If you’ve ever felt like a fish out of water gift-buying at the local baby clothes emporium, you’re not alone. Beyond the basics like blue for boys, pink for girls, there isn’t else much to go on when it comes to variety, making the whole purchase feel less special. Nell Lindquist, a graphic designer by trade, thought it was high time to add some fun and personality back into the baby-clothing game when her and her sister founded Hi Little One, an online retailer featuring fully customizable totes, onesies, baby tees and cards, all hand-designed and printed on American-made apparel.
We met Nell at her home and office in Denver, Colorado, to find out more about her love for typography, how she stays sane, and what the funniest thing someone’s asked her to print on a bib was.
On how Hi Little One was born: “When all my friends started having kids I noticed it was difficult finding baby gifts I liked. There were so few options for modern, personal gifts that weren’t cheesy, too cutesy or overplayed. So I started making my own custom gifts using iron-on t-shirt transfers. I’d include inside jokes, hometown nods and nicknames. When friends and family started “placing orders,” that’s when I really started to feel like we were on to something.”
On taking the entrepreneurial plunge: “I’ve always wanted to be my own boss. I spoke with a number of entrepreneurs and they all urged me to take the plunge. My cousin, who founded of a successful organic baby food company, put it like this: ‘If you have a good idea, chances are other people have it too. The race has already started.’”
On her love of letters: “I have always been a huge fan of typography—signage, branding, packaging, all of it. So much progress has been made in the world of type design in the last 5 to 7 years, and with the internet there’s access to more options than ever. This is an extremely exciting time to be in a creative field.”
On the importance of giving back: “Our dad lost three brothers to Leukemia, two as children, and our younger brother, Sean, survived a bout with Hodgkin’s Disease when he was twelve. Supporting pediatric cancer research has always been important to our family, which is why 10% of all of our sales go to charity.”
On never getting out of her PJs: “I love working from home, especially getting to spend the day with my dog, Champ. But, I do notice that I miss out on accidental, serendipitous inspiration. So, I make a point to get out of the house whenever I can. I take walks, go to the grocery store, go on runs. It’s important to keep my brain from getting stale, not to mention prevent myself from going absolutely crazy.”
On the funniest thing she’s ever printed on baby clothes: “‘I know that’s not a F#$&ing airplane!’ on a bib.”
On taking the show on the road: “We’re in the process of converting a trailer into a mobile office so we can travel to fairs and markets around the country, or partner with shops and cafes around town. We’re bringing personalization to the people!”