Little feet have big shoes to fill

PHOTOS The Pixel Surgeon: Charl van der Merwe WORDS Debbie Loots

With its online shop booming, artisan baby brand Nunabean is growing out of its sweet little hand-stitched leather booties. We spoke to owner and designer Anthea Forlee, also mom of the brand’s namesake, Nuna.

How was Nunabean born?
As a child, I often visited an old age home, and it was there that I fell in love with knitting and sewing. When I had my daughter Nuna three years ago, Judith joined our family as nanny, and I soon realised she loved handcraft as much as me. I decided to share my childhood skills and, when her unemployed sisters followed, the Nunabean sewing workshops started.

Sewing workshops? Aren’t we talking about booties?
Nunabean shoes are supplied as sewing kits to communities around Cape Town and Khayelitsha. We give free Nunabean workshops on how to turn the kits into booties and graduates can work from home.

What makes the shoes special?
They are not just baby shoes, but also cosy little vessels carrying your hopes and dreams for your baby, and you can customise them with an aspirational button badge. Sizes range from newborn to nine months. Most of our fabrics are locally produced, natural and organic. Every pair comes in a shweshwe bag and with a certificate showing the artisan who made them.

What are your plans for the future?
Our dream is to grow Nunabean out of its baby shoes and into booties to cuddle little feet all over the world! Our online shop sells and delivers anywhere in the world, and we’ve recently launched a range of hand-knitted jerseys, baby acorn caps and eco-friendly 100% bamboo baby blankets.

See more of our designs for kids here.