While waiting for their firstborn, two architects — Elīna Skujiņa and Jānis Lubgans — have created and developed the children’s furniture brand «Nature King». All design solutions are found, perfected and realised by themselves, from the brand logo to the last wood detail.
The first product of Elīna and Jānis was a hanging cradle that was created for their own child, drawing inspiration from the traditional birch cradle, which Latvians used to hang next to the young parents’ bed. The positive feedback from friends and family encouraged them to turn this from a personal project into a commercial one. A year ago the couple joined the Sigulda Business incubator, which supports them still. «It is a great opportunity to receive valuable consultations from business professionals, hear experience stories from other businesses, be together with others like us and receive confirmation, that we are on the right path,» tells Elīna, the founder of «Nature King».«Since I don’t have a business education, it’s an opportunity to learn what I lack in my knowledge and skills.» Since the first cradle «Nature King» products have been developed, improved and complemented. «The first prototype can never be successful. A lot of work has gone into details, the amplitude of movement and dimensions,» explains Elīna.
The core values of «Nature King» are minimalistic aesthetics, natural materials and transformable, ergonomic products. The hanging cradle is designed for infants until the age of six months. The spring creates a light, rhythmic bouncing motion that helps the child to fall asleep during any time of the day. The mechanism of the spring is calibrated such, that the motion is safe, but the child can initiate it himself. Afterwards, it is easy to transform the cradle into a static piece of furniture on wooden legs. When the child has learned to sit, the spring mechanism can be adapted for another «Nature King» product — the hanging swing. Thus three interconnected pieces of furniture follow the development stages of the child during the first years of life.
All «Nature King» pieces are designed, using natural materials. The curved frame of the cradle is made from birch plywood, but the legs — from massive oak wood. The products are hanged in cotton ropes that are also used for the macramé. The rope pattern is designed by Elīna’s mother Māra, who was taught macramé in school. The chosen pattern is simple and even, drawing the focus to the wooden details and the form of the cradle. The pillows and mattresses are stitched from linen and cotton, and are filled with a traditional material — buckwheat hulls and lamb’s wool. The buckwheat hull pillow adapts to the body shape of the child and creates a subtle, calming white noise through the child’s movement. The natural textures, colours, smells and sounds strengthen the child’s bond with the nature from the first months of life. «All materials are bought here in Latvia. Jānis makes the prototypes and pieces himself,» tells Elīna.
«Nature King» has broadened their produce and now has started to make toys from natural materials — birch plywood flower press in various sizes and ash wood stacker. Now, when the business is starting to work with distributors, a worker is being taught to take over the manufacturing role. «Jānis will continue to look over the process of wood detail manufacturing and their quality control,» explains Elīna.
«Nature King» cradles can be both found in Latvian homes as well as have entered the international market. Last year Elīna and Jānis received a special award from the Sigulda Business incubator as an enterprise with the fastest growth. The creators of the brand tell: «With our products, we want to draw attention to what we are leaving behind us in the world. These days the things that you buy tell a lot about a person. We learn to live in harmony with nature, listening to ourselves.»