The creative process is rarely linear, she then goes on to describe how she consolidates these ideas.
“I do research. Reading articles and blogs about fashion and design. Checking New York fashion week, pattern designers work, contemporary art in general. I am interested in art, so it is very joyful for me.”
The range of designs on Kati’s products are a mix of playful, peaceful and artistic, they really do reflect this process and the situations she finds herself in. It is so interesting to find out what inspires Kati and allows her to bring the joy in her life to families all around the world. It comes as no surprise that what makes Kati happy are found in the natural world, her love of family and friends as well as her passion for the arts. These all feed into the design of the fabrics and unique touches to her products. How wonderful then that parents can carry their child in something which has had so much thought put into both it’s functional design and aesthetics.
‘Is the future for Mamaruga design-led?, I ask. In fact Kati tells me for her the future has to lie in making her company as eco friendly as possible. Kati is looking at all the details, from recycled polyester labels and eco-friendly webbing to the packaging of her products. I think her simple but stylish paper sling packaging is already great but she wants to ensure everything is as ‘green as it can be’, which is no mean feat for a small company but I believe completely doable when it is run by by such a committed woman.
Kati wants the future to be beautiful and caring which seems like the perfect ethos for a baby carrier company. It’s what we want for all our children and it’s the perfect start to life to be carried in a sling that embodies all of this.