Norwalker launches baby apparel line from the heart
By Rita Papazian
As with scores of people who lost their corporate jobs when the economy took a downturn, Jennifer Covello took the turn of events as an opportunity to pursue an idea she had been walking around with for a long time. The former IT and marketing communication specialist seized the opportunity to produce a line of baby products she is now selling through her company, Frittabello.
In addition to creating the first product, a baby journal, which she unveiled earlier this year, last month Covello introduced her "From the Heart" line of organic baby layettes. Available in a variety of colors and sizes, the clothing line of onesies, bibs and hats is custom embroidered with Frittabello's signature intertwined hearts. Made in the United States, customers can purchase the items separately or packaged in a recycled cotton mini-tote bag or as a gift set.
"I decided to expand the line because it was part of my original vision for Frittabello. I also have a children's story being illustrated as we speak, so you can see that there's a lot of ideas I'm moving forward with," she told the Norwalk Citizen.
Covello said it did not take long to choose the fabric for the clothing line, because she knew she wanted it to be 100
percent organic and made in the USA. The challenge, she said, was to find the onesies in colors that complemented the Frittabello branding/color scheme.
"I knew what design I wanted, the three intertwined hearts from the My Life baby journal, before I even began to investigate the fabrics," she explained.
"I think what makes the clothing unique are the colors, the custom embroidery and that they are made in the United States. Also the placement of the hearts is on the back of the onesie -- which is a bit different. I did this for two reasons: to avoid the embroidery irritating baby's sensitive skin, and secondly, it's easily visible when the baby is being held or learning to crawl."
Covello has also expanded her product line to include custom note cards with color coordinated envelopes produced in green, blue and pink. The note card sets consist of six cards and envelopes and are packaged in a color coordinated organza bag.
Covello has also created a baby shower gift set that includes the clothing and stationery products, the My Life baby journal and a customized photo memory box packaged in an organza bag.
"All you need to do is fill out the gift card and go," Covello said.
Reflecting upon her new career path, Covello said that most of her career in the corporate field had evolved around some aspect of writing, for she began her career 25 years ago when computers were just being introduced to the marketplace. Much of her work dealt with writing the user manuals; therefore, the transition to creating the My Life baby journal was an easy one.
Covello, the mother of two children, Christopher, 12, and Kaitlyn, 8, acknowledges there are many baby journal books on the market, but explained why her My Life baby journal is different. Whereas, most baby journals focus on the date and time when something happens, her My Life baby journal's focus is on feelings and emotions parents recall during special moments in the baby's first five years of development, from before birth through kindergarten.
The focus is on the "stories of the child's life as opposed to the demographics," said Covello. She said the journal offers prompts, not questions. They are messages from her to the parents that offer examples from her own experiences as a parent. The purpose is to "evoke a feeling and a memory. Even if you forget the date and time, you will remember where you were and what you felt."
For example in her My Life baby journal, in order to prompt parents to recall the first week home with the baby, Covello's text reads:
"The first days home are both exhilarating and exhausting.
Seemingly very intelligent people are driven to asking the most inane questions over and over. Why is she crying? Why won't she sleep? What is that coming out of her mouth? What is that smell?
"How did you and your baby spend your first week together? Was it filled with sleepless nights, unending visitors, non-stop feedings, and maybe a phone call to the doctor?
"Hopefully you found some time to bond with and get to know your baby. Did you examine every inch of [the baby's] body? You probably instantly recognized when any change happened. You have memorized [the baby's] smell.
"What special moments occurred this week? Chances are you snuck in to see your child sleeping soundly and just sat and watched. You probably etched in your mind the feeling you experienced when holding [the baby] close and having [the] little body mold into yours.
"Revel in this marvel that has completely changed the energy in your home, and record this week's events of your baby's journey."
Covello selected the 7 ½" x 10" spiral bound journal design so that it could be convenient for a parent to record feelings and memories. The journal won the Living Now Bronze medal award in the Keepsake/Gift category from Jenkins Publishing.
In addition to the joy in running her own company, Covello likes the idea of working from home. "I love it. I love the flexibility and the fact that I am my own boss. I love having something that is my own"¦it motivates me even more to be successful."
An added bonus, is that that she is now home when her children come home from school and they do not have to go to after-school programs. "I can do more with my kids," she said.
On her Web site, Covello notes that many people ask the origins of her company's name, Frittabello. The name was inspired by her son Christopher, who, when he was learning to say his name, could not pronounce it correctly.
So instead of saying, "Christopher," he called himself "Fritta," and Covello became "Bello."
Covello believes it is important for her children to be able to look back upon their childhoods and see not only the "whats" and "whens" but also to remember and possibly understand some of the "whys."
"Having all of this information would help them know themselves better and perhaps clarify their purpose"¦.We all have a purpose and it is so important to help your child manifest his or hers."
All of Covello's products are available at www.frittabello.com
The Journals are also available at the following retail shops: Splurge, Greenwich; Toy Chest, New Canaan, Wilton and Ridgefield; the Whitney Shop, New Canaan; Krik-It, Wilton and the Rainbow Shop, Darien.( 800) 891-5912.