Tis the season to be jolly they say, but it could be anything but that, when it comes to shopping for clothes for kids. More often than not, parents find themselves in a fix having to match kids’ clothing with the current season, the kids’ ever-changing moods and taste and of course having to do all these while trying not to overspend. Luckily for mums and dads of fashion conscious kids, Uloolaa ticks all the boxes with their unique and affordable outfits.
Uloolaa is owned and managed by the passionate and driven Portia Ratnayake. Finding herself in a dilemma post-childbirth when she had to choose between work and her children, she soon realized that this was situation most mothers were confronted with. About the same time while shopping for clothes for her children, it became apparent to her that it was nearly impossible to find breathable, comfortable and durable clothing that could be worn indoors and outdoors alike – which weren’t catered to in the local market.
A psychologist having worked in the corporate sector for years, Portia married her love for sewing with her professional experience in building digital platforms (first anything.lk and then pickme) she felt that she could create an Etsy-like platform for our local mothers while providing a flexible job opportunity for creative mothers who were unable to go to work.
While she manages most of the operations at Uloolaa, she is backed by an ever passionate team, more fondly known as the Uloolaa circle which consists of moms who are just like her, and who join in for production. They are a group of seven individuals who have been carefully hand-picked and trained personally by her, specifically to produce Uloolaa products and are offered the luxury of flexible work options.
Coming from a family that exposed her to her basics in design, she draws inspiration from her mother, husband and designers all across the globe, but specifically from the Colourful African culture and fashion sense. Portia single-handedly does the designing, pattern making, sampling and fabric selection. From the designing to the delivering of the end product, team Uloolaa follows numerous steps to ensure the perfect quality of the clothing they manufacture.
With initial plans to only sell clothes online, the high demand of her products since the inception of the label in February this year saw to the collaboration between Uloolaa and the concept store “Urban Island” where Uloolaa clothing is now hosted.
Uloolaa specializes in cotton and linen based casual clothing and fabric accessories for kids and they cater to children between the ages of 9 months all the way to 9 year olds. Their products take on a relatively different approach to kids’ clothing, as they come in dark unusual colours and interesting prints generally not found in kids’ clothing locally.
The label does not take on customised orders but instead works on designing bi-monthly, targeting a quarterly release of a collection. They have exciting plans for the Christmas season, for which their collection features a few designs each for boys and girls. A few of the designs are Christmas renditions of previously popular outfits while the other designs are brand new. Colours available include Tree Brown, Wine Red, Olive Green and Yale Blue, Snow-white and Yellow, all of which come mixed with the Christmas colours Red and Green or Christmas patterns. In keeping with the brand’s identity of manufacturing comfortable casual clothing, their latest collection almost entirely consists of linen pieces linen apart from one top done in textured high-quality cotton.
Portia finds that while items such as the vintage style romper she designed for 9-18 month-olds have been moving fast and eventually sold out, all parents love Uloolaa for their simple and comfortable designs. She firmly believes Uloolaa items echo with international trends which are also simple, breathable designs in interesting prints and colour combinations.
What sets Uloolaa apart is that they strive to promote sustainable fashion. As the boss lady puts it, a lot of brands including conglomerates, are making “greener” moves in their business practices. Thus she finds that as the market she caters to is one which is increasingly sensitive towards responsible buying and sustainable living, her products also need to reflect this. As a result, Uloolaa doesn’t use any plastic or non-biodegradable material and even avoids using polythene and plastics in storing and packing. They also minimize the use of unwanted tags and labels that will only be thrown away, opting instead for one small label that gives all the information needed. She adds that these little steps are loved by and matter a lot to her customers. Uloolaa is also a Good Market Approved brand which speaks for their eco-friendly and ethical business practices.
It is also impressive and noteworthy that they encourage their buyers to return their Uloolaa clothes once they grow out of it so that they may donate them to the less fortunate children or upcycle the material if the clothes are not in suitable condition for donating. They can simply post it back to the Uloolaa team with the added benefit of availing themselves to discounts in return for their responsible act.
For a label that offers unique clothing for kids at the highest quality, prices at Uloolaa are reasonable. They assure buyers of value for their money spent. The accessories range from about LKR 100-500/= while the clothes from about LKR 900-3,000/=.
Parents looking to purchase Uloolaa outfits for their kids or anyone looking for interesting gift options for kids this Christmas season can shop Online www.uloolaa.com , at Urban Island, Colombo 7 and the BellyBees Store at One Galle Face Mall. Check them out on their Instagram handle @Uloolaa.
By Shanya Cooray