We sat down with our first featured artist, the CEO herself, Hila Klein to talk art, inspiration, and life in general. Here is what she had to say:
Q: Being the CEO of Teddy Fresh, a co-host on the H3 podcast, and a full-time mom to Theodore, seems like quite a lot to juggle - how have you been managing to keep up with all 3 these days?
I don’t sleep? Still trying to figure it all out. But really learning how to be as focused as you can with your time has been key to making all these things possible.
Q: What drove you to come up with the idea for Teddy Fresh? How did it all start?
I felt at the time a lack of fun clothes that I would want to wear. I was looking for colorful stuff, and when I’d look at kids clothing everything looked so epic from colors to the details, there is something naive about it that you sometimes will also see in vintage pieces or in super high end brands like Gucci, but I wanted to bring those fun vibes for adults and at a consumer price that is approachable for everyday people.
“It feels like we are going through bootcamp right now. Feels like if you can make it through this you can make it through anything”
Q: Obviously being a CEO in any industry has its fair share of challenges— Are there any that stick out to you? And how were you able to overcome them?
I was surprised by how much of it is about the people, paying attention to everyone’s feelings, emotions, morale at the office, being considerate, polite, non judgemental. These are all things that I find to be the most important to run a company, it’s about the people first, everything else comes second.
Q: Stay at home orders have been hard for most, but some positives have come from it. Have you found any silver lining in the face of a global pandemic for TF?
It feels like we are going through bootcamp right now. Feels like if you can make it through this you can make it through anything kinda vibe. We try to keep people at our office to a bare minimum of only people that have to be there and it’s been more challenging in a lot of ways but it’s also been forcing us to be ten times more focused which will be an extremely valuable discipline once the pandemic is over.
Q: Your work is so well known for its distinctive look - care to share your creative process?
Part of my creative process is being inspired by colors, starting with a couple and then feeling it out, what’s going to look good next to it as I go. I also like to insert whatever culture I’m consuming into my creative process so sometimes it can be some quote from a show or movie or song in a way that is taken out of context and adding something more abstract to it.
Q: Being a renowned artist yourself, what kind of art has inspired you lately?
I’ve recently discovered Summer Wheat and her art is really inspiring to me!
“From denim to overalls to swimsuits to some spicy collabs, and we’re adding a female department! A lot of juicy projects in 2021!”
Q: Can you describe your personal style?
I’d say it’s fun, primitive, naive, colorful?
Q: Do you ever find yourself trying to express you through Teddy Fresh?
I love expressing myself through Teddy Fresh and yes I do it all the time! I’ve always filled many sketchbooks and those are really hard to share. Sketchbooks aren’t really designed to be shared, there’s a lot of continuous art from one page to another and you need to just hold the sketchbook in your hands and flip through to experience it which is pretty much limited to just my close friends. With Teddy Fresh I’m able to take concepts and drawings out of my sketchbook and bring it to life on our clothing and share it with so many people. It’s been an amazing experience for me being able to include it as part of our Teddy Fresh story.
Q: It seems the creativity never stops at TF—Do you think you could share any fun upcoming projects or collaborations you’ve been working on?
I can’t share too much but we are exploring a bigger range of items which has been super fun and challenging. From denim to overalls to swimsuits to some spicy collabs, and we’re adding a female department! A lot of juicy projects in 2021!!