Recently I connected with Mona of Aatmaj, who designs South Asian inspired graphic tees and onsies for babies and toddlers. After reading her bio “for kids and parents who are just as happy eating Pav Bhaji as they are Pizza” I knew we had to chat! Aatmaj is the creation of Mona who noticed (and is working at filling) the gap of the availability of Desi tee’s for little ones. She was kind enough to sit down with me for a Q&A to learn a little more about her shop and how it works. She also offered to send a custom tee for my little one to rock on her 3rd birthday photoshoot! Not only did I love the softness and modern colors, my little one was going around the whole park saying Mumma’s Little Mirchi, proudly showing off her nickname on her tee. It was perfect for the fun, care free look I was going for.
Meet Mona of Aatmaj and then see below for a special discount code and a fun giveaway!
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do, where you’re from & anything fun you’d like to share:
Hi! I’m Mona, the woman behind the shop. I was born and raised in New Jersey to two Mumbaikars. I have an affinity for bright colors, bold patterns, spicy chai, and Mumbai street food. As I’ve gotten older especially, I’ve found that trips to India bring with them a new appreciation of the culture, every single time. I enjoy having fun with my style and really love seeing how I can combine Indian components with a Western aesthetic. I also thoroughly enjoy helping others with their style (you look good, you feel good!). Fun, real, slightly embarrassing fact? I understand both Kutchi and Gujarati, but chances are I don’t know which of the two you’re speaking, and if I’m to respond to you the first thought in my head is probably in Spanish!
What/Who was your inspiration for starting Aatmaj?
My nieces and nephews! The intitial idea behind AATMAJ was to make tees and onesies that I’d be happy to gift my own nieces and nephews. I’m either masi or fui to them, and it’s always felt a little silly to me get them tees that said aunt. They should be able to proclaim they have an awesome masi/fui too!
Aatmaj stems from aatma, which is our soul or our essence. Aatmaj, in turn, is meant to signify on a very personal level what we feel is ours or a part of us–our family, our community, our culture. For me, it represents our inclusive selves, that are influenced by both our South Asian culture and our Western environments.
Do you do custom work?
Yes! My favorite custom order was for a couple who requested a number of onesies to be modified with specific names and relationships. The wife shared with me that they would be using the onesies to announce their pregnancy to her husband’s family. I felt really lucky that she not only shared that with me, but that she and her husband entrusted my products for such a momentous occasion in their lives; it was truly an honor.
What are your favorite pieces from your collection?
The “Tel Hair Don’t Care” tee has a special place in my heart. Going to school with tel in my hair was a point of contention as a kid, so the thought of someone (especially a younger girl) really embracing their tel hair and not caring what others might have to say about it, makes me happy.
The most popular in the shop, and also the most reflective of why I started since it celebrates the special relationships between nieces/nephews and masis/fuis/mamas/kakas: “___ + Me Best Buds”
Since I may or may not have a chai addiction, one of the new women’s designs: “Chai first, adulting after”
What are you working on next?
While AATMAJ was created to provide an accessible way to embrace and celebrate South Asian cultures, I’m working on making it more inclusive of other underrepresented cultures. I’ve started with Spanish-language designs and will continue to expand my offerings to be more representative of our multicultural communities.
You can find the designs featured here & more at Aatmaj. Use mirch10 for 10% off your total purchase.
And now the exciting part… Mona has generously offered a GIVEAWAY to the readers of Love Laugh Mirch! The lucky winner will get to choose their choice of a onesie, toddler short-sleeve tee, a toddler baseball tee, or a women’s tee in any size and color! This contest is open to residents of the United States due to shipping costs (apologies to readers from other countries).
Follow Love Laugh Mirch and Aatmaj on one of the social media channels listed below. Leave me a comment on the blog letting me know which design you like best and which pages you followed!
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The contest will close May 17, 2016 at 11:59pm EST and the winner will be contacted within 24 hours.
*No purchase necessary to enter. Winner will be selected at random. All entries received after the giveaway closing day and time will not be considered. Entries that do not follow the entry requirements will not be considered. Winners will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to confirm receipt of the email. If the winners do not reply within 24 hours, another winner(s) will be selected. Giveaways will be mailed to the winners’ address. This giveaway was sponsored by Aatmaj. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that have relationships with Love Laugh Mirch.
Photography via TC Photography