What made you start Coochy Coo?
My maternal hormones were going mad and making me do crazy things! Seriously though, while pregnant, my friend Jovana and I dreamt of a label that would reflect the happiness we felt inside and the pride that mothers and fathers feel. Plus, for a new mum, there’s a buildup of nervous energy that begs for a creative outlet. After having Milo, I wanted an escape from the ‘cutie-bear’ baby clothes you find in any mall. When you have a baby, you want to give him the best, so we decided to create something simple, natural and organic. Plus I couldn’t go back to my old job as a marketing manager – at least not full time – and miss seeing Milo grow, but I still wanted to do something productive, other than being a mum. This is perfect, and I feel much more satisfied and self-fulfilled creating something.
How do you work with your Germany-based partner?
Jovana and I have been friends since kindergarten. It works really well. She’s the designer and I’m the business brain. We brainstorm together in long, night-time sessions. All our products are made using best quality, pre-washed cotton materials and we keep it simple. In Dubai’s shiny world, we felt drawn to simplicity, clean design and simple colours.
It’s amazing what you’ve achieved while being pregnant and having a young child. How have you done it?
I’ve always had a lot of energy and I’ve been described as passionate, which helps, since people really see that you love what you are doing and that you’re convinced. But without Nilusha [Tanja’s maid/nanny and more] I could not have done it. The more difficult part was when Milo was around 12 months old and wanted to be with me all the time. Now he’s at nursery and he loves it, so that helps. You change when you become a mum. Your child is more important than anything, including appreciation from the boss. My business is like having another baby! It’s difficult at times, but I love it, and working for myself gives me time to spend with Milo, which is important. I try to stop work every day at 4pm so we can go to the park or the beach together. That’s my time for him – even if it means I have to work until midnight after he’s gone to bed.
How do you feel about being described as inspirational?
I feel very honoured, and I hope that it gives a lot of women the courage to do something similar, to do something that they love. When I studied in Italy I read a book called Va Dove Ti Porta Il Cuore [Go Where The Heart Takes You]. I really do believe that people are at their best when they do what they love.
What’s family time like for you?
Dubai is very kid-friendly. I love that no one looks at us oddly if we take Milo into a restaurant, and that fathers here spend time with their children. We like to go camping because Milo is now at an age where you don’t need to take too much. It’s a big adventure for him. He gets to look at bugs and be close to nature and we get to realise that we don’t always need the glitz and glamour of Dubai. Milo is also really impressed by Musandam and the dolphins, and in town, his favourite place is the beach opposite Umm Sequim Park.
What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai, and why?
I love Smiling BKK. We sometimes like to get away from the hotel scene and this is a real, individual spot. It has loads of charm and great Thai food. If I want to chat to friends and feel young again, I go there.
And how about Milo’s?
He prefers the XVA Café and Gallery in the Bastakiya quarter. He loves it, and he loves the fact we usually have a ride on the abra if we’re down there. He’s boat crazy.
Coochy Coo products are available online at www.coochycoo.net and at selected outlets across the city including Favourite Things, Dubai Babies, Boom & Mellow and Half Pint in the Organic Food Store. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 055 657 7982