leggybuddy® is a Swiss children's lifestyle brand founded by fashion and graphic designer Suzana Pezo Sommerfeld.
Brand leggybuddy stands for combining contemporary design with craftsmanship and traditional handcraft techniques.
Leggybuddy started as a brand of lovely handmade dolls and is continuously expanding the collection to other baby and children products; from home accessories to fashion.
Each leggybuddy product is designed with utmost care to be fun for the child and serve as a stylish contemporary home decoration for the grownup. They are equally loved by children and adults for their charm, timeless design and impeccable craftsmanship.
Leggybuddy products are selling at children concept stores and luxury department stores.
In a blink, they create a very emotional connection to our childhood: our former favorite toys. These timeless symbols of our childhood are the heart of Suzana Pezo Sommerfeld's brand LEGGYBUDDY® in Zurich. LEGGYBUDDY stands for handmade toys and home accessories, all designed by the graphic and fashion designer. The product collection emerged from Suzana's desire to offer an alternative to cheap toys and mass-produced goods. Each LEGGYBUDDY product is a unique handcrafted character, equally popular with children and adults for its charm, timeless design and impeccable craftsmanship. What began with a self-crocheted frog in rainbow colors for her son, has now turned into a fine sustainable and sought-after children brand. LEGGYBUDDIES are lovingly crafted by true craftswomen in fair establishments, made of the highest quality natural materials - if possible, in organic quality. LEGGYBUDDY has been awarded the Butterfly by "Positive Luxury - Brands to Trust". An accreditation awarded to companies that are particularly attentive and committed to sustainability (www.positiveluxury.com/brand/leggybuddy).
The LEGGYBUDDIES are sold worldwide via own online shop (www.leggybuddy.com) and can be found in selected and design-oriented children's shops, concept stores and luxury department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman in New York or Maison Gassman in Zurich. Exclusive models have also been available in the shops of the Swiss Heimatwerk for several years. Suzana is also developing high-quality, elegant children's clothing and will present it in New York for the first time in February.
ABOUT SUZANA PEZO SOMMERFELD
Suzana Pezo Sommerfeld, 38, a member of the Swiss Design Association, holds master’s degrees in textile technology, fashion design and graphics and then spent several years as art director in the fashion and advertising industry for companies in Germany and Croatia. Today, she is the managing director of her own multidisciplinary design agency, Designeers GmbH, which specializes in premium and luxury brands.
In addition, she founded the sustainable high-end children's brand LEGGYBUDDY. In 2018, she also completed the Executive MBA program at HEC in Paris specializing in the luxury industry. She is the mother of a seven-year-old son and lives with her family in the city of Zurich.
Q & A with Suzana Pezo Sommerfeld, Founder, Owner & Creative Director of LEGGYBUDDY
What does LEGGYBUDDY stand for?
Suzana Pezo Sommerfeld: The brand LEGGYBUDDY was founded in Zurich in 2014 with a small collection of hand-crafted animal characters with extra-long legs. The name "leggybuddy" stands for "long-legged buddy". Our products are elegant and modern, but they always have a twist, something funny, something that touches the heart. For example, our popular "frog king" is more fun than sweet with his huge eyes, the crooked smile and the very long limbs. At the same time, we stand for timeless design, classic cuts, for the love of traditional crafts and the preference for natural materials.
What were your main motives to found LEGGYBUDDY?
I've always wanted to create my own brand one day and am constantly on the lookout for something new, for things that are different, that surprise and inspire me. It just makes me happy when I discover a beautiful, perfectly crafted object. I also want to offer this type of product and make it fun for other people.
What is the story of LEGGYBUDDY?
My mother is gifted in a variety of textile crafting techniques. She knits, crochets, sews, embroiders. I was excited about it as a child and wanted to learn everything from her. She also taught me a lot. Reluctantly, because she wanted me to focus on my education. Many years later - after completing my studies - I discovered small crocheted things in a design shop in Munich, which immediately inspired me.
You began to crochet yourself again?
Exactly, just out of hobby and curiosity. And from my first attempt, a gray long-legged mouse emerged that immediately conquered a few hearts. As a mother, I was finally looking for quality products for my baby and have discovered some trends in the children's segment. Among other things, the trend towards special, sustainable and mostly handcrafted products made of natural materials. Often with a sense of nostalgia. Things which are not produced just for commercial reasons, but into which went more consideration, love and creativity. Just like my "Leggybuddies”
How did "LEGGYBUDDY" continue?
I quickly became active on social media with my first drafts. When a popular Australian child interior blogger, Kate Sparks of Little Dwellings, released our frog on one of her posts, we were immediately overrun with orders from Australia, New Zealand, and from other far corners of the world. Although LEGGYBUDDY was still in its infancy at that time, the clientele was very international right from the start. After "Little Dwellings" I worked with a whole bunch of other bloggers. Thanks to a US journalist, LEGGYBUDDY even made an appearance on American breakfast television.
LEGGYBUDDY was even available from Bergdorf Goodman in New York and Colette in Paris?
A trend scouting agency from Paris recommended LEGGYBUDDY to the buyers of Bergdorf Goodman. So the long-legged friends have landed in the iconic department store on Fifth Avenue. And yes, LEGGYBUDDY was also available in the famous concept store Colette in Paris, but also in other trend shops for children. All over Europe and even in Iceland and Singapore.
At LEGGYBUDDY it is still about quality over quantity ...
After several intense years, I had come to a point where I had to think about how to take the business to a higher level. In 2017, I started an Executive MBA at HEC in Paris specializing in the luxury industry. During this time LEGGYBUDDY was a bit calmer. My little boy is now in school and I am confident that I can start right now with more insight, experience and new plans.
Where and how are the products produced?
The production takes a lot of time and talent, because everything is hand-crocheted, hand-knitted and handmade. I found a professional and very fair partner in a Polish company. We have been working together for five years and the products are getting more beautiful with each delivery. By now, the products are so perfect that you would think they were made by machine.
How important to you - especially as a textile engineer - is sustainability?
When it comes to children's toys, health and safety come first. The products must comply with the relevant guidelines. Then it is very important to me that I use natural materials as much as possible. The main materials are cotton yarn and natural wood for the rattles and Music Boxes. Our rubber baby toy and teether "Prince Froggy" is made of natural rubber (from Hevea trees) and painted with food colors. For the hand-knitted accessories we use baby alpaca yarn, which I import directly from Peru from a manufacturer with a long tradition. Baby alpaca is one of the most exclusive fibers in the world, it is particularly soft and hypoallergenic and therefore perfect for babies and children.
And what are your thoughts on sustainability?
I look at this topic from a pragmatic perspective. We should strive to develop better and more sustainable products, and thus reduce over-consumption in general. As a consumer, you should treat yourself to things that you really love and that are long-lasting.
What about the packaging materials?
I avoid plastic and rely on recyclable and degradable materials. Specifically, our products are first packed in a thin cotton bag and then in a gift box made of cardboard. The fine cotton bag serves as a protective cover, as well as a wash bag. Because all our toys are washable by hand in the washing machine.
What are the next plans for LEGGYBUDDY?
We will be attending the very international "Maison & Objet" show in Paris next January 2020 for the first time and in February, we will introduce our first children's clothing collection at the "Children's Club" fashion fair in New York. I'm really looking forward to that.
Where are the LEGGYBUDDY products available?
We deliver worldwide LEGGYBUDDY through our online store www.leggybuddy.com and we work with retailers worldwide.
In Zurich our toys can be found in the beautiful children department at Maison Gassmann for several years already. We are also having a pleasant collaboration with the Swiss Design Market. This cooperation took us to Seoul, South Korea, as part of the "Zurich Meets Seoul" Week. Then there is the luxury store for children in downtown Vienna, the "Bambini Fashion" or "Milk & Honey" in New York, where LEGGYBUDDY is also available.