We fell in love with the world of Tulipop the first time we saw your children’s range. Tell our readers a bit about the inspiration behind the brand and the wonderful characters that inhabit the magical world of Tulipop.

We started Tulipop because we really wanted to create a children’s lifestyle range that would offer kids something a bit different from the norm. Our goal was to create a beautiful, fun and creative brand, which would bend gender stereotypes in a subtle way and enlighten your day.

As moms we believe children’s products should really appeal to both the kids and the parents. We therefore created the Tulipop range, which is magical in the eyes of children, while parents appreciate the brand’s aesthetics and quality.

Signý, Tulipop’s head designer and the illustrator who created this magical world and super-cute characters adds: “In creating the Tulipop world and characters, I’ve more than anything been inspired by people around me, my kids, family and friends. Additionally, coming from Iceland, I’m inspired by the extravagant natural elements, colours, space, volcanoes, and mystical folk stories.”

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Out of the five main Tulipop characters, which is your favourite, or is it impossible to choose? Is there a character that stands out as the most popular with your customers, and if so, why do you think that is? (As you know, my personal favourite is Fred!)

The fact that everyone – both kids and adults – is really quick to pick a favourite Tulipop character is one of the really great things about the world, says Helga. I love seeing my kids having an absolute favourite character at each time. At the moment my 4 year old daughter only wants to eat her morning cereal from her Maddy bowl, while by 2 year old boy doesn’t accept anything else than his Bubble plate.

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“I have to say that my favourite is Gloomy”, says Signý, “and that’s because I totally relate to her”. “She is the bravest and most adventurous of them all and a bit like I was when I was a kid. While creating Gloomy I felt like doing a powerful, fearless, fun and quirky female character, but in my opinion there is a serious lack of strong female characters in children’s media today.”

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It must be pretty awesome to work with your best friend in such a successful business. What‘s a typical working day-in-the-life for you guys?

Yes, we are very lucky! It’s the best job I’ve ever had, says Signý. We’ve now been running Tulipop together for around 5 years and it has gone incredibly well. We have managed to keep our good friendship and at the same time see the Tulipop team grow with some great people joining us at our Reykjavik office, making it an even more fun place to work.

Our day starts with the classic morning routine at home, the family having breakfast together and then everyone running of to school, kindergarten and work. We arrive at the office around 9 am ready to start the day. There really is no typical working day at Tulipop. Each day is different from the next as our company is expanding, so we’re always seeing new projects and challenges, ranging from product development to marketing. In the last few weeks there has been a lot of focus on the new items we are launching in spring, a new lamp, puzzles, backpacks and more, which we are really excited about. We usually leave the office around 5 pm but then work often continues from home after the kids have gone to bed – especially when there is a big deadline approaching.

Are you finding that you‘re splitting your time between your home in Iceland and the UK? How do the two lifestyles compare from a family‘s point of view?

So far we have managed to run the business primarily from Iceland. Of course we do some occasional travelling to London, either for trade shows or specific meetings, but it has all been very manageable. We are also lucky to have a great Head of Sales which manages all our UK trade shows and recently a UK based Sales Agent joined our team which really strengthens our service to UK stockists.

Share with us your ultimate favourite family recipe.

In Iceland everybody eats a lot of fish. A very common and popular everyday meal is pan fried cod, loved by the entire family. Here is a recipe:

For the Fish:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 6 -ounce cod or other white-fleshed fish fillets
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cracker meal, crushed salt crackers or breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp of fresh dill
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
  • A knob of butter

For the Tartar:

  • 200ml Mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
  • 3 tbsp gherkins, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Slat and black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and serve or keep chilled until needed.

Prepare the fish: Whisk the egg and milk in a medium bowl; add the cod and set aside to soak. Mix the flour, cracker meal, dill, lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper, salt and pepper to taste on a plate.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the fish from the milk mixture and dredge in the flour mixture, turning to coat. Fry in the hot oil until golden, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain; season with salt and pepper. Serve with steamed new potatoes, lemon wedges and the tartar sauce.

Your products cover a wide range of categories, from tableware to stationery – would you ever launch a children‘s clothing range?

We would love to do a children’s clothing range at some point in the future and we’ve actually often been asked that question by little Tulipop fans that would love a Tulipop t-shirt or a dress. However, we are currently focusing on our giftware range and there will probably be a few years until we will go into the apparel business.

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Tell us a bit about the work Tulipop do for UNICEF, and why this charity is important to you?

When we started Tulipop we both agreed that we would like to find ways to support good causes through the company. It’s necessary to give when you can and it feels good too. The first product that Tulipop designed, manufactured and sold was actually a charity product – cute little Easter eggs, sold in support of UNICEF in Iceland. We chose UNICEF because their vision is to build a world where every child can grow up healthy, protected from harm and educated. Following the Easter egg project we created the Mosi coin box, which is also sold in support of UNICEF in Iceland. Mosi has luckily been a big hit and generated some funds for the charities good work.

Besides Tulipop, what‘s the one baby product you couldn‘t have lived without?

One of the most amazing and valuable parenting products ever designed is without a doubt the dummy. It is a great product that has been a lifesaver so many times, both for us and parents around the world. It is a brilliant design with great functionality.

You were shortlisted for the 2014 Junior Design Awards for a number of categories. What‘s in the pipeline for Tulipop in 2015?

We’re really excited about the new 2015 collection that we just started showcasing at UK trade shows. We agree that it is the best so far.

We a new backpack collection which included three types of super colourful backpacks featuring our Gloomy, Fred and Miss Maddy characters, in addition to matching pencil cases and drawstring bags. Also, we have really beautiful custom shaped glossy puzzles and a great new decorative lamp featuring our super-cute Bubble character.

How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?

(SK) I’m a rebel.

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