Folks We Love with Shannon Althin of Natti Natti
Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you’ve come to arrive here.
We have had a fun and wonderful journey getting here and really this all started with the birth of our daughter. My husband and I ran and operated an art gallery for about five years until our Emma turned two. She inspired us; she made us laugh like no other, and we wanted to spend more time with her. We made the big decision to close the gallery and pursue other interests that would allow us the freedom to work from home. We began making fun educational games for little ones that could be played on iPhone and iPads. While I was pregnant with Lukas, I got the itch to start sewing. I started creating our own fabric using my husband’s graphic designs and sewing leggings for my daughter. Then, a few months before we would welcome Lukas to the world we started transitioning Emma into a big girl bed. We designed her a one of a kind duvet cover, which made the transition a lot more fun and exciting for her! It wasn’t long after that we starting designing a bedding collection for kids and Natti Natti was born! Natti Natti means “Nighty Night” in Swedish. My Husband is Swedish and we both lived in Stockholm for some time before having kids. Sweden and Scandinavian design is a big inspiration behind our brand.
Who’s in your family? Ages? Names?
My husband Eric and our kids, Emma (almost 6), and Lukas (almost 3). We also have a crazy jack russell terrier dog named Sam.
How did you choose your kids names?
When our daughter was born we both really liked the name Emma. Even though it was a fairly common name, we thought it was beautiful. Her middle name is also very special. She is named after my grandmother Marvel. I love this name. Emma Marvel fits our daughter perfectly. When we started thinking of names for our son we liked Henry, after my husband’s grandfather. We then had trouble thinking of another family name for his middle name, so we said let’s set Henry aside as a middle name and we came up with Luke for his first name. We decided on Lukas in the end and Luke for short. Now we also call him Lukey.
We live in Brooklyn, New York.
Founder/Owner of Natti Natti
What’s on your manifest board?
It’s so funny that you should ask this. I have always wanted to put one together, but i’ve never made it a priority. A few months ago, I finally bought a small bulletin board, painted it white, and hung it up on the wall. I don’t have much up there now, just a few images and inspirational things related to our new collection coming out soon. I hope to add to it someday soon and make it complete. My kids are the main inspiration behind Natti Natti, so I’d like to add photos of them, our family, and interior/architecture design and home decor.
Tell us some of your most loved ways to spend the day with your clan?
We love hanging at home! Finding a fun art project, working with clay, painting, or pretending to be whatever monster/animal the kids decide we should be! I love baking with the kids too, so on the weekends so we will usually make something together like cookies, muffins, or bread. We also love at least one good adventure every weekend. A day trip to a farm, the beach, Prospect Park, the aquarium, or the Museum of Natural History are some of our favorites.
What are some silly/fun things that the kids do or say?
Luke refers to himself as “Me” instead of “I” and it’s pretty darn cute, so it’s hard to correct him. When he’s mischievous, we’ll often say, “You’re a little stinker.” So now he’s started saying “Me a little stinker…” followed by whatever mischievous move he’s pulled. The latest one being, “Me a little stinker stealing mints.” My daughter Emma is super shy around new people and new situations, but when she opens up she is hilarious and is constantly making us all laugh. She likes to break out in her own little version of a little jig dance at random times and it always puts a big smile on my face. 🙂
When you were a teenager what did you dream of? Do things look different?
When I was a teenager I wanted to be an actress. In the last year of high school, I think reality set in a bit and I thought that taking a step behind the camera might be more achievable. So, I went to film school and thank goodness I did because that’s where I met my love. It was the same year I graduated high school that we met. We worked in film/commercials for a few years out of school. It’s funny how things change. Throughout our journey we’ve had fun applying our talents to our many ventures. We are making some little short films for our upcoming collection and it’s been so fun!
What are some things you really believe in?
I believe in following your heart, life’s too short not to, and being kind and honest. I also really believe in surrounding yourself with people that make you happy, things that have meaning, and lots of natural light. 🙂
Where do your passions lie?
Continuing to work on growing our little Brooklyn brand and create products that make a positive impact in people’s homes. Also, making good food, eating good food, good design, going on adventures with my family, and I really love party planning too.
Has your relationship with your other half changed since having kids?
Absolutely. There is so much that changes after having children because they become the first priority in your life. We are constantly trying to remind ourselves to take some time for us, it’s important to nurture that relationship, even though we might end up talking about the kids during dinner date night. 😉 Our bond is by far stronger and I can’t imagine going through life without him by my side raising our children.
What are some of your favorite life lessons you’ve grown to love? (even if learning them at the time was hard)
Things don’t always come out like you planned. I have a hard time with this. I go into everything with such high expectations of myself and then I just end up getting disappointed when I fall short. I am still working on it, but I have come to realize how important realistic goals are. I am doing my best.
What do you wish you could’ve told yourself when you were a teenager?
It will all work out. I do a lot of worrying. My poor brain is always swarming in thoughts and I remember worrying as a kid about how my life would unfold.
What do you find most challenging about being somebody’s parent?
Patience! Oh, the patience. Maybe by the time the kids have gone to college, I will have received my black belt in patience haha. When things are hitting the fan and kids are screaming, I remind myself to take a breath so I am able to stay calm. It really does do wonders, as if I am pushing the reset button.
What do you want your kids to learn about the world?
The world is a big place and although they are small, and a tiny piece to the puzzle, they are special and can play a big role in making a difference.
What are 4 things you can’t live without as a parent?
My morning, late morning, and afternoon cup of coffee hehe. Our yoyo babyzen stroller (hands-down best baby equipment we have bought, it’s traveled the world with us) and support and friendship from other parents. This one seems obvious but also sleep, preferably 8 hours of it! I’m a better mama when I do.