In the heart of San Francisco, Bridget Kelly’s studio bookshelf is lined with childhood classics from Through the Looking Glass to The Giving Tree, and, of course, Dr. Suess. As the designer for Elegant Baby, she finds inspiration in these books and the real world around her. “My family and the little ones in my life inspire me of course,” says Kelly. With a niece and close friends with children running in and out of her studio, Kelly says, “I feel like I have a hundred kids!” All those kids give her the ideas for the beautiful products you can find at Elegant Baby, but how does it all happen?
“The most important thing about designing products in fashion is color,” says Kelly, “That’s the first step I take in the creative process – is to decide what colors to use. Once Kelly has developed what she calls a “color story,” she begins to experiment and play with different textures, patterns and fabrics based on the season.
Once the perfect look and feel has been created, Kelly begins to sketch out the characters. She typically draws ten or fifteen different characters and she and her assistant decide on, “the one that is just so cute that we love it.” And that love only grows larger as they add the characters to different products. “That brings the whole character to life,” says Kelly.
After everyone falls in love with the new line, it’s time to work on the nitty-gritty details. The exact fabrics and measurements, or as Kelly puts it, “the real nuts and bolts,” are finalized. And voila! After months of hard work, you’ve got a new Elegant Baby line!
But to Kelly, it’s more than just a step-by-step process. It’s a true art form to create cherished baby gifts. She treasures the timeless, heirloom quality of her creations. “You make the head a little too big, or you make the feet a little too big, or the ears a little too long… You don’t let them get too polished because when things are too polished, they don’t look like they’ve been made by hand… and these actually are going to be made by hand,” says Kelly, “It has to feel like it was made by hands. It has to feel homemade. There has to be some element of it that has the loving hands of home.”
Read more about our timeless products and the chance encounter that inspired Kelly’s raccoon line in our next post!