Hanna and Anne-Louise, Habbi Habbi
Raising kids that are happy, healthy, humble? That is what the founders of Habbi Habbi, Hanna and Anne-Louise, seek to answer with their new venture. Habbi Habbi is a collection of products and a compilation of insights for the modern parent. Through both their Pop-Up Shop coming Fall 2018 and Instagram feed, they seek to be a resource in helping parents build meaningful, intentional home cultures. I was really excited to chat with them about their efforts in disrupting retail in the toy space and building a movement around intentional, holistic parenting.
Retail Atelier: What is your vision for Habbi Habbi?
Hanna: The ultimate goal is really to nurture kids that are happy, healthy, humble. And we want to help parents do that - through the inspiration, tips, tools, products we provide, both in store and on the web. And as mothers, it starts with our kids. We want to be the best moms we can be and be thoughtful and intentional about how we build our homes.
Anne-Louise: We believe today’s parent looks at development more ‘holistically’; they’re interested not only in building skills and strength in their kids but also character and compassion. They don’t seek ‘achievement’ as much as they seek ‘meaning.’ So, we want to modernize the parenting space to serve the modern parent.
Retail Atelier: You could have been a media company or an influencer platform, how did you decide to experiment with a retail concept?
Hanna: We’re both former business consultants and have deep experience in consumer products and retail. We are also avid travellers and have worked globally in countries like China, Korea, Australia - where the retail landscape is energizing. We have always said, “Retail isn’t dying; retail as a point of distribution is dated, but retail as an experience is in huge demand.” There has been innovation in other categories like beauty and apparel but not yet in the kids & parenting space. So we seek to re-invent the experience there.
Retail Atelier: Reinventing retail for children and their parents sounds huge; what does that look like?
Anne-Louise: We are focusing 150% on experience. In fact every time we step back and reflect on our endless to-do list, we always go back to: Are we providing an amazing experience? We are testing this with a Pop-Up Concept at Stanford Shopping Center, opening this fall (Launch Party is afternoon of October 6 and open to the public!)
Retail Atelier: That sounds like so much fun for kids and their parents! Tell us more about what the in-store experience is going to offer?
Hanna: We imagined the space as a “great room” because that’s the room in the house that’s for adult and kids. And we wanted to marry elements of discovery (like a museum), play (playroom), and comfort (home). All the design - whether experience, decor, or product - is meant to be engaging.
Anne-Louise: There’ll be an indoor swing, floor-to-ceiling chalkboards, custom art, origami installations, and other interactive exercises and design elements that we’re really excited about. There will also be kids programming such as arts and crafts. And of course, all the toys, materials, and products we feature in store - will be out of box and available for play.
Retail Atelier: What is your business model? Are you planning to charge for admission? I know there are other pay-to-play businesses in the Bay Area that are popular like Playhaven and Recess.
Hanna: We are not charging for admission and want everyone to be able to access it. Our model is an experiential showroom, where we showcase brands we think are amazing. For them, it’s a strategic marketing expense - where they’re able to tell their stories more effectively than an online campaign. You can’t replace being able to touch, feel, discover, and explore.
Anne-Louise: We researched over 2000+ brands and have spots for only about 20. The brands and products we chose are those that embody the values we stand for and are ones that we would love to have in our own homes.
Retail Atelier: Can you share which brands will be in store? Or values you’re promoting?
Anne-Louise: Our values range across skill and character areas - everything from STEM and reading to empathy, grit, self-reliance, and self care. The brands we’ve selected are also safe and high quality and items that we’d put in our own homes. It’s a pretty global range too; some include Lunii - a fabulous French storyteller where kids can choose characters, settings, and listen to lovely stories, Sigikid - eco-friendly, high qualify soft toys from Germany, Kid Made Modern - that produce beautiful arts and crafts kits, Pai Technology - family-friendly educational tech toys, and more.
Retail Atelier: Really fun concept! How are these toys different from the ones that we would have seen at the now bankrupt Toys R Us?
Hanna: I think it’s 3 things: (1) Experience - having an incredible experience that has people interested in coming back - starting with the most basic feature which is having toys out of box (2) Selection of products - we look not only at toys but anything that fits our values (experience, material, book, etc). And we love uncovering new finds - whether small upstart brands or global favorites; (3) Thinking about parenting holistically - play is not different from learning.
Retail Atelier: So, how has the experience of this whole venture been so far?
Anne-Louise: It takes a village! We are so lucky to have each other and a ton of people who believe in us. Many incredible talented people are working with us for nominal fees because they’re passionate about the idea - from our designers to our friends who have volunteered to intern. We are so appreciative, and it’s incredibly energizing and motivating to see others so excited.
Retail Atelier: And after the pop-up? What next?
Anne-Louise: We want to expand locations. We’ve already had different retail centers and landlords independently reach out and express interest.
Hanna: In its greatest form, we envision it could be even bigger than just the ‘great room.’ It could include other spaces to make a whole ‘house’ and feature categories such as apparel, baby, and anything that makes up the ‘inspired, intentional lifestyle’ of the modern parent.