Fellow boy moms often gripe about the lack of available apparel designs. Brooke Tondeur of Poppy + Penn – a mom of four boys–finally had enough during her last pregnancy with baby Sebastian. “In 2016, I was trying to find him clothing that appealed to my tastes, but only found the same recycled themes and cutesy prints I’d seen in stores during my first pregnancy 10 years earlier. I started looking on Etsy and Pinterest, and found a few things more my style. My mum had her own fashion line in the 80’s and I’d learned to sew as a child, but it wasn’t until my husband pulled my serger out of the garage and said something about it being cheaper to buy fabric I liked and make my own that I decided to make Sebastian a capsule wardrobe that suited my style,” recalled Tondeur. “If he knew then what he knows now, he wouldn’t have opened his mouth,” she joked.
After Sebastian was born, Tondeur, like many of us, was hit with a bout of postpartum depression. “I was expecting it, but I wasn’t expecting the severity. I battled suicidal thoughts daily. Always an avid writer, I found myself unable to write a word, which had always been my passion and a great form of therapy,” she explained. “A friend asked me to sew an outfit for a baby shower gift, and at first, I agreed out of obligation. I had more friends ask, and realized choosing fabrics and patterns gave me a creative outlet. Sitting at my machine was therapeutic. Eventually, I caved to the pressure to open a shop, and Poppy + Penn was born.” With four sons in tow, Tondeur selected a shop name that incorporated her favorite girl name. “I have a thing for alliteration and if my husband had let me, all of our kids would probably have the same first initial,” she laughed. “Poppy was the first girl’s name we ever agreed on, and at the time it was pretty unheard of over here. Penn was one of the names we were thinking about for Sebastian, and as a lifelong writer, I loved the play on words.”
True to its roots, Poppy + Penn still provides parents with an alternative to traditional baby clothes. “Poppy + Penn offers mix and match high-end basics, mostly organic solids. Many of my pieces are designed to be gender neutral and are adjustable for extended wear, and I aim for the highest quality fabrics so that pieces can be handed down or passed along,” said Tondeur. Her favorite piece is the newborn knotted gown. “It’s a self-drafted pattern and was a labor of love. I wished I’d had it for my own kids as newborns,” she exclaimed. The shop’s overalls and rompers are particularly popular with small shoppers. I personally love the modern neutral pieces and everything in Tondeur’s muted rainbow appliqué collection.
A self-described “perfectionist,” Tondeur has a hand in everything sold by the shop. “I believe in quality over quantity. Every garment I sell is handcrafted by me in my home studio and I take the utmost care with each order I create.” And, designing still provides the busy mom with a creative outlet. “I think there is something so magical about the potential of a child. That they have this entire world full of possibilities open to them,” she shared. “I love creating clothing for kids that allows them to be comfortable without sacrificing style.”
Poppy + Penn is (sadly) taking a break, but the shop is still stocking new items in the Hip Kids Market here. Don’t miss the June 8th sale focused on “The Great Outdoors” theme. Plus, join the shop’s VIP Facebook group here to keep up with other upcoming sales.