If you live in Northern China, chances are that on a cold winter’s day you’ve bought ‘tang hu lu’, those little skewers of toffee smothered fruits. But there’s another ‘tang hu lu’: Tang’Roulou (written phonetically), is a Chinese company created by French-born Amélie Peraud in 2004 which has in 7 years become synonymous with ‘made in China’ quality children and baby clothes and accessories. At Nicely Made in China (NMiC) we thought it appropriate to put the spotlight on this promising new Chinese brand, which Amélie runs with Pierre-Yves Babin who joined the company 3 years ago.
Amélie, why did you choose Tang’Roulou as a name for your company?
I have a sweet tooth and I’d always been intrigued by ‘tang hu lu’. They remind me of the big red toffee apples that you get at fairgrounds. Tang’Roulou is a name that conjures up a sense of color and a refreshing fruity taste, like a sweet that children and adults both enjoy.
How did you start making clothes for children and babies?
I had friends in France about to become mums and I felt like giving them very personal gifts, so I designed blankets for their babies which I had sewn here in China by local seamstresses. After that, people encouraged me to carry on, and I did!
Today you’ve got a fully-fledged business with a wide collection of products. Can you tell us about them?
Our collections of clothes and accessories include dresses, shirts, and padded jackets for children as well as angel nests, sleeping bags and foldable changing pads for babies. We get our design inspiration from architectural details or from what we see around us in our daily lives in the hutongs of Beijing.
What type of material do you like to use?
Most of our products are made of cotton and our specialty is that we work mainly with printed rather than plain fabric. We buy our fabric in Beijing, but any time we travel around China we visit local markets – Pierre-Yves and I have a passion for treasure hunting – and bring back vintage patterned fabric. From our last trip in Guizhou I brought back a kind of Ming blue velvet dating back to the 70′s. It belonged to the grandmother of the hotel owner where we were staying. He did not know what to do with it – there were 14 meters of it remaining. I bought it all! I also brought back from Fujian a very colorful fabric with big flowers that fishermen’s wives wear as veils.
All in all we use about 200 types of fabric for our creations, varying from a very bucolic look to a very Chinese one.
Where are your products assembled?
Everything is assembled by hand in 2 workshops here in Beijing. There are 3 employees in each. Normally we produce quantities of no more than 50 for items of clothing – everything is handmade – although often more for accessories. We also work with Baihua – The Flowers – a women cooperative in North West China supported by the association “Femmes du Ningxia” for handmade embroidery.
Who are your clientele?
It’s a 50/50 split between Westerners and Asians. 30% are Chinese who have traveled outside of China and have jobs in fashion and design. They like handmade products and often they tell us that our clothes remind them of what their grannies used to make for them.
Where can Nicely Made in China readers buy your creations?
In Beijing, Shanghai and soon in Hong Kong. We also now have an online shop on Taobao.
Tang’ Roulou – Sanlitun north road n˚30 – Phone: 010-6416-9761
Brand New China – Sanlitun north road n˚11 – NLG-09a –
The Orchard – Cuigezhuang – Hegezhuang village –
Wuhao curated shop – Maoer hutong n˚35 -
L’Atelier Mandarine – Tai Kang Lu 210 / n˚3 Room 318 – Phone: 021-6473-5381