Busy moms create performance apparel for kids
Kristen Thompson/for Metro Vancouver
It was two busy Vancouver moms who realized that high-functional performance apparel shouldn’t just be for athletes. Children could benefit just as much from the superior quality of high-tech fabrics.
“Anyone who thinks kids don’t sweat is crazy,” said Penny Seto, one of the founders of Milk Factory, a line of durable, quick-dry clothes for babies and kids.
In the spring of 2004, Seto and her friend Tomi Eng were two new moms on maternity leave. They would often go on walks along the Vancouver seawall with their children, and would return home with wet, cranky babies.
They figured something more could be done to keep their children dry and comfortable, and came up with an idea for more functional, kid-friendly active-wear.
“I said, ‘Well, I can do this!’ ” said Seto, 34. “From there it evolved to non-stop brainstorming to see how we could make this a viable product.”
The duo got together and first created an enormously successful waterproof, juice-proof, spit-up proof, nylon-lined fleece blanket.
In no time they had expanded, and were designing clothes for newborns to five year olds.
Seto, who worked as an operations manager for a high-end clothing company, quit her job in July 2004, and, along with Eng, launched Milk Factory that September.
“We were just two moms who knew what we liked and didn’t like,” she said. “We wanted it to be functional and fashionable … It’s a market that hasn’t been tapped into yet.
“There isn’t this kind of product available for kids at this age.”
Milk Factory’s clothes, blankets and accessories are made from high-performance fabrics, dry quickly, are virtually wrinkle-resistant, machine washable, stain-repellent, and, according to Seto, “seem to last forever.”
“The durable, performance fabrics are designed with athletes in mind, to perform under extreme conditions. And kids are extreme,” Seto said.
“You get a lot of really helpful information from people in the industry. A lot of people are really willing to share and help people become successful. That’s one of the things we pride ourselves on as a business. We think there’s room for everybody to see their dreams fulfilled too.”
Eng recently decided to spend more time focusing on her growing family, so as of this month, Seto is going at it alone.
She says the change might be scary, but there are good things to come for Milk Factory in the coming year.
Her line can be bought at various stores around Vancouver and online at www.milkfactory.com.