6am start up
Time Out Kids meets Ayshwarya Chari and Kirsten van Langeveld, the two Dubai mums behind gorgeous new website, 6ambabies.com
Where did the name for the site come from?
Ayshwarya: While thinking of a name for the site, we wanted something that would stick in people’s minds, a name that would make them smile and something that every parent could relate to and that’s how we came up with 6am! (What parent does not relate to a 6am wake up call?) While that was one aspect of it, the other part of it is that our collections are largely inspired by the spirit of the ‘6ambabies’ in all of their fresh, fun, happy, gurgly glory…
So you’ve obviously got kids of your own?
Kirsten: My daughter Misja is one-and-a-half.
Ayshwarya: And my little girl Atira is two years old.
How do you ladies know each other?
Ayshwarya: We’ve been friends since I moved to Dubai eight years ago. Our husbands have been friends for years, and we met that way. And now, coincidentally, we both have kids that are just six months apart.
Kirsten: Even from before the girls were born, we wanted to do something for ourselves. We’re both from very different backgrounds: Ayshwarya comes from banking, and I worked in hospitality recruitment, and we were at that point when we really wanted to find something that would suit the way our lives had changed.
What’s unique about 6ambabies?
Kirsten: Even buying presents for friends’ children, looking around in Dubai you always see the same things, and it all just clicked from there.
Ayshwarya: Everything’s just pink or powder blue, or very ‘bling’. We just wanted to find clothes for kids that were fun and comfortable above all else. There are other people in the market doing similar things, but our vision was all about more colour, children should be in colours, when else can you wear fun things like that.
Kirsten: We still love pink though! We’re just looking to do something a bit different.
How do you choose the products on the site?
Kirsten: We do select the items from what we like. If we’d say, ‘I wouldn’t dress my child in that’, it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, but we wouldn’t be comfortable selling it – people can find that elsewhere. There’s plenty of slogan tees and cartoon character prints already on the market, we both wanted to do something a bit different. We’re constantly browsing, and certain brands we know and love from our own parts of the world, and friends recommend items – we want the site to be a balance of items we’ve sourced from around the world, whether it’s Rickshaw Design cotton kurtas from India, or bright patterned onesies from Millimetre Sweden.
Ayshwarya: We’re proud of every single one of the items that we sell on the site. We’ve handpicked them all – we liked the quality, the prints, the general feel of something. If even one of us doesn’t like a product, it won’t go on. We don’t believe in charging inflated prices and try as far as possible to keep retail prices similar to how much it sells in the country we source from.
And it’s not just online, either…
Kirsten: We have a kiosk at the weekend market on Dubai Marina Walk – that’s a really great opportunity for us to meet our customers, and to see what people are really connecting with. The website is our core business, but it’s great to be able to have that personal contact with people.
Ayshwarya: We don’t have staff – we make the time and man the stall ourselves, and it’s been a very positive experience. It’s been great to get that feedback, as well as being part of that community of mums. People browse when they’re pregnant, then they come back after the baby and buy a few things, then later when their child gets older, they come back again and stop by for a chat.
Time Out Dubai,