If you’re a mom, you’ve probably found yourself getting lost for hours on The Tot, the highly curated and stylish shopping destination designed with modern, eco-conscious families in mind. Brainchild of Nasiba Adilova, this passion project began as her own search for non-toxic, biodegradable, and social responsible baby items and bloomed into a full-on business.
Anjelika Temple here, Founding Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Brit + Co. For this Mother’s Day edition of Creative Crushin’, I’m thrilled to share Nasiba’s story with you, and can personally attest to the next-level softness of her new line of baby jammies, HART + LAND.
Read on for all about Nasiba and why she founded The Tot, in her own words.
Brit + Co: First off, tell us a little more about your background. Where did you grow up? What did you study? Where do you live now?
Nasiba Adilova: Born and raised in Russia, I did a foreign exchange program in the US when I was in high school. It didn't take me long to fall in love with America and I ended up completing my undergraduate and Masters degrees here. After graduating, I worked in grant writing, real estate development, and then eventually fashion media. Fashion is one of my greatest passions, and it was when I became pregnant with my first child that I decided to create The Tot, an online one-stop-shop where parents could find the best all natural and non-toxic products for their families. Through The Tot I’ve been able to collaborate with brands like Mary Katrantzou, Oscar de la Renta, Levi's and Emilia Wickstead to create exclusive collections. While I have lived in New York and Europe, I'm now based in Dallas, Texas where I live with my husband and three children.
B+C: Before you founded The Tot, what did your career path look like?
NA: As a young investor, I always knew that I didn’t want to limit myself to one industry. I actually started my career in politics and real estate development before finding my passion for connecting families with products that help them live safe, meaningful, fun and stylish lives. Whether it was fashion, media or commerce, I realized I thrive on joining forces with people I admire to create brands that change the world and the way people live and shop.
B+C : Our readers are huge fans of The Tot, tell us more about the origin story, the mission behind it, and how it’s evolved since you launched.
NA: When I was pregnant with my first child, I spent a lot of time researching what products would be best for my baby. I wanted things that were non-toxic, biodegradable where possible, socially responsible, high quality and of course - stylish. Frustrated that there wasn't a one-stop-shop and inspired by my friends who kept asking me to compile a list of all my amazing finds, I decided to launch The Tot. Because I also loved reading articles about childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting, I made sure that the editorial section of the website was given equal attention. Today, nearly four years after its launch, we have brick and mortar stores in the US where we sell clothing, toys and gear as well as hold entertaining and informative events for children and adults.
B+C: What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs who want to turn their passion into a business?
NA: Be clear about what your vision is and don't be afraid to ask people who've done something similar before to help you road map it. Remember that your journey will be a marathon and not a sprint. Keep training your mind, your team and your customers to run beside you as get to where you want to go.
B+C: What drives you to create, curate, and share your unique point of view with the world?
NA: Like most parents, I simply want my kids to grow up with an appreciation and respect for human life, the environment and themselves. I want them to search for things they want, create them if they can't find it and speak for those who can't.
B+C: High fashion and raw, authentic motherhood don’t always go hand in hand, but you seem to balance the two beautifully. Tell me more about how this intersection comes to life for you.
NA: For me, clothing is art and I have a tremendous amount of respect for designers who pay homage to past trends, while pushing the boundaries for the future. As a mother, I rely a lot on hearing stories from parents to help me make informed decisions on how I give birth, how I breastfeed and how I parent my children. However, just like with fashion, I like to put my own spin on it.
B+C: Given your professional and personal focus on providing the best for your kiddos, how has motherhood changed your approach to your work? Any tips on balancing all the things?
NA: I am an advocate for protecting your time and listening to your body. It's impossible to go 110% all the time so if I start to feel run down, I sleep or take a walk. I am also realistic about the fact that my brain works best in the morning and that the afternoon is the best time for me to take calls, respond to emails and catch up with colleagues. In the evenings, I am present for my children. I love having routines my kids can count on like bedtime stories, bath time giggles and family breakfasts.
B+C: How are you able to separate your personal life from your professional life? Is there even a separation there?
NA: I don't like to be on my phone or computer around my kids, so there is definitely a visual separation. However, my work, clothing line and article ideas are fueled by my life, which is all about my children and being a mother.
B+C: I know that sometimes being a founder can feel like an island. What does your support system look like? Do you have mentors, community groups, etc that help you thrive?
NA: I feel so lucky to have such an incredibly talented and sufficient executive team. Since 2016, we have attracted people who are truly passionate about finding the right products, right information and right platforms for families around the world to access. My amazing team and network of like-minded business savvy friends is a crucial sounding board for me.
B+C: When you get creatively blocked or burnt out, how do you reset? Do you have tips you can share?
NA: I go to sleep because exhaustion is usually the culprit. Sometimes we try to push ourselves for too long during the day. I find getting a good night's sleep and starting fresh in the morning can be the best cure. I also draw a lot of energy and inspiration from family and friends. While I absolutely love working, I always make sure to pencil in time for fun.
Favorite Quote: The biggest risk in life is not taking one.
Trivia About You: Looking at my hobbies, you could assume I’m a grandma. I love to cook, play cards (Canasta is my favorite!), and if I can find an hour of quiet, I like to stitch and knit.
Go-to Karaoke Song: "Piece of My Heart" by Janis Joplin
Favorite New Kid Product: HART + LAND’s organic pima cotton baby basics! The footed onesie is one my favorites. They are the softest cotton I’ve ever felt.
Late Night Snack: Miracle Milkookies, or a homemade energy ball — both do wonders for breastfeeding supply!
Currently Reading: I just finished reading The Fourth Trimester and now I’m reading Bad Blood.
B+C: What are some of your favorite new brands for kiddos?
NA: I love Dot Baby because they combine royal style with the needs of modern kids in the best way possible. Their collections truly do stand the test of time and allow my littles to look sophisticated and playful all at once. I'm also really into Noe & Zoe, which has a more vintage feel. When my kids wear their clothing, there's a fun nostalgia that washes over me.
B+C: Speaking of new brands, you just launched HART + LAND on The Tot. Tell me more about this line and what inspired it.
NA: When it comes to dressing babies and kids, I am all about having no-fuss organic cotton basics in their wardrobes. These are things you can mix and match, are easy to care for and are unbelievably soft to touch. Because kids have such sensitive skin, choosing organic cotton and pieces that don't have itchy seams makes getting dressed so you can get out the door and onto your next adventure a breeze.
B+C: If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?
NA: Parenting Advice: I learned that it's easy to judge other parents before you become a parent yourself. I would tell my younger self to not jump to conclusions and to respect each path a parent and child takes.
Life advice: While it may be a cliché, slow and steady wins the race. As someone who now has three kids and a rapidly growing businesses, I've learned that you can't go 100 miles per hour and expect to arrive safely at your destination. I am a huge advocate for naps, sharing workloads, scheduling in down time and making sure you're clear about what your 'WHY' is.
B+C: What’s up next for you and The Tot? What should we be on the lookout for?
NA: Over the past year I've been working on a new line of organic basics for The Tot called, HART + LAND and I’m excited to continue developing new pieces. All made of organic pima cotton, our pieces are exclusively available at The Tot and feature prints by artists I admire. Since I just welcomed Baby #3, I'm loving getting to see my daughter in the clothing I helped create.
Author: Anjelika Temple (Photography courtesy of Nasiba Adilova; Credits: Katie Norris, Kristen Dee Photography, Kristi and Scott Redman, Mary Summers Hafner)