Here at bloom, we are committed to expanding diversity within our brand and our business -- not just during Black History Month, but all year long. So we’re very excited to share the next designer behind our “The Future Series”, a limited-edition collection of coco go 3-in-1 bouncers featuring the designs of Black artists (who are also parents!) and benefiting Embrace Race, which fights systemic racism.
Kel Cadet-Lyons, the founder of the modern accessories brand R-KI-TEKT, is the talent behind the “tranquility” pattern. Find out more about this Atlanta-based mom, and why she believes that ease, calm and yes, tranquility, are key when you’ve got a new baby.
Tell us about you. Why did you become a graphic designer?
Since I was young, I have always been creative. Drawing on my bedroom walls, cutting up clothing, painting shoes...all highly encouraged by my mother. The concept of taking an idea and turning it into a tangible object or graphic design is genuinely thrilling to me.
As a mother, I know how important gear is in those early months of a new parent and baby’s life. I recall having a difficult time finding pieces that were aligned with my design sensibility. Having pieces in your home that are not only enjoyable for your baby, but aesthetically palettable, makes for an overall pleasurable experience. For me, being able to infuse elements of my West Indian culture and African roots means that the spirit and legacy will be further extended. Knowing that my design will be part of that experience is truly heartwarming.
How does being a parent impact your work?
With work and life fusing so tightly last year, finding the time and space for creating was tricky with two children. Typically with design, you can implement a formula to initiate inspiration. However, finding the flow and rhythm is truly an organic process that can happen at any moment. Dividing your attention to honor those moments can become difficult. To make sure that I am giving my children their deserved attention, I choose to tackle the bulk of my projects during their sleeping hours. Although it’s important for me to show my children that you can balance both a creative profession and family, this structure gives me a guilt-free block of time to create and process thoughts and ideas.
As an artist today, it is incredibly important for me to make sure my work is reflective of my culture and experiences. I have become all the more intentional about ensuring that my children can clearly see those references and elements so they can continue to be proud of their heritage. I hope that this is something they carry with them, regardless of the profession they choose to pursue.
Why is diversity in design so important to you? How can we work harder to highlight the work of Black designers and how can we encourage more young Black artists?
Seeing companies operate with intention and inclusion within the design industry is very refreshing. There are cultural nuances and morsels to our story that can be translated more authentically if you go directly to the source versus merely researching design elements and churning them out.
The best way to highlight Black designers is by providing leverage and creative opportunities for designers with varied backgrounds and artistic perspectives, as we are not singular. For many Black creatives, seeing themselves organically reflected, credited, and compensated in the industry not only does wonders for morale, but it normalizes diversity without it seeming performative and thus, temporary.
The Future Project is all about elevating diversity in design, and particularly black designers. Who are some black designers we should know about right now?
What’s most important to you when you’re buying products for your children?
The most important factor when buying products for my children is finding harmony between my preferred aesthetic, safety, and durability.
What do you hope your children understand or remember most about your work?
As my children grow, I hope they are able to gather that despite challenges, social discouragement, or resource constraints that I have been able to produce work that is grounded in the richness of our culture and is truly reflective of my design aesthetic. And most importantly that you can truly create the life you desire if you align yourself and passion with your purpose.
The coco go is made for a multi-tasking parent. What advice would you give to a new parent who’s trying to get it all done?
My key piece of advice for new parents is to build your village, love them hard and ask them for help. Leaning on your support system will be so important as you assume this new role. This will allow you time to refuel and recalibrate as an individual and thus make you a better person for your child(ren).
Tell us about your design for the coco go Future Series. What were you envisioning when you came up with the design concept and how does it signify your vision for the future?
The words that were prominent while I developed this design were "Ease" "Calm" and "Tranquility." The colors are meant to be soothing and promote that sense of calm. When I became a new parent I sought out any items that evoked a sense of calm. When I reflect on moments of supreme calm, I’m instantly transported back to my summers on the beaches of Haiti. The aqua color of the Carribean Sea and its sandy shore are mesmerizing and provide a very tranquil backdrop. My intent was to intertwine that feeling and palette with one of our signature prints inspired by Yoruba tribal markings that are commonly used as identification of a person’s tribe and heritage. For me, the three patterned markings represent the past, present, and future generations and a stroke for each of my children.
What is your own vision for the future for your children, particularly in respect to racial equality?
My hope for my children and others within the Black community across the diaspora, is that there will eventually be a sense of ease to simply be themselves. To exhale from the constant attacks on them physically, emotionally, and psychologically. For them to live boldly and refrain from shrinking in order to conform and even perform in a space that was not created with their wellness in mind. I hope that children, mine included, will grow to carve out spaces and build tables and institutions that honor the richness and diversity of their heritage. And do so unapologetically. I hope that they see and use the opportunities, like the one I have been provided with this Bloom partnership to propel them into lanes they thought weren’t made to run in and excel.
Shop Kel’s “tranquility” coco go 3-in-1 bouncer