Teresa Roviras talks to us about her online boutique for children’s toys and accessories
Disclaimer: Lucy D has to confess to a slight obsession with Hedgehog. It all started with a leather football, and then a flower press that was almost identical to one she had as a child. And her wish list doesn’t stop there. She basically would like to live in Hedgehog Land. Visit their sleek and simple website and you’ll see what she means.
Hedgehog is a veritable treasure trove. It’s a toy shop that is more of a lifestyle choice, with goodies that children – and adults (Breton tops and Tunisian hammam towels, anyone?) – will find impossible to resist. Founded in 2011 by creative consultant Teresa Roviras, Hedgehog came about after Teresa realised there was a gap in the market for traditional toys that, whilst modern in design, hark back to the toys and games we, and even our parents, would have played with.
Sourced from across the globe, these toys are mostly handcrafted, iconic and exclusive to Hedgehog. The collection has evolved and grown to include dress-up costumes, retro board games, outdoor toys, party treats, vintage furniture and home accessories.
We caught up with Teresa to find out the inspiration behind the brand.
Why Hedgehog? What was the inspiration?
I just find hedgehogs such endearing creatures, which need nurturing and caring for. They are quirky and sweet and totally loveable.
When my children were born I searched for beautiful, practical, well-made things with a long-lasting appeal. Hedgehog has evolved into a collection of traditional childhood things as a reaction against trends and the over-consumption and throwaway culture of today. Many products are retro and are inspired by toys from my childhood, and my parents’ childhood, by times when children played with toys not on computers.
What are the biggest challenges of combining family and business?
My growing children have been a constant source of inspiration for Hedgehog. Many of the toys are based on Montessori principles of helping children to learn through play and develop artistic skills through crafts. Everything is tried and tested at home, from baking essentials and tool sets to art equipment and crafts kits.
There are plenty of practical things for organising a busy family life, from handwoven Spanish baskets to art aprons and kit bags, and lots of fun games and ideas to occupy children on rainy days. So family life provides non-stop inspiration – the challenge is finding enough time to knuckle down to office work!
Why do you think Hedgehog has been such a success?
Many Hedgehog products are hand-crafted by small family-run businesses in Europe. Toys that children enjoy playing with and parents appreciate. I only include things I like and would feel happy for my children to play with. To keep the collection focused and consistent, I tend towards classic colours – predominantly red, black and natural.
How do you see the business developing?
A strong theme is replica toys of adult things such as cars, tool-sets and games. This has developed into themed pairs of adult and child products such as aprons, baking sets and baskets, available in both large and mini sizes. I would like to push this idea further, increasing the amount of ‘mummy and me’ or ‘daddy and me’ products. I see my brand more and more as a lifestyle brand for children and families as opposed to just a toy shop.
What are your top five favourite products?
The knight’s tunic with wooden shield and sword, handmade in Germany. The woven baskets, handmade in Spain. The fabric dolls, handmade in France. The ride-on retro black car and the baking sets, which come in little drawstring canvas bags.
What are your favourite toys and clothing brands?
For clothes I tend to choose small European brands, in natural fabrics, subtle colours and patterns. For toys, there isn’t a single brand, but I admire small brands that have integrity in their manufacturing and design. These toys are usually made by family businesses in little-known workshops, using traditional methods.
What can’t you get through the day without?
Coffee and Green & Black’s 70% cocoa organic dark chocolate… And showering my children with kisses when I can catch them!
To view the full collection of beautiful toys, games and clothes, visit hedgehogshop.co.uk (they’re seriously hard to resist – don’t say we didn’t warn you!).
And don’t miss our Hedgehog Edit later this week for our Fussy Bird must-haves from the site.