When it comes to gorgeous whimsy, Tutu Du Monde creator and mom Andrea Rembeck is on point.
The German-born, French-trained designer (who eventually emigrated to Australia) wanted to both enchant and inspire girls to use their imaginations. Those inspirations came in the form of lovingly designed tutus—and it was Rembeck's own daughter, Alyna, now 12, who inspired her.
When Alyna was 3 years old, she asked her mother for her own tutu. Rembeck went in search of one "that was not mass-produced, hot pink and polyester," the designer tells Mom.me via email. "I couldn’t find anything made from natural materials, cottons and silks," she continues.
Coming up empty-handed turned out to be her opportunity. And in 2009, Tutu Du Monde was born.
Rembeck talks to Mom.me via email about what has surprised her about her business, the sacrifices she's made to keep family and work life in balance, and what's coming up for Tutu Du Monde.
Has there been anything about creating Tutu Du Monde that surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
The thing that surprises me the most is that even though we’ve got a lot of collections under our belt, I feel we’re only just warming up. There are so many ideas that haven’t found their way into collections. That is really exciting because I feel we have so much more to give and dream.
When did you first feel successful?
I think when we started to be bigger in the U.S. than in Australia (our home).
As a successful female entrepreneur, what are some ways that you want to teach your daughter about "girl power"?
That you have to work hard to make your dreams come true, but that doesn’t mean you have to be "tough like a man." You can achieve just as much or more by being kind and empowering the people you work with. Whenever I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I try to come back to my mantra: It’s gotta be fun and fulfilling. I then refocus and take some things off my plate to enjoy it all again.
What's your advice for moms who are looking to start their own business?
Keep it lean and nimble when you start up, and grow it organically and manageably.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom and business owner to keep everything in balance?
Obviously, the times where I couldn’t attend school events, presentations, sport events and the like because I was too busy or was traveling. However, I feel that the positives outweigh the negatives. I feel like I’ve made up for it by taking my daughter on trips to see the world, an opportunity which she would have never otherwise had. She’s had experiences that have opened up her eyes and mind to different cultures and ways of living. It’s made her adaptable, more independent, adventurous and less fearful of new things.
If you could have lunch with any business person/mogul/entrepreneur/nonprofit founder living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would say Elon Musk, one the biggest innovators in the world. In this world where we find ourselves, one in which politicians stall or even go backwards, he’s making a clean, renewable energy future for our planet, with electric cars and solar cities, so we can leave a cleaner planet for our children.
Does your daughter have a favorite outfit from Tutu Du Monde?
I think now that she’s a little older, she loves the Halloween collections best.
Are there any new initiatives or products on the horizon for Tutu Du Monde?
Yes, we will be launching our first baby collection in August—Tutu Du Monde Bebe—and we have some exciting and unexpected collaborations on the horizon.