We are so proud to introduce expat mumpreneurs Andrea, an American mum-of-two who recently launched Queridos Handmade in Geneva.
Read her story below and visit her Etsy shop to see more of her vintage-inspired kids bedding range. Oh, and did we mention every piece is handmade with love ?
My family and I
I moved to Geneva in September 2001 from New York to be with my now-husband, who is from here. Coming from New York and knowing no one in Geneva was quite a change for me. But definitely starting to work helped the transition to the new environment.
At the beginning I had to pick up French quickly, as most people I met were Swiss andI had to keep up with conversations at dinner parties! My husband and I were married in 2007 and we welcomed our son in 2008. Our daughter was born in 2010.
My business idea
Queridos…handmade was born from a love of decorating and the need to find a hobby that allowed me to be creative, manual and challenge myself.
After searching for bedding for my own children, and not finding much choice except designs that were too ‘babyish’, I decided to start making them myself. I wanted bedding that was sophisficated yet fun for kids, but also had a vintage feel to it. I learned how to sew from my mother and grandmother years back and decided to take it up again.
After realizing how satisfying it was to make something for someone you love, I decided to expand and offer this to others. That’s why I named my line ‘Queridos’, which means beloveds in Portuguese, as each product is made as if it were for my own children. Sometimes I love the designs so much I have a hard time parting with them!
In September 2012, I opened my own Etsy shop and in January 2013 launched my blog on family design. The blog will not only feature my products and what inspires me, but interesting design finds for the whole family from Geneva and abroad. I will also highlight what other bloggers are doing, Etsy finds from other shops (I’m a huge believer in Etsy as a platform to promote handmade and vintage items), and upcoming events.
My greatest challenge has been finding the time to get the shop and blog up and running and to make the products themselves. As this project is only a hobby, I still work and keeping up with a 4.5 and 2.5 year old is full-time job! I sometimes have to remind myself to keep it fun and relaxed.
My favourite spots in Geneva
As a family, our favourite place to eat is definitely Casa Italia in Carouge. It is a simple, family friendly Italian pizzeria which serves really great food, has lots of space for the kids to run around, and great service. We usually go on Friday nights as there is a singer and even a dance floor! It is a great way to unwind and start the weekend.
When it is just my husband and I, we love the restaurants in Carouge, especially Via Roma. As you can tell, we have a preference for Italian food!
A recent find for us as an outing was the Vitam’parc indoor waterpark in neighboring France. The kids absolutely love the warm water pools and it is a great way to keep them busy on cold and rainy weekends.
Kids & childcare
I don’t have much experience yet with schools as my kids are still very young, but I would definitely recommend the crèche system in Geneva. We have found the quality of services wonderful for both our children and would highly recommend all parents to enroll their kids, even part-time. But as always, spaces in crèches are hard to find, therefore, if you are offered one definitely don’t let it go!
We have enrolled my son in the private Catholic school La Salisienne, in Veyrier. The education is in French and we are very happy with our choice. We have found the school to be very attentive to our son’s needs and the atmosphere very warm.
We chose La Salisienne because their ‘jardin d’enfants’ starts at 3 years old and the children continue straight into primary school after that. In Veyrier, it was the only ‘jardin d’enfants’ that can take children 5 days a week and has a great reputation.
I truly believe that parents should explore all options for their children when it comes to education. Whether public or private, each system can offer children different benefits and parents need to remain flexible and open. We are so fortunate in Geneva to have so many options, some more costlier than others, but parents should make their choice based on what is most important to them and the most suitable environment for their children.