With an emphasis on clean, mid-century design and sustainable materials Petit Collage was one of the first brands we knew we wanted to carry on Bitte. Many of my own daughters first toys were from Petit Collage and for good reason. Designer and founder Lorena has such a great eye for creating the types of items that really stand the test of time and many years of exuberant play. I recently got the opportunity to check out her beautiful San Francisco based studio and ask her a couple questions about work, life and current inspirations. We came away from our studio tour excited to see what's to come from one of our favorite makers. Make sure to check our entire collection of Petit Collage items here.
How did you first start Petit Collage? Where did the idea come from?
One day in 2006 I was running out the door to see a friend who was expecting a child. I didn't have a gift, so I dug into my stash of vintage paper and made her an owl collage on a wood square. Thus, Petit Collage was born.
Your designs are so fun and whimsical, did it take you awhile to develop your aesthetic or did it come naturally?
I started off working in design, and was drawn to Mid-Century and Swiss design. My style evolves and changes all the time, and I also work with two designers who bring their own voices to the table.
Who or what inspires your designs the most?
So hard to say. I'm a very big fan of Alexander Girard, of Mid-Century graphics, of the Scandinavian aesthetic...
Tell us a little about your process, how do you develop new products?
I work on a Fall and a Spring collection, alongside my two designers, Annie and Nora. We're brainstorming new designs all the time--sometimes the most random thing can spark an idea. We also look at what has done well in the collection to see where we want to go moving forward, and to make sure we're giving everything the max in play value and eco-friendliness.
As a mother and entrepreneur, what are some tips on running a business while still finding time for yourself and your family?
Hashtag clueless! The reality is, when I started my business, instead of choosing to work millions of hours and weekends, I decided to hire employees, which helps give me the flexibility I need. As one of my mentors says, you can have it all if you don't do it all.
How does your daughter inspire your work?
Somehow as she grows, so does the age range of our line! She is a very opinionated young lady, and playing with her gives me plenty of "aha" moments. And shopping for all those weekend birthday party presents helps me look at the market not just with designer eyes, as well.
You currently reside in San Francisco but you’re originally from Argentina and often travel for work, what are some of the reasons you love returning to the city by the Bay?
Definitely the quiet, mellow, not-too-crowded feeling of the city, the proximity to nature. And coming back to my home and my office, my happy places.
What were some of your favorite things about growing up in Argentina? And how did it affect your art and design?
My father was a graphic designer, so I think being raised in that atmosphere, going to museums and art shows, really affected me. I was also constantly in painting classes, sculpture classes...I've been told my work still has a very Latin American color palette.
Where are some of your favorite places to visit on your travels?
I always try to visit the local flea markets, to check exhibits and pick and choose what I can fit in, and of course find out the best kids shop to visit!
Lastly anything coming up for Petit Collage that you are particularly excited about?
A wooden bunny stacker for 6 months+ that's stolen my heart.
Thank you for sharing a little bit about your work and life with us here at Bitte!