In 2007, childhood BFFs Jo Hadleyand Helena Simon, two moms fed up with the lack of choices available in kids’ clothing, embarked on a mission to defy wearable gender stereotypes. Their solution… Handsome in Pink, a “HiP,” game-changing apparel line founded on the belief that colors (like pink and purple) and active imagery (like firetrucks, tool belts, and electric guitars) belong to everyone.
Handsome in Pink is not the first collaboration for Jo and Helena, but it is their greatest. These two have been partnering on all sorts of projects since meeting in kindergarten in 1977 (they even had a rock band in the late ’90s… umm… awesome!).
Fast forward three decades, two Masters Degrees (Jo’s in Childhood Development and Helena’s in Social Work), and four children (Jo a daughter and a son, Helena girl/boy twins) later, they launched their eco-friendly, gender stereotype crushing clothes brand aimed at helping kids, as well as babies and adults too, feel empowered by what they wear.
“The way we see it, there should be more sharing of clothes among girls and boys.”
The true “aha” moment and entrepreneurial spark hit Jo when her younger son turned two and entered a new phase… pink. As she explains:
“He fell hard, and refused to wear any other color (except purple). It was his older sister’s favorite color as well (which, of course, was no coincidence, considering she was his hero), so the two of them happily skipped off to preschool each morning garbed in her wardrobe. I felt very supportive of my son, and was pleased that he felt such passion. My son had several other buddies who also loved these bright colors, so preschool was a fine place to be. The real problem set in when we were out and about in public. People were continually assuming my son was a girl and making him feel confused about his gender. He just loved the color pink – was he not allowed to just because he was a boy? But I could see society’s point – he was wearing pink frilly shirts with hearts, rainbows, and fairies. I immediately set out to find some more ‘masculine’ pink and purple clothes. I combed the Bay Area, but to no avail. No one had what we were looking for.”
With that Jo recruited Helena to be her artist and business partner, and together the lifelong friends have been growing their Handsome In Pink brand over the last eight years, expanding their all-inclusive concept beyond just clothes for boys who love pink.
One of their newest shirts is the “Girly Girl” tee, Jo and Helena’s way of breathing new life into the stale, stereotyped expression. Their “Girly Girl” is no princess; they say, “she is more blue than pink and prefers fishing and climbing trees to applying eyeshadow. She would rather paint or conduct a chemistry experiment than twiddle her thumbs waiting for her prince to come.”
Here’s one of our “HiP” faves…
Then there’s the super cool firetruck and dirt bike…