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Blankets that Celebrate Culture – LaLaMtoto Designs

Blankets that Celebrate Culture – LaLaMtoto Designs

Our culture is worth sharing.

Each and every Mama has a different background and family history. Where we come from makes us who we are and most of us are not in our native home land.

Being a part of a nation of multiple cultures like North America is an opportunity to learn from each other’s culture and especially to celebrate each other’s culture.

That’s what LaLaMtoto Designs is all about. Creator, Gladwell Grillo has paved the way to incorporate the culture of her home land into the homes of families all over the world. She does this through the unique and quality design of blankets. Here is Gladwell to tell us more:

  1. Can you recall the season in which you created LalaMtoto Designs?

I created the company during a season of new motherhood. It had been 13 yrs since being a mother to a new born baby.

The “Aha!” Moment came as I was taking a walk in a local park here in Monroe WA during summer of 2019. I noticed all the beautiful mamas around with their babies. I was just about to have my precious Nala and I was going to be a new mom. I was asking myself how I can incorporate my culture and upbringing into her life as well as my older daughter Makena.

The first thing that popped up was African print fabric plus blankets. It was always so fun cuddling up with my older daughter Makena and I was looking forward to some cuddle times with Nala. Being raised in Kenya Africa, I recalled all the beautiful Leso/Khanga and kitenge fabric that were utilized in daily lives. It was so common that I had not noticed it much when growing up.

I also realized that a lot of the African fabric did not incorporate the Eastern Africa Leso/Khanga fabric as much as what we call kitenge fabric and wanted to introduce the fabric in my blankets. I wanted to also give my customers the autonomy to customize and choose different fabric and blankets for a customized product. It made sense that not everyone’s taste would be the same.

2. What is the significance of introducing the Western world to designs from the Kenyan world?

The Leso/Khanga fabric is unique in itself and it tells a story. The beautiful contrasting colors and repeated motifs within the defined borders are always accompanied with African Proverbs mostly in Swahili Language. Sharing these stories to the world also shares a part of the Kenyan culture with the world.

I consider myself a proud ambassador of my Kenyan heritage through the LaLaMtoto products. Always reconnecting my customers to Kenya through Art expressed through the stories and colors in the kitenge & Leso/Khanga blankets. I know there are numerous awesome folks that would like to reconnect to their African roots and the African Culture and Art expressed through the fabric; especially new mothers and their babies.

The children would grow to know the beauty in African fabric and hopefully incorporate it into future generations.

3. Why ought designs from LaLaMtoto Designs be a part of a baby’s upbringing, (whether they are of African descent or not)?

The blankets range from baby to adults. I cater to carseat (stroller size), Infant, Toddler sizes and Adult throws. This wide array of sizes makes it awesome for every stage in life.The blankets also range from a lighter to a more heavier fleece style for every season of the baby, toddler or adult cozying up to them.

Because cotton is durable, this can be handed down and used by more than one generation and because of its unique style and fabric, it cannot go out of style. This kind of gives your baby an edge. We all want to stand out sometimes, don’t we? The baby gets a unique look and style while staying cozy and comfortable.

  1. What can customers expect from the quality of blankets from LaLaMtoto Designs?

Our Blankets suited for infant and toddlers are made with extra soft fleece/plush material. The colorful fabric encompassing the blanket consists of cotton with kitenge or kanga style, African motif and patterns. The versatile colors create a wide selection of blankets for you to choose from.

Each blanket is handmade with love, hence unique in size and design. No blankets are alike.The blankets themselves are not alike. There are beautiful patterns motifs/ shapes and abstract designs in the blankets. The edges can range from crotchet, bordered to even laced, depending on the design of the blanket as a whole.

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