SISSY+MARLEY LOVES WINTER WATER FACTORY

Brooklyn-based.  Organic clothing.  Graphic prints.  Need we say more?

We just love Winter Water Factory and know you will too.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE WINTER WATER FACTORY?

From a very young age, I was always obsessed with prints, patterns and textiles. I got this tiny bright orange sewing machine for Christmas one year, and started sewing clothes for my dolls. I’ve been crafting and making things since kindergarten, and was always really into mass-production, figuring out how to make not just one but 50 of something really efficiently. When a friend of mine and I started sharing a studio with a full screen-printing set-up a few years ago, we set up a small printing table and everything developed from there. The original Winterwasserfabrik was invented in Germany in the early eighties, when my sister and I started bottling up melted snow and tried to sell it to our parents as Winterwasser. They didn’t buy it, but we had a great time running our little factory.

WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED WINTER WATER FACTORY?

I went to Medical School in Germany (I even graduated, but never practiced), then worked for an internet start-up as a medical marketing manager before joining Martha Stewart, where I still work during the week. I’m now the Deputy Design Director for Martha Stewart Crafts, her line of craft products.

WHAT WAS THE BEST BUSINESS ADVICE YOU RECEIVED?

Work with what you have – yes, you should obsess about the details when it matters, but sometimes it’s best to work with what you have, and you’ll be surprised how far you can go with that. I think it’s also really important to work with people that you like and trust, and foster those relationships, with your customers, your suppliers, the people that work for them, the people that work for you. It pays to treat them right!

WHAT'S NEXT FOR WINTER WATER FACTORY? 

We always have a long list of areas we want to expand into, and it’s hard to choose. We just did a limited edition women’s line, which we’ve done in the past, and there will definitely be more of that. We’ve been thinking about Pajamas a lot lately, and more home products, wallpaper, textiles...

We love your collection and are currently obsessed with the high seas hoodie.   Do you have a favorite piece in the collection? 

We love the hoodies! I want to make some for adults so I can wear them. I usually have a favorite print, I think the confetti came out great this fall. For individual pieces, the Hoodies Dress in Winter Forest and the Aurora Dress in Leaves and Berries Navy & orange are definitely high on my list.

WHAT SHOULD OUR READERS/CLIENTS KNOW ABOUT WINTER WATER FACTORY THAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?

I think the designs and how much thought goes into that is what you see right away. We like to think about what kids like and get excited about. But to us it is also so very important how and where our products are made. We go through great lengths to get our fabric milled and printed in the US, and we work with a factory right here in Brooklyn that we love. They don’t do piece work, meaning they get paid by the hour and not by how many pieces they can finish really fast, which makes for happier workers and better quality. It’s down the street from our house so we really know the people who make our stuff. I always bake a cake for them when they finish up a big production run! So when you are buying our products, you are supporting a community, and giving people jobs. We also use certified organic cotton on all of our products.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

In the Sunset Park neighborhood in Brooklyn NY, in a small house with my husband and our 3 cats. We love the neighborhood, so many of the people that live on our street grew up there and their families have been there for generations. It’s a really great, down to earth Brooklyn neighborhood with lots of great characters. And lots of stray cats!

IF WE WERE VISITING YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, WHAT WOULD BE ON YOUR LIST FOR US TO SEE/DO/EAT/SHOP?

Tacos el Bronco is our favorite for authentic Mexican tacos. They run a food truck on 5th Avenue every night, and also have a restaurant on 4th Ave and 45th Street. Melody Lanes is a great bowling alley, but the real treat is going to the bar in there on a weekend night when Pete is behind the bar, you’ll have to meet him to believe it. We just got the “regulars club” card at Toby’s, a pub with great brick oven Pizza on 6th avenue and 21st Street, and there’s my favorite favorite bakery, Laurentino’s on 21st and 5th Ave. They bake everything fresh in the back of the shop, just like my Grandfather used to be set up back in Germany, and the pignoli and chocolate mouse cake are amazing, along with everything else!

WHAT/WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST SOURCE OF INSPIRATION?

Vera Neuman, Orla Kiely, Wiener Werkstaette, Sister Corita, and everyone who does what they believe in and makes beautiful things. People who are not in it just for the big bucks but want to do it right, make things locally and think about the impact their business has on the planet. We work with a freight company that is employee owned, which I find amazing. Anyone who does their part to make their community a better place. I often feel so powerless about all the messed up things going on in the world, but I think the best you can do is shape the world around you and be an example of how things should be done, and change will spread from there. 

5 THINGS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT…

Water, oxygen, food, shelter and other people – I know I am being a smart ass, but when you really think about it, there aren’t that many “things” you couldn’t live without.  For 5 things I wouldn’t like so much to live without, it would be: books, a sketchbook and pencil, chocolate and yarn to knit.

Three Kisses Chelsea, Rachel and Diana

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