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Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am Annelijn. A bit chaotic. More visually oriented than theoretical. Living in Amsterdam at one of the most beautiful canals together with my partner and our little ones Maen and Dapper.
What made you decide to start Dapper Maentje?
Following the birth of Maen I was orientating on what I wanted to do, as I just graduated from arts academy (I actually had my thesis presentation whilst being 6 months into my pregnancy…). I found this a particularly hard exercise at that time, given I found it extremely difficult to have others taking care of Maen. Plus, I was quite nervous about the whole job interviewing process . After about 5 months I took the decision that I wanted to do more than being a mom to Maen. Not to earn money – luckily enough we were managing from my partner’s side – but I really wanted to prove that I could be of value in some way or the other aside from family. So I registered with the chamber of commerce and started a kids fashion label – which was called ‘Maendag’. The idea was that every day should be a ‘Maen- day’, meaning that whilst being at home with Maen I would, between her naps and at night, work on creating new designs and doing my own (micro) production of kids clothes. This concept sounded awesome to me, but in reality it did not work out that way. But what did I know, being 25 years of age and having Maen as my first born of only 6 months of age.
Dapper Maentje is a big succes, what are your wishes for the future?
As a first step, I would really like to find a strong partner (atelier) that could take on production of the Moon cloths. This would free up a lot of my time that I could then spend on developing new designs, source new beautiful fabrics, do more with vintage, highlight sustainability more in the product. I would also love to have my own web shop and over time partner up with the right wholesalers that match with my philosophy. Given I do all the sowing of the Moon cloths myself I really have way too little time to do those things.
ANNELIJN AND MAEN ARE WEARING:
We love the mini vlogs by Maentje, that’s how we fell in love with your instagram 😉 Do you think she will be a future actrice, professional princess or master influencer?
Haha, Yes! I really enjoy hearing that, thank you. She already is a real professional princess, … haven’t you noticed? All kidding aside, I have no idea what she will aspire to become, as long as whatever she does makes her happy.
What has changed in your life since you became a mother? And what is the best thing about being a mom?
In actual fact, a lot, if not everything has changed. From social relationships to now being a master stain remover. The best thing about being a mom is that every night when I (finally!) go to bed, I think back on moments of that day with the little ones. This could be a happy moment, funny moment, or something completely ridiculous. This gives me a twinkle in my eyes every day.
What do you like to do..
Fantasizing, crafting, reading and doing girly stuff with Maen.
It’s always fun to see if your kids take after you or your partner both in appearance as in character. How is this with Maen and Dapper?
Maen in appearance looks so similar to her father, but she really has my sense of drama haha.
Dapper I find it difficult to judge at this time. He is a bit dreamy, which I also was as a kid.
What surprised you about motherhood?
That before being a mom I thought I could be really busy and tired … now I really know?
What’s important to you when it comes to toys and playing?
What are the products you can’t do without anymore since you’re a mother?
Cookies; ). I have to get back on this.
What’s your best advice for other moms? And what is the best advice you have ever received?
Do what you think and feel is right and stay on that path. Say goodbye to advise from people that think they know what is best, you(!) know and feel what is right for your kids.
What do you find difficult as a parent and what do you do to fix it?
Being and staying consistent towards the kids. At times it is so tempting to say yes to them if you had to give them 100x no. Just to make the nagging stop on the emotional side, I find it difficult to spot if one of the kids is being insecure about themselves … we see Maen struggling with that sometimes. That’s why, amongst other things, we are reading books on this subject.
How do you like to raise your child, what works for you?
Liberal. I do not want to set boundaries/limitations by saying no to everything.
What’s your favourite moment of the day? Do you have daily/weekly rituals in your family?
Who wants coffee? All four of us have a coffee in the morning. The kids have their “latte” in the same cups as we drink our coffee from, sometimes with chocolate sprinkles. It gives the kids a feeling they are not excluded from something that we as parents to and you can see they really enjoy & appreciate that.
In the weekends we like to go out for lunch which usually is at our favorite place, Fou Fow (Japanese Ramen or Udon noodles soups). We started to go there when Maen was just 4 weeks old and – given we love it so much – we really have never changed that ‘rhythm’.
We read on your instagram you also have a ritual with gemstones with the kids. Can your tell us a little bit about this ritual?
Maen is a really difficult sleeper, which was especially the case in the first 18 months. That is the background to my advise to keep doing what feels right to you and not listen to 100 or so (well intended or not) advices, theories and solutions, which frankly made me very insecure during that time. The doctor, child psychologist, our family, they all said something else how to solve it…and initially I followed up on that, but all of those ideas did not help. When Maen was 3 years of age and could speak to us, her sleeping problem became easier to deal with. Obviously it was not the case that we suddenly had very deep conversations, but it helped a lot that she could understand when I was speaking to her about the importance of sleep and what it meant for her being alone in her room in bed, etc. At that time I also introduced the “sleeping gemstone” to Maen. I really enjoy products that have a story. And with most minerals you have a really beautiful and magical story to tell. The gemstone and the story really got to her and before we knew it she slept through all night – 2 straight weeks – in her own bed. A small victory ? she wash the stone every night before she goed to sleep for extra power.
Are there any other ways you like to incorporate gemstones in your life?
Maen wears a necklace and bracelets with gemstones. She says that if she takes them of, or if some stones fall off, she loses strength. In the mornings she also likes to wear my moonstone, so she can re-strengthen it. I usually wear a moonstone and I would also like to have a sunstone (one of the most fascinating stones, orange with glitters inside). I read somewhere that if you wear these two jointly, it helps you to stay in balance.
How do you make sure everything is ‘in balance’, work, family, friends? And how do you combine motherhood and Dapper Maentje?
Ah balance… since I have 2 kids, we renovated our house, and I am keeping busy with DapperMaentje, I am far from being in balance. I try hard to keep a well-balanced live, and the people close to me know that – at times – I am keeping to my self a bit to “rebalance”. I know that I would really benefit if I would allow others to help me more. But I really struggle with that.
How do you stay in shape, physically and emotionally? How do you treat yourself?
I love to make and do things that make me happy. Really taking “me time” has not worked out the last couple of months. Recently I had a sitter for Dapper and went out with Maen to spend the day together, which was a mega treat for me. I am very happy and am very grateful that I get to live the life that I have. I am not embarrassed to say, though, that presently I am not really in shape or balance. Whilst working to restore that, I like to keep telling my self that these are the “tropical years”
We love to know a couple of your favourite things in general. List a top 5.
– kinderboeken met mooie illustratieschildren books with beautiful illustrations
– graphic design
– Japanese foods
You recently moved to a beautiful new place. Where do you find inspiration and what’s important to you interior-wise, when it comes to creating a home?
I like to use Pinterest. This is, for example, the source where I found the tiles for our home that we had to order in the UK. Also the people around me inspire me. Like my good friend Maaike, from Studio Heiligland. She really has a very beautiful house. Very original and unique. I really like to see that she stays close to herself instead of being influenced too much by trends. From an interior perspective, I find it important to not have too much stuff.
What are your favourite clothing brands for your and the kids?
faithful the brand
rylee and cru
birds of nature
maed for mini
What’s the nicest piece of art you ever got from kid(s)?
a self-portrait from maen with nail polish. At first I thought it was a flower, but apparently it was an enormous hand with nail pollish
When was the last time your heart melt?
probably today. Weekdier.
What was your favourite holiday with your kids and why? And what is important for all holidays?
I really find it fascinating to see my kids in different environments. I like to eat, drink and take photographs – so I like to go to photogenic places surrounded by sea, sand, flowers, trees and plants.
Who a inspires you and why?
Don’t really know the answer to that. A lot of people inspire me. Being chaotic, I find people that have a certain focus and calmness very inspiring. Now I would say Kelli Murray. I don’t really know her or know that much about her, but she does inspire me with beautiful illustrations. Also, for me, she is one of the driving forces behind one of my favorite kids labels (Rylee and Cru) and has accomplished to bring that to an international level.
Which one is your favourite Lennebelle Jewelry piece for and why?
The medallion really speaks to me given it is so personal. I am always very curious about what people keep close to them and usually there is a story behind that. This is also the case with the new gemstones collection.