Carole Tolila and Anne-Charlotte Le Grand talk to you about our capsule collection
The birth of the collaboration
What made you want to get together for this irresistible collaboration?
Carole: I knew the brand because I made a feature for nursery schools (france5) on children’s glasses and I really liked their designs. Also, this feature left me with a great memory, the set went a bit mad that day… we laughed a lot! In short, a few months later, I’m enjoying Playtime and being on the Ki ET LA stand. I’d had the idea of glasses for kids buzzing around my head for a while. So I slipped my idea into the conversation and Anne-Charlotte called me back!
Anne-Charlotte: The meeting with Carole, sparkling, creative and generous! We always enjoyed spending time with each other putting this project together and ensuring that our little glasses would be a big hit with kids most of all (but also their mums 😉
Why not a pair of sunglasses in the shape of an animal?
Carole : To make kids’ stuff even more irresistible! I thought that babies’ sunglasses made children look rather sad. Too big, ugly colours, unsuitable… in short, I didn’t like anything about them. I wanted more fun, more cuteness. To begin with, I was designing this model in the shape of a cat, but we finally switched to a bear because we could only make one mould.
Anne-Charlotte : Carole was thinking about a little cat’s head to make the glasses nicer for children to wear. For financial and technical reasons, we were thinking about an animal that would be cute and appeal to both boys and girls: it just had to be a bear cub!
Where did you get your inspiration from?
Carole: Nowhere to begin with. I really just had a picture of these glasses in my head. When I really started working on the project for Ki ET LA and we had to move towards the bear cub idea, we created a mood board shared with Anne-Charlotte. And then it became obvious, when we looked at the project… we really wanted a kawaii-style bear cub! We collected loads of images taking us in that direction!
Anne-Charlotte: The feel of a summer evening, the low light on our little bear cubs playing in the sand until sunset. The reflective effects (that you find on our lenses) and soft, delicious colours. Also, a more urban and Parisian feel, cobblestones, reflections in the Seine and a cute baby in front of the Eiffel Tower!
Could you describe this pair of glasses in 3 words?
Carole: Fun. Practical. Durable. Anne-Charlotte: Adorable, Fun and Original!
The Made in France challenge !
Why a Made in France model for this collaboration (a great attraction of this capsule collection)?
Carole: I like to accentuate our savoir faire, so that always seemed to be the best option to me. It’s true that it’s sometimes a bit complicated when it comes to questions of costs. In my collaborations, I always try to manufacture in France, but I also have to adapt to production techniques implemented by the brand. When Anne-Charlotte told me the good news and said that it was OK, we would be able to bring manufacturing back to France…I was sooo happy! But it’s true, I was a bit stressed out afterwards. To manufacture in France, we had to wait another year because you can’t just wave a magic wand. I was worried that a pair of ‘animal’ glasses would appear on the market. We’ve been working on this project for more than two years, so I couldn’t wait to talk about it and show it to people!
Anne-Charlotte: Ki ET LA has been trying to get things manufactured in France for several years. This exclusive collaboration with high added value is the perfect opportunity for us to test our customers’ reaction to this type of Made in France product and to test an inevitably slightly higher price positioning.
What was the most difficult challenge this collaboration had to face?
Carole: For me, it was to design a model that would appeal to both boys and girls. Like having to make a single mould for questions of cost, we had to find the right animal and the right colours that both boys, girls and parents would like! I felt duty-bound to make pink sunglasses because my daughter is mad about the colour (although I assure you that I’ve brought her up surrounded by every colour of the rainbow, but there’s only one colour for her!!). So, I wasn’t going to make another pair in blue! We turned towards beige after multiple tests. We wanted to stay close to our bear cub, but I have to say I’m not that keen on browns. Anyway… I hope you’ll like the colours, children dear!!
Anne-Charlotte: Finding the right French partner to manufacture our product and all the actors who assisted with the project in record time.
Your green credentials
We talk about Made in France and more responsible purchasing, but what is your green approach on an everyday basis?
Carole: For these glasses, I didn’t want the packaging to be thrown away. I suggested the idea of a sand mould for the beach. It was very complicated to develop and to make but the Ki ET LA teams did it!! They’re amazing!
Otherwise, I’ve cut the number of flights I take, I’m eating less meat, using less plastic (I don’t buy cling-film or plastic bags any more and I buy fewer bottles of water). I buy organic produce and I’ve changed to washable cotton pads.
I’ve also given my time to create a festival called “Familywood” to help families who are trying to be more ecological. Project developed with Gaëlle from Eveil et Conseil.
Anne-Charlotte: I haven’t used cotton pads for quite a while (thanks to one of Carole’s stories that convinced me), I’m a compulsive buyer (and seller) of vintage (it no longer holds any secrets for me 🙂 I recycle, of course, I use public transport or cycle when I can and, most importantly, I’m teaching my daughter the little things that she can do to help save the planet.
Your everyday role as a mum
You’re both mothers, so how do you juggle your work and family life on an everyday basis?
Carole: I’m always on the run, thinking non-stop and planning everything ahead. It’s wonderful to be able to work and have children. I look at it as a real opportunity, but I have to say I’m often under pressure. Juggling is the word that best describes it. We’re always in equilibrium. It takes a lot of energy and knowing how to be constantly productive. I’m also lucky that I can rely on my husband (Thomas Isle) to be involved in the upbringing of the children as much as I am.
Anne-Charlotte: A good arrangement! An iCloud diary shared with a really hands-on husband (sharing 100% and even 200% of the chores around the home !!!) and regular long weekends to recharge our batteries and enjoy quality time as a family. We go for the quality of the time we spend together, rather than the quantity, and everyone gets together!!
Your future projects
What are your plans for the future?
Carole: I’ve been filming a mini series on my own about a primary school class, to help parents understand what’s going on this year. I’m trying to get funding for the editing. It’s a great project and I hope I can pull it off!
Anne-Charlotte: A second baby who will arrive next June and extend our family, and lots of little brothers/sisters for this lovely OurSon model.