As Canadian treasure Joni Mitchell would say, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Except in my case, it goes something like “you don’t know all the cool people living near you and you don’t realize the impact of affordable daycare till you move away.”
But those lyrics wouldn’t fit in a Big Yellow Taxi. (There’s a reason I write blog posts and not songs …)
You see, my blog was in its infancy when we lived in Quebec. I was just starting to get decently paid gigs and make connections with awesome brands wanting to collaborate with me.
When we moved to Calgary, things really took off. A lot of my new professional relationships were with businesses in Quebec. And it was a crazy time for me because I was newly a mom of two, living in a new province—one without subsidized daycare—trying to make it as a small-business owner.
This little digression has a point that is twofold:
- It’s really hard to launch a business without affordable childcare. I doubt I would be where I am today with my blog had I not had access to affordable daycare in its infancy (and the infancy of my first child).
- Quebec’s system of affordable childcare is the reason why (in my humble opinion) Quebec is full of innovative female entrepreneurs with whom I’ve made connections over the years. Unfortunately, most of those connections, like the one I’m about to share, were made after I moved to Calgary’s paved paradise (shooo bop bop bop bop).
Jacinthe Plamondon is the soon-to-be mother of four (welcome to the club!) and founder of the children’s clothing and accessory brand PEAKBWA.
Let’s start with that name. I love it.
You may need it explained. Pronounce it just how it looks: peak like the top of a mountain and bwa like a toddler saying bra but who can’t make an R sound, so it comes out as a W.
The way it sounds when you pronounce it is the same sound as the French word piquebois, which is a woodpecker, and of course you’ve got the word “peak” in there as in the top of a mountain. Are you catching the natural, outdoorsy vibe yet?
The clothes and accessories Jacinthe designs are the antithesis of fast fashion.
I know that you can buy kids’ pants and shirts at a variety of chain stores for $5 a piece, but I think even the most committed bargain hunters among us (that includes me) know deep down that the cost of those garments runs much deeper.
How much do you have to pay someone working in what kind of conditions to sew a pair of leggings that retails for $5 and has travelled halfway across the world to take up space in a huge store in a giant mall with many employees? What happens to that pair of leggings when they rip? I think we all know the answers, even if we don’t want to know.
Because I cannot afford to clothe my children entirely in the best of Canada’s slow fashion industry, I content myself with a lot of thrifting and hand-me-downs plus some staple sustainable pieces.
If you are going to spend a lot of money on a piece for your child’s wardrobe, it needs to be durable, well made and ideally, something that will last through multiple growth spurts, serve multiple purposes and then continue its journey with multiple children.
Have you heard of planned obsolescence? That’s the design theory by which consumer items are designed to break down or become obsolete quickly so that consumers have to replace them. (Like fast fashion!) PEAKBWA is the exact opposite of planned obsolescence, which I shall call planned longevity.
And if you think about it, it’s kind of a crazy business model if your goal is purely capitalistic. Because if your products take a few seasons to be outgrown and last a long time, going from sibling to sibling to cousin to neighbour, people aren’t constantly buying from you to replace their worn out or too-small items. But if we delve a bit deeper, maybe there’s also a genius marketing strategy in the making of long-lasting (in terms of child growth and durability of the garment) apparel: customer loyalty and word of mouth. If your customers know how long your products last and that they’ll easily be used for many children, they’ll be very willing to invest in your products and rave about them to their friends.
It’s easy to spend $5 on a kids’ T-shirt or pants not knowing if they’ll wear out quickly or even if they’ll fit for very long … after all, it’s just $5. But to spend over $50 on a piece of children’s apparel, folks naturally view the piece as an investment, expecting quality, longevity and also, ethics. The money you spend on PEAKBWA products not only means long-lasting clothing for your kids but it also means supporting ethical business practices and the Canadian textile industry.
PEAKBWA’s planned longevity business model is one I feel is extremely important to support. And luckily, the garments themselves are absolutely wonderful … so supporting them is easy!
PEAKBWA Apparel & Accessories
So many articles of clothing have been outgrown since we first received our size 6 months–2 years PEAKBWA hoodies. The boys were almost 1.5 years old at the time and the sweaters fit great and looked adorable. They were wearing size 12 months and size 18 months “regular” clothing at the time, and now they wear size 24 months and 2T, and their PEAKBWA hoodies still fit! The hoods are now a bit tight but let me assure you that this does not discourage them from wanting to wear them.
We recently received the next size up (2–5 years size), featuring PEAKBWA’s new insect-inspired print, Brigade, and a bit of a redesign. Jacinthe added a belly pocket to the tummy and created a looser fit with a rounded hem that is longer at the bum. Still-the-same stretch cuffs allow the sweater to grow!
The twins are loyal to their original PEAKBWA hoodies, apparently, as my attempts to get them to model the next size up were met with flat out refusals. The good news is that my daughter, who is 5 and wears size 5 and 6 normally, was very eager to try it on! She is at the upper end of the size range but can (and likely will) still wear the hoodie for another year at least.
We received our first pair of PEAKBWA grow-with-me pants at the same time as our first hoodies. The pants come in two sizes: 6 months–3 years and 3–5 years.
That may seem like a crazy range for one pair of pants, considering how much kids grow in the first five years of life, but I can assure you, it is no lie!
When the twins first started wearing them, they wore 12 months and 18 months size pants, and now they wear 24 months and 2T pants, and their PEAKBWA pants still fit and will clearly continue to fit until they’re well past 3 years old. They are so comfy but still look a little bit more “put together” than ordinary sweats thanks to the gorgeous heather gray fabric.
The denim patches at the knees improve the durability for crazy crawling and climbing kids. The stretchy, foldable waistband matches the hoodie prints, but with a shirt on top the print isn’t visible so the pants match everything.
My daughter is in the all-too-common phase of a skinny waist and long legs, when the correct waist-size of pants (size 5 or 6) is the incorrect leg length (too short!)—but she fits well in the size 3–5 years pants. In fact, they’re longer than her size 6 leggings from Carters!
Like all my kids and like me, my daughter does not care for fabric that doesn’t move with her body or has buttons at the waist, so she absolutely appreciates the comfort of her PEAKBWA pants. And while she will easily fit them another year, I know they can then go on to the twins while their original PEAKBWA pants go to their cousin in Vancouver!
Although the size we own is “child,” and my own head is honestly not especially small, this beanie fits me perfectly, and I look adorable in it. But it ALSO fits the twins, and their big sister, and their big brother (who has the same head circumference as me.)
Being reversible, you get two looks for the price of one. Being so stretchy, you get a hat that everyone in the family can wear and/or fight over.
Is it a neck warmer? Is it a headband? It’s both! We have the “child & adult” size, and guess what? It fits all the children and adults in our house!
I have not tried out PEAKBWA’s latest creation because I do not have a baby anymore. When I first spoke to Jacinthe on the phone about collaborating with her, she was just about to launch this product, and she explained it with such sheer delight that I couldn’t wait to see it.
My brother’s baby will be receiving one of these adorable, multipurpose sets, and I’m confident it will be a success. I think it makes an excellent baby shower gift!
Like PEAKBWA’s other grow-with-me garments, the pants and shirt can be adjusted at the cuffs. Both the top and bottoms feature fold over cuffs to keep little hands and feet warm (and prevent little razor-sharp nails from attacking fragile faces). The matching beanie can also be adjusted by folding the brim. The set is designed to fit from birth to 6 months, but smaller babies will easily get even more use out of it, just like my twins have been rocking their hoodies and pants well past the suggested age 2.
If all these comfortable clothes are making you jealous, I have great news: PEAKBWA has a hoodie for adults!
It’s so comfy. I love that the cuffs are the same “grow with me” style as the kids’ hoodie … not because I anticipate my arms growing but because my wrists get cold if the cuffs aren’t nice and snug on my sweaters, okay?! The adult hoodie is cut to be longer in the back to keep your bum warm.
Other PEAKBWA products we love:
This product is in collaboration with another awesome, women-led Quebec company: Öko Creations. In fact, it is thanks to Öko—which distributes PEAKBWA products if there are any interested retailers in the house— that I came to connect with PEAKBWA.
This towel is the only towel you need for your child, from birth to at least age 5. It is super absorbent thanks to Öko’s hemp-organic cotton blend terry (it easily dries off an adult male too lazy to get his own towel), and the hood can be sized down by tying it smaller thanks to their ingenious little ribbons.
Older kids can get themselves nice and cozy using the hand pockets on each corner. My kids used theirs after swimming lessons last summer, in the before times, when swimming lessons were a thing.
It’s just cute and soft and great for drooling, messy babies.
My twins have outgrown 24 months onesies, but I still like to use them in the winter to keep their tummies warm. The PEAKBWA onesie extender just snaps onto our Carter’s-brand onesies to create more space between their legs and allow them to still easily wear their once-too-short onesies.
This is just another example of how PEAKBWA products add longevity to a child’s wardrobe! PEAKBWA makes onesies too, and of course you can use the extenders to increase the longevity of them as well.
PEAKBWA makes my favourite reusable mask. Using the same super soft fabrics, their masks come in child and adult sizes, and while both actually fit my face, I prefer the adult size.
As much as masks feel terrible, the PEAKBWA mask at least feels not as terrible on my face: it’s soft and snuggly and reminds me of snuffling my favourite blankey to my face as a small child (and as a young adult … I had that blankey for a long time!).
Why Am I Team PEAKBWA?
Why am I
Give me a P!
For perfectly pass-downable clothing!
Give me an E!
For ethical and environmentally sound business practices!
Give me an A!
For astounding longevity and durability!
Give me a K!
For kid-friendly design!
Give me a B!
For blissfully soft fabrics!
Give me a W!
For whimsical prints!
Give me an A!
For actually reading this entire chant!
What does it spell?
Shop & Connect with PEAKBWA:
Until Dec. 31, 2020, save 15% on all PEAKBWA products using code MamanLoup15