Chanelle Spicer understands how overwhelming it can be to shop for quality baby products and to find items that are organic, ethically made and non-toxic, as well as stylish and beautiful. With a background in product development combined with her passion for design, she set out to create a brand that would offer new parents quality, practical products that they can trust. Tutyi & Sisu offers a beautiful range of 100% cotton swaddles and change mats, alongside bibs, teethers and other tried-and-tested, functional baby accessories. Here, Chanelle talks about the inspiration behind Tutyi & Sisu, the challenges they have faced along the way, and their hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
My work background is buying and product development, and after the birth of my first son, the prospect of going back to work full time and not being available for my family was daunting. Especially in my industry, as a lot of overtime is required and I just couldn’t make that commitment.
So, after some thought, I decided to take the plunge and use my work experience alongside my passion for design and products to start my own small business.
I started with the idea of designing my own swaddles as I had spent so many hours before my son was born scrolling and looking at different brands, and I just felt like a lot of the prints and colours available were all so similar and lacked fun and energy.
I wanted to create a brand that offers trend-based, practical products alongside being organic, ethically made and non-toxic.
The name Tutyi & Sisu was inspired by my late grandmother. She always wanted to start her own business in children’s wear and she was an extremely talented and creative woman. She passed away quite young and she never got to realise her dream, and in creating my business, I wanted to pay homage to her.
Her name was Edith, and Tutyi was her nickname. Sisu is my great aunt and her sister. So began Tutyi & Sisu.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Well, we are still beginning! The concept of the business I initially started in 2019 after the birth of my first son. I wanted to be able to do what I was passionate about and be able to work from home. Then Covid hit, which put a lot of the product development on hold due to factory lockdowns in India.
It took just over a year from concept to development and we finally launched our website in January of 2021.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Watch this space! We are still in the early stages…
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
Being physically present for my children and family has always been my number one priority and working from home and having an online business was the best decision to be able to prioritise them. Having control over my own schedule has been key to the balancing act! I can do what I am passionate about and be there in mum mode for when my children need me. Even though the balancing act some days just falls to pieces! You learn to cope under pressure. And as I write this, I have my 3-week-old in one arm, the oven is on cooking dinner, and my toddler is running wild around the house! #2kidsunder2