Some of Hollywood’s coolest kids — Zuma Rossdale, Violet Affleck, the entire Jolie-Pitt clan, Honor Warren, Kai Schreiber to name a few — have been spotted in Appaman’s hip, playground-ready fashions. Yummy Mummy recent sat with Harald Husum, the founder of the amazingly popular fashion line, and found out his inspiration, what’s next, and what he simply cannot live without!
Tell us about how Appaman started – the journey from idea, to launch, to getting Angelina Jolie’s kids (!) wearing your gear.
We came up with the idea while sitting on a sidewalk cafe in NYC. We saw a cool dad wearing a rock tee with his son. And we joked how fun it would be if the son was wearing that tee instead of the father. I thought the idea sounded fun as a gift idea, did not think childrens fashion collection at the time, and decided to go home and make some samples. I dyed some t-shirts and onesies in our washing machine and created a few screens that I printed at home. I then took these to a few of the better childrens stores in NYC, and it turned out that the buyers liked them! We learned some marketing tricks from the Fashion Institute and six months later we signed up with a PR agency in Los Angeles. They hit bulls-eye after a few months with the Angelina Jolie photos.
Is your little buddy Appaman still kicking around? Tell us about him and how he inspired you.
Oh yes, he’s sitting on a shelf in the office. Appaman was my favorite stuffed animal when I was a kid and when we moved to New York he was still there. So, for me, it was the one thing that I had that reminded me of my own childhood. He brings back memories from growing up in a large family in a small town in Norway.
The Appaman brand is all about ‘street cred’ – how do you strike the balance between “Brooklyn hipster” and kid-appropriate?
I just make stuff that I like myself. Brooklyn hipster can be so many things. Some does not translate and some translates really well. My goal is to make children’s fashion, not just small grown up clothes.
You started Appaman ‘pre-kids’ and now have a houseful of daughters. How have they influenced your designs?
Absolutely. Any parent will tell you that your kids inspire them. Even more so for us, since it’s our jobs also. I think more then anything they inspire me to make the clothes child-friendly. I know the headache of getting a kid dressed in the morning. If they want to wear the clothes, it makes that job much easier. And will make for a happier parent!
What led you to Hong Kong and what are your thoughts on the childrenswear market here?
The childrenswear market in Hong Kong is very high-end. It’s also limited in the sense that there are not many premium brands that is more reasonably priced. It seems to be high end or mass market for the most part. Not much in the middle. We decided to focus in Hong Kong because we saw a growing demand. We also had some very capable local partners.
What’s next for Appaman?
Keep making exciting collections! This will always be the main focus. We are adding more accessories like backpacks and sunglasses. We are also growing into new markets like the Middle East.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you wish you had more time for?
When your daughters grow up, what do you hope they remember?
That I was around and listened to them.
What is your key to balancing a successful career and being a successful parent?
Do one thing at the time. No multi-tasking when hanging with your kids. Check your email after bedtime.
How do you think you’ve changed as a person since becoming a dad?
I’m more tired. No, I guess I am not so much focused on myself anymore…ask my wife!
What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
Every summer we rent this house by this lake and totally reconnect. We all love the time we spend together there. Also, the time we spend at my sisters farm in Norway is very special.
What are 3 items you can’t live without?
My sailboat, my iPhone and …potato chips!
Appaman Hong Kong Boutique, Man Yee Arcade, 67 Queens Road Central, Central, Hong Kong