INTERVIEWS

Five questions with Julie Kohlhoff from macarons

macarons, sustainable fashion, eco fashion

I remember being introduced to macarons 5 years ago when they first presented their collection at the local children’s fashion fair here in Amsterdam. Julie and Veit, joined by their baby girl and Veit’s mother, were presenting a different, interesting collection that really stood out — with amazing double-knit fabrics they had developed themselves and intriguing, cool designs in beautiful, warm colours. Also on a personal level I was impressed — the energy, pride and enthusiasm was radiating from the macarons family from all angles.
Over the years I have closely followed the journey of Veit and Julie, both professionally and personally. They moved cities, had another baby girl and then recently a baby boy, and they have grown their brand with dedication and perseverance, always staying true to the strict values they set when they started their brand: producing high quality, fair and sustainable fashion.

We’re happy to present 5 questions with Julie below, in which you can read how Julie and Veit, while building their brand and growing their family, have kept radiating that same energy and dedication, and still work and travel together as a family at all times.

macarons, sustainable fashion

1. Julie, please tell us a little bit about yourselves. Where do you live, and who you live with?

The ones of you who already have heard a bit about our brand macarons probably know already that we are a real family brand. So it’s my husband Veit and myself who founded the macarons brand at the end of 2011. By now we live and work with our three little kids aged 6 months, 3 years and 6 years in Stuttgart, Germany. We moved to Stuttgart in autumn 2013 from the region of Düsseldorf where we lived before because we saw the necessity to be closer to our production partners who are all located around the region of Stuttgart. Also we didn’t want to travel by car all the time back and forth with the kids. It took us some time to really connect here to the region and the people, but now we love it here and feel that the decision we made was very good, both for macarons but also for the family. One year ago my brother Anthony joined as well the macarons team as sales manager. We are very happy that he took the decision to leave his job in Berlin in order to come work with us and be with the family. For the kids it is also very enriching to have their beloved uncle living close by, so it is just fantastic for everyone. Besides all that, we are also living across from Veit’s parents. This family structure allows a lot of great bonding for the kids with their grandparents. They are free to go and spend time with them whenever they are there. This set-up is perfect for us. We all have a very respectful and open relationship to each other. It is important to understand the needs of the other person in order to live in a harmonious way together and also to respect everyones freedom.

macarons, sustainable fashion, fabric development

2. Please tell us about macarons and how you came to create your label. How is your work environment set up?

Veit and I used to work in very normal employee situations before founding macarons. I worked in the fashion business for a couple of years and Veit as business consultant before we began to think of how we want to live as a family when our first daughter was born. We wanted to really spend time with our children and find a way in which family and jobs were not separated but rather integrated. Also I had come across so many drawbacks in the textile production worldwide during my job that I didn’t want to be part of that vicious cycle anymore. We wanted to prove that it is possible to have a different thinking as entrepreneurs than that of maximizing profit and that it is possible to produce in a fair and sustainable way. Also it was very important for us to support an almost forgotten textile region here in Germany and to encourage those people to believe in their skills and knowledge on how to make beautiful textiles. We had to find partners here who were also committed to working in respect of the highest level of the GOTS guidelines. (The GOTS combines the organic with all social aspects of textile production.)

macarons studio

We have our atelier and office here in Stuttgart and are now a team of 8 people, a lot of them mothers who work on a part time basis who form the core team of macarons. From there we do everything including design, sampling, prototype testing, sales, graphics&marketing, logistics, parcel send out and many things more. It is a creative hub and sometimes it feels as busy as a bee’s nest. Since we are pioneers in organic textile developments of high quality, luxurious textiles, both in knit and woven’s we go at least once a week especially to our knitters to discuss new textile developments and constantly optimize our fabrics. The fabric development really is a full time job, but we are very dedicated since we believe it is so important to control the whole process and to know exactly what’s inside our garments and how the fabrics are made. We are really proud to be able to answer important questions to our customers and really be there to listen to their needs.

macarons_design_studio

3.  You set such strong key values when you started macarons. Could you tell us more about those: what is important to you when you are designing and producing your collections?

We believe in long lasting quality. We work with all natural certified organic fibers like cotton and wool only. We make clothes that last, that are not bound to a certain short-term trend. All our clothes are very comfortable, allowing movement and freedom to develop. We have a very clean design approach and are known for our special color combinations. We support local production and prefer working with small to mid size family companys just like ourselves.
In today’s ever more complex world, the function of clothing has transformed towards a way to express one’s personality. Our children also strive for a free and individual expression. What we wear reflects at the same time our own view on today’s world. Therefore, the demand for fair and sustainable fashion grows continuously and particularly for our kids.

macarons, eco fashion, sustainable fashion

With macarons, we want to give you the opportunity to make responsible decisions with and for your children and the world they live in. Therefore, we work according to fair and ecological principles, creating individual and unique design.

macarons, eco fashion, sustainable fashion

Our favorites are our overalls for babies and toddlers and also the super comfortable baby pants and for the boys our jacquard T-Shirts and amazing comfortable pants. For girls we love to see them in our dresses but also our amazing pants. We really do cover the full range and can dress all kinds of kids in very cool outfits from Newborn up to the age of 10 years. We also have great items for all climate zones since we really do sell our collections worldwide.
Since we had such a high interest and demand in our super comfortable textiles also for adults, we have also started a small capsule collection for men and women in order to dress the whole family. We feel that especially for the adults there is still a need for cool organic brands with high quality fabrics.
Fabric innovations like our winter IQ-Fabric, crash or waffle knits are unique to macarons. We try to really create one of a kind organic fabrics with the highest quality level.


macarons, eco fashion, sustainable fashion

4. You have three young children and both Veit and you work for your company. How do you juggle parenthood and your careers?

For us parenthood comes first. Our children are used to being with us all the time since they were newborns. We take them to fairs, to appointments and to the office. It works well for a couple of hours since they are used to this surrounding and can play on their own. Our 6-year-old goes to a Waldorf Kindergarden in the mornings. We have lunch together as a family every day – family meals are really important to us.

Once a week we have a close friend of the family who stays with the kids until lunch and we have the grandparents who can help out if there is a meeting where we cannot take the kids. In the afternoons we split — one stays with the older kids, the other one goes back to the office. I have the baby with me all the time.
Of course it happens that we have to catch up on work in the evenings when the kids are in bed. Our life is full and busy, but we are happy to be able to enjoy our kids and pursue our passion for textiles with macarons at the same time.

Julie Kolhoff

5. What do you love most about your jobs?

We are passionate about textiles and their complex development process. We love to be able to create something that we really feel is appreciated by many parents. We love to think about shapes and colors that are specific and outstanding to our brand. It makes us happy every time we see children or adults wearing our clothes and feeling comfortable and great in them. We are so happy to be able to get people involved in our project. Our dream would be to earn that much with our brand that we can give jobs to more and more people here in the Stuttgart region, especially also build up a confectioning facility where we can employ skilled seamstresses. macarons allows us to get to meet incredible people with amazing skills with all our production partners. People who are passionate about their jobs and are happy to share their knowledge with you. We travel a lot, something we all love and meet great people through our job which is amazing. We want to live in a way that the children can learn from us. We integrate them in our life and show them what we like and what is important to us. This can be anything from cooking, growing vegetables in our graden, sewing clothes, good business ethics, being confident and strong, traveling to different countries, growing up with several languages from early age, learning about different cultures and ways of living. To us macarons is not a job, it is a constant way of living and learning.


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Comments (3)

Lisa
July 11, 2016

Oh my gosh love this brand.


Aja Lake
July 11, 2016

Lovely family, beautiful brand. x


Pierre
July 12, 2016

Beautiful


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