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Tot steals the spotlight

Masterton mum Rachel Hansen of Freedom Kids with her 13-month-old Timon. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Pam Graham
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A Masterton mum and businesswoman who found herself torn between attending to her crying toddler and addressing a big crowd at an awards ceremony in Auckland thinks Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will find a way to meet family and work commitments.

Rachel Hansen’s company Freedom Kids won the judges’ choice part of the “hottest eCommerce concept” category in The Retail Hotlist Awards run by The Register and Retail NZ earlier this month.

Just as her name was announced, her 13-month-old Timon fell over and cried.

Hansen made the split-second decision to take him on stage.

“I thought, my kids have been with me on this whole journey and this is the reality of working with young children and well, if he screams, he screams.

“As I was walking through the crowd everyone was smiling and giving me a bit of empathy.”

Timon settled and it all worked out well.

It’s the kind of situation Ardern may well find herself in.

Her baby was due on Sunday and Winston Peters will be acting prime minister for six weeks after the baby is born.

Hansen, who has three children aged 10, five and 13 months, said she met Ardern at a mutual friend’s birthday party last month and she thinks a lot about what Ardern will face.

“I think it is going to be an amazing example for employers.”

Hansen hopes Ardern’s experience will see off the idea that new mums have baby brains and can’t do other things.

“Being a mum doesn’t affect competence and my kids have taught me flexibility, creativity, focus and how to be a world-class multi-taker”, she said in a

“In many environments, children are far from welcome.

“But I am hoping as a country we are moving beyond this.”

Hansen said she decided the day before the awards ceremony to go, after her husband encouraged her to do so.

She called the organiser and asked if she could bring Timon to the evening cocktail function with a friend to help out.

They were positive and immediately said yes.

Freedom Kids sells children’s clothes online that have been purchased from suppliers.

There are ranges for people who want fair-trade clothes, people who want New Zealand-made clothes and people who want organic garments.

Hansen packed parcels while pregnant and does business on a laptop and phone while breast-feeding. The company has previously won an award from ideologue magazine.

She said it was great to go to the awards and she decided to go because running an internet business from home could be lonely and the other companies in the two categories she was nominated in were amazing.

The idea behind her company is that there shouldn’t be gender bias in children’s clothes – colours are for everyone and clothes are for everyone – and products should be ethically produced.

Boys’ clothes in The Warehouse and other stores are in greys and browns and the words used are different to those on clothes for girls, Hansen said.

Girls are supposed to like horses, unicorns and owls, and there are no butterflies on boys’ clothes. She sells clothes for boys with flowers on them and tights for girls with dinosaurs.

“We don’t want to limit by gender,” she said.

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