While most girls their age focused on keeping up with the Kardashians or obsessed over the latest find at Zara, Barcelona-based sisters Olimpia and Carolina Román, rolled up their sleeves and started a socially and environmentally conscious business.
Two years after their 2014 debut line of monochromatic natural latex ducks, Olimpia, 22, and Carolina, 17, are quietly developing a cult following. We recently caught up with the sisters to find out what the fuss is all about.
How did you come up with the idea of making rubber toys from Hevea?
We have always been involved in our mother’s company of rugs for kids (Lorena Canals Rugs), we helped her since Day 1 and we still do. We assisted her with international fairs around the world and we always had in mind the idea of creating something together.
Next to our mother’s office in Barcelona there’s a company that produces natural rubber toys, and one day we decided to step in and check what they had. We asked the producer to make some samples and when we saw them we started liking the idea. From that moment on we started doing more designs, met a European distributor, and everything kept on rolling.
Is this the first business you have worked on together?
We have always been involved in our mother’s company (Lorena Canals Rugs), and helped her in every aspect of it, but our first business on our own. We have many more projects for the future.
What's it like having your sister as your business partner?
We both consider that having a business with your sister as your partner is one of our greatest benefits. Confidence, bonding and expressing sincere opinions is basic for a business to work fluidly and as sisters we achieve this outcome very smoothly.
Your mother is in the textile business, what advice has she given you throughout your young careers?
Since Day 1 our mother has been a complete role model as well as an inspiration to us. She taught us a very important lesson: It’s not only about the product, but also about the time you put into it. It’s about the enthusiasm, perseverance, dedication and daily work you apply.
What was the first toy you created and what design lessons have you learned since then?
At first we actually wanted the company to be only of natural rubber duckies. But as we brainstormed and brainstormed, we considered that the key of success has also a lot to do with innovation, so we started to think about other designs.
Why is it important that parents choose natural rubber toys for their children?
Our natural rubber toys are made with love in Morocco. The secret is the material we obtain to create them. We used 100% natural latex from Hevea trees as well as completely safe natural dyes. They are ecological and biodegradable hand made products, which are not only for babies, but can also be enjoyed as decorative objects for the home. Plus they are very easy to wash! You can find a variety of collections to choose from: from original and vintage designs of the 60s to new cool and modern Origami Boats.
What can we expect from Oli&Carol in 2016?
We are constantly thinking on new designs, packaging, colors and collections we want to launch. We have many surprise designs we want to launch very soon and are intrigued on how the customers are going to react… We don’t doubt they’ll love our new products!
Umm...I have a feeling we will. Check out the Oli & Carol collection here.