Miami Living Magazine

Michelle Rodriguez

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PEOPLE The idea for Baby Gagoo sprung while Vanessa was pregnant with Kassius. Just as her mother sewed her and her siblings clothing when they were younger, Vanessa wanted to sew clothes for her own little boy. "Ironically, when I was a kid, sometimes I hated that my stuff was handmade, and of course now it comes full circle and it's cool. Now I love it!" she exclaimed. She also realized that the handmade items were much softer than what she was finding in clothing stores. Vanessa continued to sew and make clothes for her friend's children. Her little hobby was so well-received it ended up yielding 8,000 requests between friends and social networking alone (without any publicity, billboards or magazine ads), and so a business was born: Baby Gagoo. Baby Gagoo, found exclusively at, boasts super soft, organic materials and low impact dyes produced by literally a handful of people. The Mom-and-Pop company is comprised of Vanessa, her sister Sherry and "a bunch of incredible women." "It's basically how I grew up, my grandma, aunts, my sister and my godmother —everyone sewed for everyone, like a tribe, so that's how we're doing it right now. We're doing everything ourselves. If it starts to get really big, then obviously we'll have to do a deal with somebody at some point. I would only go big manufacturing if I could stay hands-on," she shared. More of a pastime than work, sewing clothing is Vanessa's idea of a good time, claiming that she and her sister stay up till 3 in the morning sewing stuffed animals for fun. The sweet children's line features two adorable characters. "Kassius invented Fat Kat because he's 10, so he's mad all the time about everything, and Gagoo kind of represents us, our family and we love him. We're working on an animated show so that people can really learn about Do you have a favorite piece? My real, real favorite is the romper. They're different and I made them especially for my son, and then made them for myself. I'm making them for all my girlfriends 'cause they look really cute because they have the little butt flap. They're really stretchy, soft thin cotton. They're so comfortable and you can roll them up. MIAMILIVING 73 who they are," said Vanessa. Baby Gagoo is the character associated with the clothing for ages 0-2-years-old, while Fat Kat is designed for the 2-10 age group. As a single mommy for seven years, Vanessa is sympathetic to the single mother, which is why she wants to make Baby Gagoo affordable. Though Baby Gagoo will be sold in boutique- type-shops, Vanessa assured me that her line won't boast outrageous price tags. In addition to being affordable and environmentally conscious, Baby Gagoo is what Sherry refers to as, "emotionally nutritious." Baby Gagoo is striving to spread a positive message with their motto: It's Ok to Be. "When you're crying, people tell you, Don't cry. When you're pissed off, you're not really allowed to be. It's like, Calm down. Instead, whatever my son's feeling, we give him a place where he's allowed to feel whatever he wants for a few minutes," Vanessa explained. By encouraging her son to experience his emotions and allow him retire to a safe place, like his room, Vanessa feels that this healthy release prevents being him from being "stuffed up with all of it," claiming that when people suppress their emotions they eventually surface in some shape or form. "Whether it's an addiction, rage, violence... Like when you're driving, and accidentally cut someone off and they act like you killed their dog, ya know what I mean? You're like, Dude, I just cut you off, relax! That's not about you accidentally cutting them off, that's some crap from their childhood or their boyfriend pissed them off... We're trying to make soft, amazing clothes, but there's kind of this other little thing too." ML

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