By Maureen Dempsey, Hybrid Mom
Every mom — whether from the city or suburbs — can relate to this scenario: Bundle everyone up and load the kid(s) into the stroller. Stop to answer the calls for a snack; remove gloves. Stop for a coffee; remove gloves. Stop to pick up and clean the dropped pacifier; remove gloves. Stop to answer the phone buried at the bottom of the diaper bag; remove gloves. An hour later, wonder where one or both of your gloves went. Lose yet another pair this year.
Emily Billington knows this cycle. As a mother to two boys under the age of three, and a resident of Brooklyn, New York, she has spent her fair share of time pushing a stroller and losing mittens, gloves, and other various winter accessories. Always a creative type, she set to work with her sewing machine and an old wool sweater and designed the first Haypenny Handmitten: a warm hug for your hands.
The Handmitten fits over any standard stroller handlebars both single and double bar (or on the stroller safety bar over the seat for mitten-resistant kids), a smart, stylish combination of ribbed alpaca wool, breathable fleece, and durable corduroy.
Billington has used her creative capabilities in one way or another for the last 10 years. She graduated with a degree in French and Studio Art from Georgetown in 2001. Soon after, she landed jobs at several New York magazines, including Shop Etc., Blender, and GQ, as a photo editor. After her eldest son, Henry, was born in 2007, she established her first business venture: painting custom wall murals and framed canvas art. After the birth of her second son, Casper, in 2009, Emily designed several Haypenny Handmittens at the request of friends and other New York moms, during the boys’ naps and post-bedtime.
“I thought of the Handmitten as a fashion accessory, and the color options reflect that,” explains Billington. “Most stroller add-ons are directed at the baby — in pastel colors or with juvenile characters — but I designed something in earthy, unisex colors that a mother (or father!) would love using every day.”
“It was really important to me to offer fair wages for the work,” Billington said. “I feel very fortunate to have found an organization that can offer employment to such skilled artisans for this project.”
Emily has partnered with WAYRA, a fair-trade organization in Peru to source of all of her materials and manufacturing. Every woman who is employed by WAYRA is using her expert skills and helping her family with a livable paycheck.
The Haypenny Handmitten is available this September in three colors for $68 each at haypennydesign.com.