An Ode to Hanna {Andersson} and the Mom that Created It

hannaEvery so often I clean out the kids closets and pack up the clothes that don't fit. The girls clothes get packed away to be handed down to girl #3 and the boys stuff gets consigned (Cuddle Bugs, I love you, and you guys know I love handmedowns). But recently, I found a handmedown dress that made me stop and pause for a second...

The pink striped dress that Talley is wearing in the pictures above was her sister's dress from when she was a baby and then a toddler. It's a classic Hanna Andersson cotton long sleeved dress, the kind that goes with the matching leggings. Levy wore it when she was a baby as a long dress, then kept wearing it as a shirt with pants till it got put away for her little sister years later, and now Talley finally fits into it. They wear it in the winter with a sweater, in the summer with no leggings, it's pretty much an all season play dress and it is super cute to boot.

I have countless pictures now of these two girls wearing the dress...(side note, phone cameras have come a LONG way since then, here is Levy at preschool with her older brother in 2011)

58441_425707903714_7023574_n...and every time I put it on the baby it makes me happy, like a little family heirloom. From parks to playgrounds, spills and spaghetti dinners, this little stripey dress has been there. I have washed it literally hundreds of times, and it still looks the same, and when Talley outgrows it I will pack it away in storage for girl #3 (name still to be determined, seriously we have no names for this next baby please help).

The funniest part? I remember exactly where I bought this dress. It was just weeks after I moved to Saratoga, and I was pregnant with Levy. My mom and I were driving around exploring the area and we stopped at a garage sale where the woman just happened to have bins and bins full of girls clothes. So before Levy was even born I bought this dress from the friendliest mom who told me "These dresses last forever" as I bought three or four of them with the matching leggings from her. I had never heard of the brand, but the dresses were so cute and I loved finding out this new little nugget of mom-of-girls info from a fellow mom. She told me how her three (THREE) girls had worn these same dresses too, and now they'll be going on their sixth girl, still in great condition.

The company, Hanna Andersson, was founded in Portland, Oregon in 1983 by the Swedish-born Gun Denhart in the garage of her home. She and her husband were expecting their first child and they couldn't find quality children's clothes like Gun was used to in her native Sweden so they decided to make their own.

I decided I had to find out more about Gun, and read how the company, named after her grandmother, has received notable attention over the years due to Gun's advocacy of progressive workplace policies. Her initiatives included family-friendly employment policies in support of work-family balance and the charitable donation of 5% of the company's pre-tax profits to groups working for children's welfare. These efforts, along with her other work, led the Oregon Commission of Women to name her the "Woman of Achievement" for 2013. The company's "HannaHelps" program also garnered attention for awarding yearly grants to schools and non-profit groups serving children throughout the United States. In addition to that, the company Andersson has been recognized five times on the prestigious Working Mother magazine list of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.

It seemed fitting to share my love for Gun and her amazing dresses on International Women's Day as I watch Talley run around the kitchen wearing the stripey dress. I'm going to add her to my list of Women I Want My Daughter to Admire, as I save those dresses for any future little girls, thank you Gun. xoxo