It is too bad babies grow so darn fast because the clothes produced by Hvid are absolutely exquisite. Luckily the founder expanded to children in addition to babies recently but still, they will all grow. That is why you must get your hands on one of these lush and soft items while you still have little ones running around.
Hvid founder Caroline Camerlynck who started the Belgium-based brand about five years ago told Your Coffee Break, “Hvid stands for timeless, sustainable and down to earth baby/children essentials.”
She could also have added pure to the list of adjectives to describe Hvid as that is what the word means in Danish. Every design produced by Hvid was first made in pure white. “Just like the brand name itself, my personal and professional life is full of white. From the sheep in the meadow next to our home, to the blackboard in the office. It’s fresh, pure and offers a lot of opportunities. Being surrounded by the colour white all the time, nurtures new ideas and insights, as well as helps to calm down during/after more stressful situations.” Truly just looking at the website’s beautiful photographs of the products has a calming effect.
So how did she get into this? Like many designers, it wasn’t exactly a straight path but rather an evolution. Caroline studied textile design eventually earning her Masters and then went on to pursue studies in illustration. The designer also worked part-time for years in an art book store and gave textile workshops to children as part of her role there. She told us how she then came to leave the book store for a year to study “Master in knitting’ in Brussels before heading to Denmark for her internship.
After graduating with a Master in Knitting Caroline then planned to do an internship in Copenhagen. But the universe stepped in when she made a blanket for a new nephew and found that people couldn’t stop complimenting her on the beautiful design and texture. “As I was already fascinated by the concept of a blanket during my whole life – they give you warmth, security, consolation – I decided to make him my own little baby blanket at school,” she told YCB. “While I was meeting a lot of new creative people during my internship, I gradually started realising I wanted to launch my own designer label. The concept of baby blankets emerged, and upon my arrival in Belgium, HVID Knitwear was born. I gave myself the following mission: ‘Create ethical knitted products of sustainable materials in Belgium’.”
In addition to the itty bitty blankets, Caroline also made large gorgeous plaids and pillows for living rooms when she first started out. Then she began to make more baby products and found this was really her sweet spot.
“As I gained more energy from the baby products, I expanded the collection to both baby and children items, hence decided to give these categories my full focus. Upon the launch of both the cocoon and booties in 2018, HVID got a significant boost and attracted more and more interest in and outside Europe.” Clearly all of her different experiences, from the book store to the textile knowledge to the knitting all came together beautifully for the creation of HVID. “HVID equals adventure. From the day I started, it has been a roller coaster with many unforeseen circumstances and obstacles, a pleasant roller coaster though. I met a lot of interesting people worldwide and have the opportunity to see places which I probably would never have seen, if I wouldn’t have started this adventure.”
HVID’s blankets, booties and bonnets are true works of art and you can tell so much intricate work goes into each item. “Every step in the process is done with passion. Sometimes when I’m packing Teddy Tokkies, I say, ‘Good luck to you all in your new homes with the babies’. Next, I believe everything should be joyful and personal. We work hard at HVID, but we also ensure that we have fun and maintain a close and personal contact with every stakeholder.”
The brand’s founder describes the typical HVID customer as a mother who likes minimalistic design, neutral colours and honest materials. “I don’t feel the need to standing out from other children brands, I just give my own touch to the design and production process.” After all, maybe it’s this personal touch that differentiates one brand from another. At HVID, their team only produce on demand and never have overstock/waste. “First, every ordered item is made in a unique small family factory in Belgium and finished by hand at our home/office. Afterwards I do all quality control by myself to ensure the new owners will be happy while opening their ‘present’.”
In addition to the company being beautiful, Caroline’s life sounds quite magical right now. She and her boyfriend recently relocated to right outside of Belgium in a countryside town. “I have an atelier next to the house where I work. I do Hvid by myself and that gives a lot of variation. That means doing sales, going to clients, making orders for the webshop, preparing orders for the shops, taking photos, making new designs, Instagram etc.. So every day is totally different. I have days that I make Teddies from morning until the evening. Other days I pack orders in combination with answering emails. Once a week I go to my producer to pick up things and to look at pending designs. When it’s busy I work quite late, sometimes till 1 or 2 am. In order to cope with this busy schedule, I give myself sufficient recovery moments. I go for a walk at least half an hour a day to refresh, likewise do I include several yoga sessions and personal ‘singalongs’ in my weekly planning.”
And surprisingly she does all of this without coffee. “I think I have never drunk a whole cup of coffee in my life, only tried it once.” If only we could all create such beautiful things without coffee.