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Mother Essentials

Mother Essentials: The Mamas Behind Milk Teeth

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

If you haven’t heard of the new kidswear label Milk Teeth yet, chances are you’ve seen it. Filled with pint-sized,  graphic-heavy knitwear and bold and baggy bottoms, the mix-and-match line has become an instant hit with many a “cool mom” coast-to-coast. Today we’re getting to know the founders of the label—Rebecca Calavan and Catherine Newell-Hanson—a little bit better. The Los Angeles-based mamas (who have 3 kiddos between them) have a medley of relevant skills they’ve brought to the table—including stints in fashion styling, interior design, photo and video production, e-comm, and marketing. Which might explain why their brand, launched in the early days of the pandemic, is off to such a promising start. Check out their latest obsessions—including their brand-new knits—in their Mother Essentials lists below!

Rebecca Calavan, Mother to Charlie, 3

Tomato Seeds. “We planted tomato seeds as a family and now we’re overrun with them. My toddler ‘harvests’ them and has clearly forgotten they’re healthy based on the amount he’s been consuming. This set is fun since you can grow all the ingredients you need for your own tomato sauce.” Tomato Sauce Seeds, $14, Tac Tile Mountain.

Retrospec Bike. “My husband told me we had no place to store it and I would never ride it, so my dedication to this bike is partly out of spite. It’s classy looking but affordable. I made the mistake of thinking my 3-year-old and I could go riding together, but halfway through he decided he would rather take off his shoes and fill them with dirt, and I had to transport him and his bike back to the car. But that’s what the sturdy rear rack is meant for, right?” Kinney Mixte City Bike, $299.99, Retrospec.

All-In-One Screen Cleaner. “Maybe the lamest thing on this list, but I swear you’ll fall in love with this gadget. I’d like to blame my toddler for the sticky fingerprints on my laptop, but I’ve definitely contributed my fair share.” BoYata Screen Cleaner Kit, $12.49, Amazon.

OK Sea Salt. “I went on vacation (alone!!) to Nova Scotia, so maybe I was so blissed out to be child-free that I fell in love with everything, but they were selling this sea salt at a farmers market, and it’s the best.” OK Sea Salt, $14, Reliquary.

Riverside Tool + Dye Painters Pant. “In this house, we believe tie-dye hides all stains. I live in these, there’s a bunch of colors.” Hand Dyed Painter’s Pants, $148, Riverside Tool + Dye.

Milk Teeth Strawberry Cardigan. “My son Charlie is not the easiest ‘over-the-head’ kind of dresser, so we wear a lot of cardigans. Our new ones for Fall are super-soft and stretchy, and have the toddler seal of approval.” Strawberry Cardigan, $54, Milk Teeth.

Mondo Mondo Ring. “I bought this as a placeholder after my wedding ring went missing, but it’s stuck around. There’s a 14k version if you’re feelin fancy.” Suede Ring in Brass, $250, Mondo Mondo.

Objects for Objects Candle Holder. “I love this brand by designer Leonard Bessemer. I’ll wait to invest in a chair until there’s zero risk of finding it decorated in un-washable marker.” Seymour Candle Holder, $55, Objects for Objects.

Acrylic Keychain. “I lost my keys one time too many, and instead of getting an Airtag, I’ve been punishing myself with this oversized gas station bathroom style gem.” Key Q Oversized Key Chain, $9.95, Amazon.

Bailey Hikawa Ishi Case. “The most practically impractical phone case. She also makes toilet seats if yours needs a glow up.” Ishi Phone Case, $149, Hikawa.

NTS Radio. “The DJs are great and you’ll discover a Prince deep cut you never knew existed and feel instantly cooler than everyone when you strategically time the rolling down of your windows at school pickup.” NTS.live/radio.

Perfect White Tank. “I’m always on the search for something I can buy in multiples.” Artfish Ribbed Tank Top, $19.99, Amazon.

Poog Podcast. “One of my fave podcasts, I’m now an official Poog hag. Also highly recommend both Kate and Jacqueline’s one-woman theater shows.” Poog via iHeart Radio.

StickHers. “My house is full of dudes and StickHers help me remind them of an important universal truth: cement mixers and velociraptors can be non-binary. Our friends in L.A. started this company and we love their mission.” StickerHers, $20, Milk Teeth.

Catherine Newell-Hanson, Mother to Leonora (“Leo”) 5, and Clover, 3

A Fancy Robe. “I have two! I can’t get out of bed without a cozy robe. Since moving to L.A., I’m a big baby who can’t be cold anymore. Really, though, this helps ease the transition downstairs to start breakfast at 6 a.m. And I love stripes in all forms.” TELKA Striped Robe, $205, Net-A-Porter. Dusen Dusen Striped Robe, $138, MoMA Design Store.

Nip & Lip Balm. “Though I’m no longer breastfeeding, I love Balm de Nips as my lip balm. Made by our brilliant pals at Swehl.” Swehl The Nips Duo, $22, BabyList and Swehl.

Canned Matcha. “I have this in the fridge at work. Could I make my own matcha lattes? Probably! Do I want a treat in the afternoon that takes no time to prepare? Yes! I’m weaning myself off of having too much coffee, and this is the boost I need, with less jitters.” Minor Figures Oat Matcha Latte, $35 for 12-Pack, Minor Figures.

Majo Ideas. “I love these thoughtfully-designed art activity packs for kids, designed by moms. We’ve just started this new one, FLORA. They are just the right amount of structured, and just the right amount of loose, for my 5-year-old, and I’ve gotten fully absorbed myself.” MajoIdeas.com.

Numerous Large Totes in Bright Solid Colors. “I’m a schlepper. Aren’t we all? I like having bold, solid color tote bags to throw everything in—laptops, library bags, extra layers, snacks! Somehow the bright monochrome takes a giant bag from feeling sloppy to looking intentional. You can’t not also get the mini-sized one for your kid to carry pebbles, old stickers, and loose raisins in! Then, if you need a really big one, these are great, too. Comically large (insert Succession joke here!).” Bull Denim Oversized Bag, $39, Los Angeles Apparel.

Smiley Necklace. “A very special everyday necklace, made by a friend and fellow mom.” Joie Smile Necklace, $3700, De Cosmi.

Milk Teeth Swirl Sweaters. “New chunky cotton knits from our Fall collection. These are cut like a sweatshirt and are machine-washable, so they are as easy and relaxed as they look. My girls are into matching at the moment and telling people they are twins, even though one of them is clearly older and a foot taller. They think wearing the same sweater is enough to fool people, so these will help them keep up the ruse for the rest of this year.” Swirl Sweater, $54, Milk Teeth.

Voice Memos. “My favorite way to stay in touch with friends and family who are also time-poor due to having small children, or are in a drastically different timezone. It’s the only way I’ve found that helps me feel like I’m communicating consistently, it’s low-stakes and rewarding!”

Solo Dog Walks + Audiobooks. “After a day of total inactivity, our dog seems to urgently need a long walk the second the girls arrive (loudly) home from school. I’ve started taking him for long walks whilst my husband cooks dinner and gets the girls ready for bed. I do the morning school run and then rush to start work, so I love this time to walk and think. It’s meditative, and sometimes I like to listen to an audiobook as I go. Shoutout to the Libby library app and the L.A. Public Library!”

Floating. “I almost cried with relief when I learned that being ‘touched out’ is a real thing. I half-jokingly requested ‘for no-one to touch me’ for Mother’s Day, and I received a gift card to Pause Studio in L.A. I’ve booked in a few flotation sessions—you’re suspended in body-temperature super-salty water in the dark. It took a moment to adjust but then my muscles—and even my over-active inner monologue—actually relaxed. I’m hooked. I had the best night’s sleep I’ve gotten in the past 5 years afterwards.” PauseStudio.com.

For more MOTHER ESSENTIALS, peep our recent features on photographer NICKI SEBASTIAN, Duster co-founder MELISSA MAGSAYSAY, Herman Miller creative director KELSEY KEITH, chef VALERIE GORDON, artist ERIN JANG, Chicago party mom KRISTEN KAZA, Hedley & Bennett founder ELLEN MARIE BENNETT, Mochi Kids founder AMANDA STEWART, chef CRISTINA KISNER, chef CAMILLA MARCUS, artist CAROLINE Z HURLEY, Just Date founder SYLVIE CHARLES, food icon AMANDA HESSER, Prickly Pear founder MONA BAHRAINI, Solace Summer founder MEGAN BRE CAMP, Wonder Valley co-founder ALISON CARROLL, OZMA designer HEIDI BAKER, author TIFFANY ROSE SMITHHEIDI BAKER of OZMA, and PHOEBE SUNG of Cold Picnic.

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