Suzy Adair – the force of creativity driving Lulu Funk – used to be an Air Traffic Controller. You’d think that organising planes and designing beautiful, organic kids underwear might be world’s apart, but Suzy is quick to point out that both are full of art. She describes her previous role as a long game of three-dimensional chess – where she was constantly required to manipulate objects, in order to make them visually pleasing (and ultimately safe!). It’s a trend that has continued well into her new role: as a self taught designer on a mission to create underwear that’s good for the world, and perfect for young bums all over NZ.
Lulu Funk had small beginnings – specifically in Suzy’s garage, as a hobby and a way to entice her own son out of nappies. While Suzy has always been intensely creative (bagpipes, poetry, deconstructing then reupholstering chairs at 2am…) nothing has ever stuck like Lulu Funk. This newfound passion she accredits to her son – his sensitive skin condition meant constant trouble with underwear, and watching his painful struggle made Suzy all the more determined to provide kids with snazzy undies that actually made them feel good down there (can we get an AMEN for comfy undies, please!).
After searching and researching and then searching some more, Suzy stumbled across the benefits of bamboo. It ticked all the boxes – harvested without the use of chemicals and pesticides, requiring almost no water to grow and, of course, sustainable and versatile. After some handmade attempts at making underwear using bamboo fabric, it also proved soft enough to work magic with her little man’s troubled skin. Lulu Funk was born.
Fast forward, and Suzy and her husband Mike – who now moonlights as a book keeper and budgeter – have built a business that is doing as much awesome work ethically as it is visually. With Suzy’s hand drawn illustrations being translated into beautiful fabric by their team in India, Lulu Funk has grown beyond what Suzy ever imagined. She is now the proud recipient of a crowd of testimonials from other parents – many of whom have also gone through the heartbreak of watching their kids battle difficult skin conditions.
Suzy grew up with parents who had an innate affiliation with the world around them, and her childhood experiences have had a massive impact on the way Lulu Funk operates. Suzy and Mike are firm believers in the idea that a top quality product made in an ethical environment is a win for all involved. Suzy has visited their manufacturer in India, and they are proud to be working with well paid and highly skilled workers, low impact dyes, a solar power run factory, ethical sourcing and recyclable packaging.
In a way, Suzy is now watching a take-off of a whole other kind. Her next dream is to take Lulu Funk across the ditch to our Aussie mates – but for now it’s our home-grown kiddies reaping the snuggly benefits of Suzy’s hard work. And as you can imagine… that feels pretty damn good!
Words by Chessie Henry & Images by Supplied