FREDERICTON – For its 10th anniversary, Lulujo, a Fredericton-based brand of baby items, is teaming up with world renowned author Sheree Fitch on a new collection that includes baby board books, dolls and swaddle blankets.
The dolls and characters in the books are inspired by Emily and Jack, the children of founder and CEO Dawn Pottier, who calls them by their nicknames Lulu and Jo. The 11- and 17-year-olds were also the inspiration for the company’s name.
“So Lulu and Jo, the two characters, are now Waldorf-inspired dolls and the stories are written about each of them and their love of their blanket by Sheree Fitch,” Pottier said.
The Nova Scotia-based author, who has worked with partners like UNICEF in the past, is partnering with a private company for the first time.
“I had never done anything that was a product for a company that endorsed their products. I never thought I would. I’ve been asked many times, but it was never a good fit. And this was a perfect fit,” she said.
The partnership started when Lulujo’s brand and product development manager Alicia Tracy suggested creating characters based on Lulu and Jo. And since the company doesn’t have experience writing books, Tracy cold-emailed Fitch, who had never heard of the company before. To Tracy and Pottier’s surprise, Fitch wrote back.
Fitch did her own research and due diligence on Lulujo and after a face-to-face meeting in Tatamagouche, she decided she wanted in.
“They saw that I was very eager…but I did do a lot of thinking and research, and we had lawyers, and it was all very professional,” Fitch said. “The reason I said yes was because – and I include Alicia in that too – they were just very impressive, smart, young women doing things that I thought, in a way, jived with how I’ve lived my professional life.”
In addition, Fitch connected with the fact that they’re Atlantic Canadians, with products that are used worldwide, including by Hollywood celebrities like Kate Hudson.
“I’m a very big endorser of our Atlantic region…I’ve been all over, but to me, my roots are very important. So the fact that they came from here was probably the biggest factor,” Fitch said. “It just made it even better that it’s a Fredericton-based company. That’s where I grew up from 13 on. It just has a very good circle feeling, too, because they grew up with my books, some of them did, that work there.”
Pottier echoed the sentiment.
“There’s just so much love and such a great connection and it just really fit. And I often say Lulujo’s story has been a lot about serendipity. There’s been people that have come in and out at just the right times and helped steer in the direction we needed to go,” she said.
As a mother, it was easy for Fitch to understand children’s attachment to their blankets. But she tried Lulujo’s blankets herself, too.
“I had some road trips, I was doing some speaking engagements, and I took the blankets with me,” she said. “I actually slept with a Lulujo blanket and they might not even know that. I wanted to totally get the feel of them.”
The collection currently includes two 10-inch-long soft dolls with polyester filling that come with their own mini swaddling muslin blankets. Illustration for the books, “Rock a Baby Jo” and “A Lulu Lullaby,” was done by Fredericton physician Brian Mackinnon. The stories focus on each character’s attachment to their blanket, a comforting object with sentimental value that customers often showcase through pictures sent to Pottier.
The books cost $19.99 each and the dolls $59.99 each. There are different prices for packaged sets, including a $39.99 pricing for a blanket and a book.
The collection is available for purchase online, and will be available in stores that carry Lulujo products across Canada next week. An official launch will take place at Fitch’s Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe and Dreamery in River John, N.S., August 24.
“This is really just the start of it…the idea is a collection and what comes next would be, you know, friends of Lulu and Jo. New dolls and new books,” Pottier said.