Not only are Family Nation a beautifully stylish online e-boutique, stocking the latest in functional fashion. They have a wonderful team and a great philosophy behind them. A fantastic combination for any business. The thing that strikes me the most from the time I’ve spent chatting with the team is that this is a company with a really warm family vibe. They certainly tick all my boxes from a mummy-consumer point of view.
Formed in 2011, the company is owned by husband and wife team Emilia and Aidan Cox. A global reference point for contemporary parenting, and a place where parent’s can chose innovative designs plus hand picked ethically sourced products with ease. Emilia and Aidan have a background of working with none other than the United Nations and between them have travelled to over 60 countries. Who better than to present to us an exciting collection capturing elements of culture from all over the world.
Based in Florence this exuberant couple had a vision of delivering a high quality and eco-friendly service with an e boutique that showcases designs from a plethora of companies, such as Frugi, Seraphine, Hatley, Aden & Anais to name just a few. The collection includes maternity fashion, children’s clothing, nursery decor, toys and gifts and delivers worldwide in less than 7 days. I know, it’s incredible right?
I was lucky enough to interview the inspiring duo; Emilia and Aidan to find out more about them, their family and their working lives:
1. What inspired you to start Family Nation?
Becoming parents opened new rooms in our lives both concretely and figuratively! We met many other new parents whom shared similar needs, excitement and anxieties. At the time we were living in Bangkok where we were posted with the United Nations and our friends came from very diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Each family brought in ideas on how to manage the delicate phase of dealing with a new baby, unmissable products to buy, tried and tested solutions that worked in their culture. This was a great source of inspiration for us. We had exposure to brands, ideas, products from all over the world and we thought it would be useful and interesting for other parents as well to have a selection of best quality babies and maternity clothing and goods and is also beautiful and well designed. As we grew the idea we found that it was important for us to be responsible parents, wanting to make sure our kids inherit a better world, so we also look for brands that are as much as possible eco-friendly.
2. What makes Family Nation unique and sets you apart from other brands?
I think what makes us unique (and I hope it transpires from all we do) are our values and the passion with which we run every aspect of the business. We love choosing our brands carefully and we can detail all the benefits of each product we sell, but equally love talking to our customers, helping them to choose the best item for them. We also work with small and independent brands that are trying to do the right thing by being responsible and we enjoy and we are proud of helping them get better known in countries where they would not be otherwise known.
3. What has been Family Nation’s biggest achievement so far?
One of the achievements we are most proud of is becoming a reference point for quality online baby shopping in Italy, where we are based. We think that for a busy new parent online shopping is a great tool to choose the best for their children from the convenience of their homes, without losing precious time. However, online shopping is in its infancy in Italy and many people don’t trust or don’t like shopping online. We are trying to break down the prejudices by offering the same service as in a trusted boutique plus a great range of products that are otherwise hard to find. We are also very proud of how we are growing a small but dynamic international team of colleagues who care as much as we do for the values we stand for.
4. You have access to all these lovely clothes, do your own children voice an opinion on what they’d like to wear? What’s their style?
I love this question! It’s the first time I’ve been asked! We actually do choose some of the clothing with the kids now. We go through catalogues together and it’s fun. We specialise in 0-2 clothing range and our kids are now older, but they still give an ‘insiders’ opinion! As style goes: Flavia loves animals and is sporty, so she wears a trusted combo of ‘animal’ print top + leggings. Tancredi likes anything with a funky image on it (robots, dinosaurs or superheroes). They love PJs with fun prints and all their PJs come from our range. They also give good feedback on whether the clothing we choose is really confortable and durable. Flavia especially is very sensitive to how a garment fits, whether seams or labels are itchy, the fabric soft enough so her feedback on these aspects is important for us as we want to make sure we carry good quality clothing for sensitive baby skin.
5. How do you juggle your busy work/family life?
With a mixture of the traditional Italian solution (e.g. grandma helping out) and a foreign au pair who lives with us. It’s not always easy even with the help, as now with older kids (Flavia is 8 and Tancredi is 5) they have more after school activities to juggle, so we often give up on our own activities! We found that having an au pair really helps with maintaining Flavia’s and Tancredi’s English skills and exposure to different cultures in an otherwise primarily Italian environment now that we moved to Florence. It’s worth giving up the spare room.
6. What’s it like working with your husband/wife?
Another good question! I think Aidan and I make a good team: we trust each other, we enjoy working together and it’s fun too. It’s not a new thing though as we have been working in close proximity also for the United Nations in Afghanistan and in Bangkok, so we have had a chance to hone our skills at this before taking the plunge. It’s important (and hard) to be able to stop talking about work when at home with the kids and to keep some space for the two of us as a couple.
7. What’s the story behind the name Family Nation?
We wanted a name that reflected our personal story of working across countries in international development, that was broad enough to include all kind of families, that was optimistic yet responsible, and a little tongue in cheek. And after many years with the United Nations we liked the ring of it!
8. How do you select the lines you carry?
We are an independent, family run shop so we select carefully. Our brands are handpicked for their good quality and safety, beautiful design and where possible eco-friendly credentials. Although in some cases, to tell the truth we just fall in love with a brand! We want families that shop with us to love and cherish the items they buy from us and pass the recommendation on to their friends. We’ve done a lot of initial research when we had kids ourselves and when our friends had kids. We stay updated by following blogs, going to fairs and reading product reviews. We continue testing ourselves or with friends many of the product we sell.
9. What’s your favourite product?
OMG, I cannot say. It’s too hard. What I can say is that I am partial to all things that help mothers get through the initial stages after birth, tackle breastfeeding and help them feel assured and confident as new mothers; be it clothing that help you breastfeeding discreetly and make you look good, carriers, breastfeeding essentials etc. It’s a magical time for a mother but also a scary one and new mothers deserve all the support we can give them!
10. What’s the best part of running Family Nation?
Seeing our idea become a reality and getting positive feedback from clients. It took a lot of effort to get Family Nation going and a lot of courage to leave 2 jobs at the UN to start something completely different, but I can say it’s a great feeling to see it take off. Talking to clients and getting their positive feedback is also a great boost for us. We’ve always wanted to do something that was meaningful and useful to others; be it in development or for new parents!
Thank you so much for talking to me today! Now onto the collection..
You’ll be thrilled to hear that Family Nation are having a sale at the moment and here are a few picks of my favourites, it was hard to narrow it down because I love everything and would happily dress Rose in it all. Here’s a little taster of what’s on offer:
Top left: Isn’t this Hatley Winter Pram suit adorable? I love the moose pattern, so cute!
Top Right: A beautiful cardigan, by Serendipity Organics. I can only imagine how soft this is as it’s made from Alpaca wool. This is probably my favourite piece and I can just imagine little Rose snuggling up to me wearing it!
Bottom left: I adore stripes and this Frugi cardigan is the perfect addition to any little girl’s wardrobe. Brilliant for brightening up an outfit.
Bottom right: Another one for the girls here is this beautiful Frugi dress (can you tell I’m loving Frugi!) Perfect for a party or even dress it down with a cardigan and boots for everyday wear.
Top left: A super t shirt for older boys from Katvig. I adore the sunny, bright pattern and the fact it’s organic, I’d bet it’s super soft.
Top right: Indikidual Rocco t-shirt One for your mischievous little monsters who would really enjoy wearing this fun and quirky print.
Bottom left: We seem to have a bit of a collection of wellies going on in the Treasure house, I adore these Hatley wellies as I love horses and horse patterns. I also really like the functionality of the handles to encourage self-dressing.
Bottom right: I had to finish off with an accessory. This bag is by Coq-en-pate and is just brilliant little addition to any outfit-perfect for boys or girls to carry around their treasures.
I do hope you’ve enjoyed my top picks from the sale as well as the introduction to Family Nation and it’s owners Emilia and Aidan. It has been my absolute pleasure to get to know them a little better and to be able to genuinely recommend to you this super company.
Customers who sign up to the exclusive e-newsletter on the website will also receive a 5 euro discount code!
*This post was a collaboration with Family Nation