* Gabriela Anggono is the founder of Rookie Humans
* Whimsical, photo-worthy crib sheets
* All sheets are super soft and super safe for babies and kids
You document every waking minute of your newborn’s life, hoping to capture those magical moments that you can share with family and add to your child’s memory book. Now, you’ve got even more reasons to snap a pic.
Rookie Humans is a new brand of crib sheets that turn your baby’s bed into a beautiful backdrop for photos — or just for a sweet night of sleep. A little idea that sprouted when founder Gabriela Anggono was taking pictures of her baby in the crib has completely changed the crib sheet category, offering fun, colorful, whimsical prints that make bedtime, photo time as well.
Founder Gabriela Anggono was inspired to bring the concept behind Rookie Humans to life by her own experience as a new mom.
We caught up with Anggono to find out how she started the collection, why she thinks it’s time to have some fun with baby bedtime, and to get her tips for putting those occasionally cranky toddlers to sleep.
What inspired you to start this collection?
I owe the inspiration to my two little ones, Nicolas and Matteo. I’m sure every parent can relate to feeling completely enamored by the sight of their sleeping babies. Those are magical moments, when you look at your baby completely at peace and it just fills your love tank in the most incredible way. For me, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of them as they slept. I have terrible memory and I wanted to make sure I never forgot those little moments. One day as I was taking pictures, I realized that their crib sheets were acting as backdrops and was inspired to re-imagine their sheets this way, bringing whimsical stories to life around them.
Why do you think the sheets have been so popular?
They are unique and unexpected and as such really catch parents’ attention. I think every parent has an emotional connection to those moments in the crib and the idea of surrounding them with tenderness and whimsy resonates, we all want our little ones to be surrounded by magic because we believe in the magic of childhood.
How do you come up with ideas for the designs and illustrations?
I work closely with the artists that design our collections, and we always start with the premise of designing each sheet like a page in a storybook where the baby is a part of the story. The process starts with selecting the right artist, and I go through thousands of portfolios every year. For me, design is always at the service of the baby. I am less concerned about following trends and more concerned about creating something that is special, sweet and tender. Babies grow and as they grow they develop little relationships with the characters that keep them company in bed. I get a lot of messages from parents that hear their little ones talking to the characters on their sheets as they get older so we design for them every time.
Are these sheets safe for babies? Tell me about the materials used, dyes/inks, etc.
Yes, our sheets are lab tested to be CPSC compliant. We use 100% cotton sateen and test our sheets for lead and phthalates as well as for fabric performance such as shrinkage, fading and pilling. We always want to make sure our products are safe and durable.
How do you care for these sheets?
Our sheets are machine washable (with like colors) and can be dried in the dryer. I always recommend putting them on straight from the dryer for a nice, crisp look without wrinkles. Cotton sateen is very soft and durable so they are meant to last from newborn to toddler.
As a mom yourself, what are some tips you’ve learned for putting your kids to bed and helping them stay asleep?
The number one thing I’ve learned, is that every baby is different, there is no magic trick. It takes a while to get to know your little one and figure out what works for them – what swaddle, what bedtime routine, nightlight or no light, twinkling stars projector, musical bedtime plush, lavender drops…I’ve tried them all. Ultimately, surrendering to the fact that we are at their mercy, I often joke that they are the bosses in our house and it is the absolute truth, especially when it comes to sleep.
What do you think of the phrase “momtrepreneur?” Do you consider yourself a momtrepreneur?
I love it, but with a word of caution. I love it because I am proud to be a mom and an entrepreneur. I love that my kids are the reason I am an entrepreneur, because aside from inspiring me with the concept of my product, they gave me the courage I needed to pull this off. My caution comes from looking at my husband and thinking – no one would ever call him a “dadpreneur.” I’m not going to go deep on the issue of gender pay gap but this extends to entrepreneurs as well, with being taken seriously, getting funding. Mompreneur can sound a bit like a hobby or a side hustle when for many of us this is a full-time commitment.
What tips do you have for new moms who might feel like they’re in over their heads?
The most important thing is for them not to feel isolated or alone. We are all struggling. Find your tribe, those true friends that you can S.O.S. via text message and will be completely honest about their struggles as well. I bonded with my dear friend Courtney over who had the most difficult baby, humor really helped us survive the most difficult days. We would text at the end of the day with our battle stories – who got pooped on, who had a neighbor drilling during nap time, who ate sand at the park.
It’s also important to give yourself permission to take time off, even if it is one hour of alone supermarket shopping time. Mothering is a 24/7 job and it can be exhausting. It is okay to need a break.
Can you share a story about a customer reaction or response from friends/fellow moms that’s really encouraged you?
Last week, I got a message from a mom, with a beautiful picture of a newborn sleeping on our sheet. She told me her story about a difficult pregnancy – she was told her little one had a heart problem when she was pregnant. She was told her baby would probably die before birth. Nevertheless, she prepared a loving nest for her little one and wanted me to know that the sheet she picked out was a big part of her envisioning bringing her baby home. Baby was born and had open heart surgery and is now doing great. She sent me the picture the day after she got home from the hospital. Just an absolutely beautiful, beautiful baby. It’s one I won’t soon forget.