About us

We are Jen and Hendrik, the heart and soul of the mapapus.

The idea for our mapapus stemmed from our own blended family situation. Each of us brought a child into the family, meaning two of our four wonderful children are frequently shuttling back and forth between their separated parents. When the first of the two children we had together then arrived, things got a bit complicated emotionally for the two older kids. “Who belongs where, who is related to whom and how, where do I fit-in in all this and how do I find my place, where’s up, where’s down...?”

We wanted to make this situation easier for the kids and give them something that would help with “parent orientation”. And so, from a desire for clarity and support, the idea for the mapapus was born: it was to be a cuddly toy, friend and travelling companion that would equally identify with both mum and dad. Our favourite t-shirts proffer familiarity and express who we are; they carry our scent and can be sewn together perfectly. Our ex-partners (who fortunately found the idea a good one!) duly sent over a few T-shirts. Mum’s and dad’s t-shirts were sewn together for each respective child, then symbols of cohesion, unity and love were added and, hey presto …

...the first mapapus were born!

Then some friends with a new-born baby wanted one; members of our home-sharing community wanted “mapapus of themselves”; and someone sought a special baptism gift…

We were then asked to create a mapapu for a child from his deceased brother’s clothes and when we subsequently heard how we had helped that child deal with the grief and what came after, we were both suddenly very aware of just how much soul-soothing a mapapu could bring into the world. In one fell swoop it became evident that we needed to expand beyond our own private sphere and set off on our "mapapus for all” adventure! And that is how we came to establish our small family business in fall 2013.


mapapus conquered our world!

And we love them!!